Cinema gallery heading 1901: Living at the Time of the Census Cinema

Welcome to the 1901 cinema. The film clips you are about to see are shown by kind permission of the - opens in a new window British Film Institute
British Film Institute


In 1901 the film industry was still very new and the technology was in its infancy. A typical 100-foot film would run for about 100 seconds.
By 1904 films of 4-500 feet were being produced.

Many films were topical, showing events in the news.

Watch film of Queen Victoria's funeral in February 1901.
The clip shows the coffin, bearing a crown, followed by a close-up of King Edward VII and Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Watch film of Queen Victoria’s funeral in February 1901


This film shows a recruitment march, in about 1900, for the South African (Boer) War.

Watch film of a recruitment march for the Boer War

Old London Street Scenes
, from about 1902, illustrates the congestion of horse-drawn and motor traffic in London.

Watch film of Old London Street Scenes

Film was also used for propaganda purposes.

Watch film of a fake Boer atrocity.
This film, The Dispatch Rider, shows a British soldier giving a Boer a drink of water and then being shot in the back. It is an anti-Boer propaganda film from about 1900 and the action in it is faked.

Watch 'The Dispatch Rider'

Actuality film, showing people in everyday life, was very popular.

(undated) shows men, women and boys leaving their workplace.

Watch the 'Factory'

This clip show cotton spinners and manufacturers at Howarth & Co., Egerton Mill, Ordsall Lane, Salford, in September 1900.

Watch a film of workers in Salford

Film also showed entertainment and drama (including comedy and trick film).

Watch the football crowd at a match between Newcastle United and Liverpool.

Watch film of a football crowd

This clip is of an unidentified drama, showing girls apparently dressed as 'Red Indians'.

Watch film of a 'Red Indian' Drama

Follow this link for more information on the cinema in 1901.

The last four clips come from the - opens in a new window Mitchell and Kenyon collection at the British Film Institute.