Film negativeShooting the Past

Art of all kinds provides a window on the past, but I always think film – the moving image – is especially magical and poignant, particularly in the very early days of cinema, when the camera was used to record all manner of people and events, from the quotidian to the exotic.

The British Film Institute curates a superb archive gathered from regional archives around Great Britain and makes it available for free on its downloadable player. It also provides a map so that you can type in the names of places of interest and see what’s available. And there is plenty to see. Just the other day I took a tram ride through Nottingham city centre as it was in 1902. I also motored over Ben Nevis in 1911, visited Thorpeness – playground of the well to do – in 1930 and watched a news report from Nottingham in the 1970s. It’s all fascinating stuff and a wonderful resource for writers who wish to know about how people looked and dressed, what they did and even what they thought.

Which all goes to show that the past is never dead, and seldom even past.

Here’s the link.