Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Video: Edwardian Fundraising Takes to the Streets, 1912

Friday, February 24, 2012

Susan reporting:

This brief silent film will be a special treat to all of you who've recently "discovered" the Edwardian era through Downton Abbey. Alexandra Rose Day was created in 1912 to mark the 50th anniversary of the arrival to England of Princess Alexandra of Denmark to marry the future King Edward VII. Much like last year's royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, this 1863 wedding was a national celebration that helped make Alexandra into a much-admired figure. Fifty years later, as a widow and dowager queen, she chose to commemorate the anniversary not with a grand, costly procession, but with a fundraising drive to benefit the poor and needy. Artificial roses, made by the disabled, were offered and sold by women volunteers in the London streets. The event was an enormous success, raising the modern equivalent of £2 million for the city's hospitals. The event continues today; click here for more information.

This film clip follows a group of those first volunteers into the streets of the Peckham district of London in 1912, and it's clear that the public is enchanted by these mostly-young ladies dressed in white with their baskets of roses. The quality of the clip is amazingly good, offering a glimpse not only of Edwardian dress (oh, those hats!), but also transportation, shops, and street-life. I was also struck by how good-natured everyone seems to be on this day, smiling and laughing at the camera and with the volunteers. Watching this, it's hard to believe that the devastating nightmare of the First World War is only two years away.

8 comments:

vintagevisions27 said...

What a great video! Thank you for sharing!
-Emily

Katherine said...

Love the blog and the videos you post - thanks!

textilehistorIE said...

That is almost spooky. And when you add in the bit about the war being just two years away... it really feels like I'm watching the cusp of something, iykwim.

QNPoohBear said...

What a lovely video! It truly captures a moment in time. Good for Princess Alexandra for doing something so worthwhile.

Cozy in Texas said...

I know how much Princess Alexandra was loved by England. Interesting video - my grandmother was born in Peckham.
Ann

nightsmusic said...

Wow, the quality of that video is amazing. It almost looks like the fairytale before the storm of reality sets in.

Hilary said...

Fabulous hats indeed, my gran was an apprentice milliner in Nottingham, UK around that time - wish I had asked her more about it but I do remember her saying how much material and straw they took to make. And of course every lady wore one!

Andrea said...

What a great little bit of film! I watched it twice, then I read the rest of your post. Funny, but I was thinking the same thing about the juxtoposition of the double decker buses next to the horse drawn vehicles and the bicycles. The different length of the dresses on the different girls and the hats. Oh, the hats! Also, how happy everyone seems. Makes you wonder what would happen if you did the same filming today.

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