Friday, August 4, 2017

From the Archives: A Glimpse into the Edwardian Past

Friday, August 4, 2017

Susan 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 notice?

14 comments: said...

What I noticed ... only one person with a disability (a man with one leg on crutches) and only two men overweight - with beer bellies. On the whole, the people were of a healthy weight or even on the slim side and they walked everywhere apparently.


Cynthia Lambert said...

It was so unusual at that time to see filming, that people sort of lit up when they saw the camera. Remember, they were seeing a man cranking a rather large box to capture their images.

A very evocative and well produced clip. Was life simpler? Perhaps for some. Luckily, we don't see the wretchedness of the downtrodden here. Just normal people going about their daily business.

As far as size, I am old enough to remember when everyone was normal sized, and the obese were ridiculed and shamed for their weight. But we all walked a lot more then; portion sizes were reasonable, and sugary foods were a special treat, not a daily occurrence. And we all wore clothing, not gym wear. Real leather shoes, not sneakers. Real clothes, not hoodies and sweats. I abhor today's casualness. People no long have a sense of occasion. There is a funeral parlor near my house and I see people lined up for a wake in colourful clothing and shorts. Appalling. I hate to sound like a prig, because I'm not at all, but people seem to have forgotten the sense of appropriateness we used to have. In some ways, we are more enlightened and PC, but a lot of dignity was lost along the way.

Thank you for sharing.

Marcy said...

What I notice the most is how much we are the same no matter what the year or times. Children running and skipping along, women shopping while chit chatting with each other and men on their way or coming home from work. The times may change, the clothing may change and the things we use daily may change but in the end we are all the same. We are people going about our daily business, loving our families and enjoying life.

Ophelia said...

People were responsible for themselves. They walked in the street and hung on ship railings. There is a decided lack of caution for some of these people.

The sad aspect of that is if someone was hurt then their social status determined the reaction.

Annette Naish said...

There were places and times when no women were in evidence. And as has been noted by others, people seemed to be in much better physical shape. Their attire was wonderful. Men in suits and hats and looking as though they were pleased to be so formal and wonderful. Women in skirts that swung around them when they walked and glorious hats. Little girls and boys in clothing that made them look absolutely grown up. Everyone with good posture.

I know we have all sorts of wonderful and modern advantages. But, when I consider the film, I am rather sad that we have lost some of the habits and manners from such a long time ago.

But, I live in Austin Texas...if I wore that many clothes and a hat and gloves to boot, I would melt and be nothing more than a grease spot on the highway of life.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful medley of films. Not one woman--not a one--was without a hat or bonnet. Few men were without hats, but not one woman. People then were engaged with each other, it seems--even strangers on the street. Manners ruled and everyone knew their manners. I miss that. We had that up until the early 1960s. Then everyone became absorbed with gratification--instant, if you could get it. Instant gratification for material things and sensuality hasn't moved us forward but backward as a race of uplifting, sentient beings.

Unknown said...

Edwardian era (1901-1910) was prior to WW1... there would be many more disabled men later.

Unknown said...

Edwardian era (1901-1910) was prior to WW1... there would be many more disabled men later.

Unknown said...

Edwardian era (1901-1910) was prior to WW1... there would be many more disabled men later.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing that. I can see my grandmother on those streets. She was born 1892 and I heard so much of her life back then in Britain it feels homey.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing that. I can see my grandmother on those streets. She was born 1892 and I heard so much of her life back then in Britain it feels homey.

Unknown said...

Generally the "better" sort of people in this film

Not like this...

A lot more pound-a-week people...

QuiltGranma said...

I noticed a car horn attached to the steering wheel. the back end of carriages seem to be modeled after the bow of boats. lots of dark clothing (hides dirt).

Bea said...

Thank you for that link, Neal. This is definitely film of the middle and upper class--the sort of folks who can afford to go on boats and have a leisure day by the seaside.

The boys running around in front of the camera are definitely not the same as these children:

It's easy to look back on that time with nostalgia. I do historical reenactment/re-creation, so I do understand the lure. But, outside of the pretty clothes, I don't think we're missing much. Those much-vaunted manners are based on the idea that I'm incompetent and stupid because I'm female, but I'm a valuable trade good to my father so don't scuff me up.

No thanks.
I'll take "no sense of occasion" over that, any day of the week.

The clothes are pretty though. Love the plaid dress (and her smirk) at 2.30!

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