Morecambe On Film

Morecambe on Film - Introduced by Professor Vanessa Toulmin and Geoff Senior (North West Film Archive) at the Morecambe Winter Gardens Theatre Saturday 29th May

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The Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust is delighted to host this celebration of Morecambe on Film.  Sponsored with the support of Morecambe Town Council and in association with the British Film Institute and the North West Film Archive, today’s screenings are a filmic history tour of our beautiful seaside town.   

Part One – 1898 to 1939

The first three titles were shot in the pioneer days of the cinematograph, just two years after the Lumiere Brothers and Robert Paul and Birt Acres first demonstrated moving images in London 1896.  William Henry Youdale, was a draper turned magic lantern exhibitor from Cockermouth in Cumbria who in 1898 turned his hand to the new emerging media of cinematography.  These three delightful titles show the popularity of Morecambe as a seaside resort with a distinctly middle class audience.

 

Seawaves No 1 (1898)

Shot by William Henry Youdale, the single shot film shows the second of Morecambe’s two piers the recently opened West End Pier (opened 3 April 1896).  The film’s composition owes much to Birt Acre’s Routh Sea at Dover, with images of waves crashing on the seafronts proving popular with early film audiences due to the motion being demonstrated by the cinematograph. Film Preview Click here.

 

Morecambe Parade (1898)

This one shot film on Morecambe Promenade shows festival activities and families walking on the promenade. Filmed in the late Spring early Summer period it shows the holidaymakers in their vacation

 

Comical Chris (1898)

Made by William Henry Youdale a magic lantern exhibitor turned cinematographer, from Cumbria, this title was shot in 1898 and is one of the earliest views of Morecambe. It shows two beach performers on the sands on Central Promenade with a puppet show and various comical incidents and an early children’s fairground ride in the distance.  Film Preview Click here.

 

We then move to the Mitchell & Kenyon films of Morecambe, some of the most beautiful in the entire larger collection of material that survived.  The films today comprise a percentage of films made during the two years Mitchell & Kenyon’s operators or associates were showing and exhibiting in the locality.   The earliest films date from May 1901 when the Thomas Edison Animated Picture Company operated by A.D Thomas first came and booked a season at the Winter Gardens Theatre in Morecambe.  The Winter Gardens was at that time managed by Harry Yorke who was also associated with Mitchell & Kenyon in Blackburn. The films were taken by A.D Thomas’ camera crew who used Mitchell & Kenyon to develop and print the material but also filmed in association with the company from Blackburn.  In 1901 the Company were in Morecambe between May to July 1901 and showed films of both Lancaster and Morecambe.  The Morecambe films from 1901 were then repackaged into the Thomas’s main touring show and advertised as films of holidaymakers at Morecambe and Blackpool and other well known seaside resorts.

 

The Mitchell & Kenyon films of Morecambe are some of the most beautiful in the entire cannon on material that survived.  The films today comprise nearly all the films that survived during the two years Mitchell & Kenyon’s operators or associates were showing and exhibiting in the locality.   The earliest films date from May 1901 when the Thomas Edison Animated Picture Company operated by A.D Thomas first came and booked a season at the Winter Gardens Theatre in Morecambe.  The Winter Gardens was at that time managed by Harry Yorke who was also associated with Mitchell & Kenyon in Blackburn. The films were taken by A.D Thomas’ camera crew who used Mitchell & Kenyon to develop and print the material but also filmed in association with the company from Blackburn.

In 1901 the Company were in Morecambe between May to July 1901 and showed films of both Lancaster and Morecambe.  The Morecambe films from 1901 were then repackaged into the Thomas’s main touring show and advertised as films of holidaymakers at Morecambe and Blackpool and other well known seaside resorts.

Morecambe Visitor 3 July 1901 page 7: The Entertainments at the Winter Gardens: A good variety show, a splendid series of animated pictures and sweet selections of music by the Gardens Orchestra… Of the pictures nobody seems to tire. They are off such high class and one might also add, exclusive production, that they come in for quite as much appreciation as they did when first put on the screen. It is a happy idea that the management has hit upon to include in his collection A number of local scenes embracing a panoramic view of the Morecambe Front, the Morecambe Church Lads Brigade at drill & c. Needless to say these pictures are followed with intense interest and if you just happen to be on the front when the photograph was taken you can see yourselves in the same attitude as when the machine was passed…

MK 252: Old Poulton Parish Church, Morecambe (1901/2) Date: June 1901 or Summer 1902 Exhibitor: Thomas Edison Animated Pictures or Tweedale Venue: Winter Gardens Morecambe possibly
MK 247: Parade on West End Pier Morecambe) (1901) Date: June 1901 Exhibitor: Thomas Edison Animated Pictures Venue: Winter Gardens Morecambe
Morecambe on Film
250: Parade on Morecambe Central Pier (1902) Date: Summer 1902 Exhibitor: Tweedale or Edison Thomas Venue: Winter Gardens Morecambe possibly
249: Morecambe Church Lad’s Brigade at Drill (1901) Date: July 1901 Exhibitor: Thomas Edison Animated Pictures Venue: Winter Gardens Theatre Morecambe
MK 754: Stone Jetty, Morecambe (1902) Date: Summer 1902 Exhibitor: Tweedale or Edison Venue: Possibly Morecambe Winter Gardens
MK 254, 251: Panoramic View of the Morecambe Sea Front (1901) Date: June 1901 Exhibitor: Thomas Edison Animated Pictures Venue: Winter Gardens Theatre Morecambe