Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Video from the Archives: A Glimpse Back to the Edwardian Past, c. 1900

Friday, October 14, 2016

Isabella reporting,

This isn't a single video, but a series of short, silent clips pieced together. The description notes that it's also been "enhanced," with the focus sharpened and the speed made consistent. That said, it's a wonderful slice of Edwardian life, a medley of street scenes, factory-dominated landscapes, amusement parks, family scenes, dockside farewells, and holidays at the beach. The caption on YouTube says the clips were mostly shot in London, with some perhaps from Cork, Ireland as well.

Much like one of our earlier Friday videos from 1895, the people here may have been arranged before the camera, but no one is acting. Seeing how everyone walks, how their clothes move and how they carry themselves, the carriages and wagons and early motor cars - it's as close as we'll get to being able to look backwards in time more than a hundred years.

Several things stood out to me while watching this:
    1) Everyone dressed much more formally then, no matter what the occasion.
    2) Boys and men have always been willing to stick their faces in front of a camera.
    3) Wherever the people in the last scene are, it's an incredibly happy crowd. So many smiles!
    4) The women's hats are fantastic, and so are the men's moustaches.

What do you see?

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Nancy said...

Thanks for posting this wonderful video. It was so fun to watch. It makes me wish I had ancestors still in England during the early 1900s. I think the music throughout was perfect.

These are the things I noticed:
1) Everyone wore a hat. I don't think I saw a single hatless head.
2) People had nearly perfect posture. They stood, walked, rode bikes, etc., with their shoulders back.
3) I saw very few small children.
4) There didn't seem to be traffic laws as far as drivers staying on one side of the road or pedestrians staying in cross walks.
5) I saw very few overweight people, though there were several portly gentlemen coming down the steps toward the end.

Thanks again for sharing.

sherinf said...


sibyl said...

Thank you for this wonderful video. I live in a house built in 1906 and sometimes, in my imagination, populate it with the elegant Edwardians who lived here when it was all new.

Marina said...

I was struck by small boys wandering the streets on their own, I sight you don't see nowadays in cities. And boy, am I glad I don't have to wear those clothes! Fascinating, Thanks!

Caryn said...

What a delightful video! Thanks for sharing. I would second everything that Nancy said. I especially noticed the lack of obesity. It makes the people seem almost "doll-like".

We are so casual and comfortable today that often actors don't believe me when I say women wore corsets and men wore suits ALL THE TIME- not just for what we would consider dressy occasions. Also, the clothing tended to be much more fitted (without Lycra!) than we are accustomed to today.

Annette Naish said...

My great-grandfather was from Wales. He wore a wool suit at all times, he had a huge mustache. And he had peppermints in his pocket for me. He looked exactly like the men in the film. In fact, it made me sad. I barely remember him. He smelled like pipe smoke.

The reason every one was slim, they walked everywhere. For years, in my life, I walked everywhere and my posture was better and I was slender.

I liked the fact that the formality of dress seemed to make everyone appear to be very courteous.

I loved the film.

Annette said...

Good Evening, I saw my grandmother and grandfather's generation. Their lives were hard, the one skirt might have been black with several blouses made to make dressing easier during the work week. The probably the same. Work was 5 1/2 days a week. Friday was washing up day and organizing the week end. For some women who were bonded to learn a trade as a milliner, maybe 6 years in the ideas to work off.

Unknown said...

A fascinating film! I have nothing to add to what has already been said except for one thing. Obesity was rather rare when I was growing up in the late '40's, '50's and 60's. Our food supply now is full of all forms of sugar (including chemicals such as aspertane, for example). Has anyone looked at what's on the ingredient list of hot dogs and other processed foods? That contributes a lot to the obesity epidemic as well as a lack of exercise.

Anonymous said...

I found this so interesting I could not take my eyes from the screen! So many people in these clips not a single one alive today. It is like viewing a time capsule opened from ancient times.

ciacco said...

We romanticize the past, but not to be missed is the amount of horse dung on even the most major of streets in a national capital. Millions of horses at any one time in a city like London or New York, so the inevitable happened. And inevitably, this meant more flies than we're used to. A problem for everyone to negotiate--people just weaved around the mess--but this must have been a special challenge if you were trailing a long dress.

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