Friday, January 28, 2005

Mitchell and Kenyon

Tonight is the final installment of the fascinating documentary on two early 20th century filmmakers from Blackburn called Mitchell and Kenyon. This collections of reels, now held by the British Film Institute, has been uttely compelling to watch and a DVD will soon be available to purchase. For most of us, photography has been our only window into the world of our grand-parents or beyond. So to see the streets of Nottingham come to life in these fascinating films from c.1902 was just delightful. As a fan of looking at architecture in cities - watching the changing shapes of roads, the re-modelling of buidings - it was a journey through time I never thought would be possible. To see the buildings as my grandparents saw them, as my great-grandparents saw them, brought to life experiences of my home town unimaginable before seeing this footage.

Mitchell and Kenyon travelled around the UK filming everyday activities. From goalkeeper 'fatty Faulkes' of Bury (6' 2" and 24 stone) to the shawl-covered women leaving their factory jobs, these reels of film - almost lost to history - offer insights into our past. They also offer a touching reminder of life before World War I and the changes, both positive and negative, wrought by the loss of human life incurred between 1914 and the start of the 1920s.

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