Moving Image Technology in the Time of Mitchell and Kenyon

Alfred Butterworth and Sons, Glebe Mills, Hollinwood – a 1901 “factory gate” film from the Mitchell and Kenyon Collection. The cameraman would make himself as conspicuous as possible while making films such as these, which would then be shown in a local theatre or Music Hall as part of the bill a few days later. Because a large number of people knew that they had been filmed, they would then come and pay to see themselves on the screen, a novelty in the days when moving images were still science fiction for many people.


Moving Image Technology in the Time of Mitchell and Kenyon


In Vanessa Toulmin, Simon Popple and Patrick Russell (eds.), The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon: Edwardian Britain on Film, London, British Film Institute (2004), ISBN 978-1-844570-46-1, pp. 21-30.


This book was produced to mark the rediscovery and restoration of a collection of 800 early films that were found in the basement of a store in north-west England. The short actuality films, now known as the Mitchell and Kenyon collection, were made between 1898 and 1911.  The book is an edited collection of introductory essays, each intended to explore the significance of the collection to the history of film and as primary source material in the wider study of social and cultural history.  My essay discusses the camera, lab and projection technology used in their production, and explains how its strengths and limitations influenced the form and content of the finished films.


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