The films included in Victorians on Film: Entertainment, Innovation & Everyday Life have been selected in close collaboration with collection specialists at the British Film Institute. The collections were selected to support a broad range of research themes across Victorian Studies, Edwardian Studies and Early Cinema Studies. We have sought the advice from academics across these disciplines to ensure that the resource draws out these themes through enhanced metadata and research tools.

From the British Film Institute, we have included the Victorian Film Collection (1895-1901) and Mitchell and Kenyon Collection (1899-1913) in their entirety. These collections cover the earliest era of film making and allow users to trace developments into the early twentieth century. To provide context on types of filmmaking during this period, we have also included biograph and large format films. To contextualise the Victorian Film Collection and Mitchell and Kenyon Collection alongside their international early cinema counterparts, we have also included a selection of international films. The international and large format films have been selected from the British Film Institute in consultation with Bryony Dixon (Curator of Silent Film), with additions from the Eye Filmmuseum.

The primary sources in Victorians on Film: Entertainment, Innovation & Everyday Life cover a wide range of themes including popular culture, actuality film, sport and British colonialism. We acknowledge that early cinema produced in this period does not reflect the lived experiences of all identities living in Britain, especially those of the marginalised and underrepresented groups. To understand more about the absence of these groups from early cinema and actuality film, please see the following essays, accessible under Research Tools:

Users can browse films by the Victorian Film Collection, the Mitchell and Kenyon Collection, the Early Large Format Film Collection, the Early International Films, or by Genre or Theme.


A note on omissions:

Where films are missing, exclusions have largely been due to:

  • Copyright and permission considerations
  • Data protection concerns
  • The fragile condition of the original film reels where digitisation has not been possible or is incomplete