Forgotten gems of Blackpool films on show at stations around country

From the film Holiday 1957, shot in Blackpool at the outdoor baths'Britain On Film available on the BFI Player (British Film Institute)'www.player.bfi.rog.uk/britain-on-film

From the film Holiday 1957, shot in Blackpool at the outdoor baths'Britain On Film available on the BFI Player (British Film Institute)'www.player.bfi.rog.uk/britain-on-film

4
Have your say

Scenes of Blackpool around the turn of the 20th century are now on show at stations across the country.

The forgotten gems of footage, depicting the resort in its heyday, have recently been unearthed by the British Film Institute (BFI) and are now being beamed onto the screens of railways stations, including Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol.

The BFI had already made the charming moving pictures available on its website, via the BFI player, to allow people across the UK to delve into history and see the past come to life, as part of its Britain On Film heritage project.

Now, through the use of modern technology, the film clips – which includes newsreels, advertisements, home movies and forgotten TV programmes – can be broadcast to even more of the public.

They depict landscapes long since gone, famous landmarks and local communities at work and play.

Blackpool features in three of the films – all of which are being shown across the country, while some films are only being beamed into selected areas – Holiday (1957), Blackpool Victoria Pier (1904) and The Open Road (1926).

In the archive footage from 1904, a pair of Blackpool trams, packed with holiday-makers pause on the Promenade, before the camera cuts to a shot of the Pier, where people in their Sunday best stare with curiosity into the lens.

Mousatchoied gentlemen in bowler hats and top hats, swarm the crowded streets, alongside finely-dressed ladies.

And the delights of 1950s Blackpool holidays are vibrantly revisited in the 1957 travel monologue by John Taylor, produced for British Transport Film.

It features scenes from South Shore open air baths, holiday-makers sunbathing on the beaches and crowds walking along the Promenade.

And the Open Road, made in 1925, by film-maker Claude Friese-Greene, includes a sequence in Blackpool.

Robin Baker, head curator at the BFI, said: “For 120 years, cameras have captured almost every aspect of life in the UK on film, but too often these have been inaccessible to all but the most determined researchers.

“We are transforming access to film and making them available, no matter where you live.

“What better way to celebrate this than by screening films at some of the busiest stations in the country? We hope these films will whet people’s appetites for more.”

Hamish Kiernan, Network Rail’s director of retail, said: “Stations have been bringing people and communities together for hundreds of years and today, more than ever, they are destinations in their own right.

“We want stations to be quality environments and welcoming places for passengers and other visitors and Britain on Film is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate British heritage, arts and culture.”

n To find out more about the films, visit www.bfi.org.uk/britain-on-film