Victorians at Play: The Cinema

Ref: C2346998

As the 19th century drew towards its close, the Victorians were able to enjoy a new leisure activity in the form of the 'moving photographs' projected by the Cinematograph and similar devices. This lecture will look briefly at the technology that made this possible, including who developed it and where, before considering other aspects of what became an enormously popular form of entertainment. How accessible was it to different social classes; and what was so exciting about films such as 'Father Playing with his Children', 'Rough Sea at Ramsgate' and 'Gardener Burning Weeds'. The first purpose-built cinemas were not opened until the early 20th century - so where did the Victorians watch their films? Given their highly inflammable nature, what sort of control was exercised over these venues - or over content that might be considered 'unsuitable' for a public audience? We will also consider the impact of newsreel film at the cinema, particularly to a nation at war in South Africa.

Course aim

This lecture will focus on the development of the cinema as a new leisure activity for the Victorians towards the end of the 19th century, considering the technical developments that made it possible, its audiences, and the content that they viewed.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify the real and perceived dangers of the cinema in the late 19th century.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Your lecture will be delivered in a ‘traditional’ talk-to-camera style, but there will be opportunities to ask questions and engage in discussion at the end. Slide-show images will be used to illustrate key points, and a short summary of the lecture will be posted to Canvas soon after the event.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Victorians at Play: The Cinema

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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