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Mitchell and Kenyon: Blackpool Victoria Pier (1904)


Main image of Mitchell and Kenyon: Blackpool Victoria Pier (1904)
Mitchell and Kenyon 200, 201, 203 & 742
35mm, black & white, silent
Production CompanyMitchell & Kenyon
Commissioner / ExhibitorRino Pepi

Edwardian entertainments on Blackpool's elegant, upmarket 'South Pier'.

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These four segments shot by the Lancashire-based film pioneers James Kenyon and Sagar Mitchell illuminate Blackpool's striking Victoria Pier, which opened in 1893. Considered more upmarket than its neighbours, the North Pier and the Central Pier, it came to be known, inevitably, as the South Pier.

Travel had grown cheaper by the Edwardian era, and technological developments like the electric tramway, seen here, offered new and easier ways for tourists to reach the pier. The film shows holidaymakers promenading in their Sunday best and sun shades, and repeatedly circling past the camera to make sure their faces are captured on what was still a very novel technology.

The beginning of the century saw a reduction in working hours, which led to an explosive growth in the leisure industry. This filmic record highlights the swelling visitors but also proves that the young, the old, men, women and children took full advantage of what the Victoria Pier had to offer. Blackpool, the commercial centre of the Lancashire seaside resorts, was an attractive and affordable holiday destination for families with a little more time on their hands.

Above all, Blackpool was a place of entertainment, and one of the more distinctive sequences in these films features a band playing violins and trumpets, followed by the Flockton Fosters Entertainers, who performed live on stage three times daily to an expectant crowd. In line with their usual practice, Mitchell and Kenyon's films would have been screened as part of a longer film programme and shown repeatedly at the Blackpool Hippodrome the following day.

Rebecca Vick

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Video Clips
Mitchell and Kenyon 200 (1:32)
Mitchell and Kenyon 201 (1:59)
Mitchell and Kenyon 203 (1:19)
Mitchell and Kenyon 742 (0:08)
Mitchell and Kenyon: Blackpool North Pier (1903)
Mitchell and Kenyon: Blackpool Promenade Extension (1905)
Mitchell and Kenyon