People often ask us what our oldest footage in the archive is and a quick search reveals there are only 38 films pre-1900. Some of this footage includes William Gladstone’s funeral (1898), Scenes from the Boer War (1899), Brighton beach bathing scenes (1898) and the New York Fire Brigade in action (1896). All of these films deserve blogs of their own but one of our most interesting newsreels (honestly) is a montage of clips filmed around the UK in the 1890s entitled Early Traffic Scenes.
Piccadilly Circus in 1896 – any similarities to today? The horse-drawn buses look overcrowded and as the original mobile billboard, the buses flaunt rather bold and confident advertisements such as: “Cadbury’s Cocoa. ABSOLUTELY PURE – therefore BEST”.
If there was ever a time for the congestion charge - the traffic looks worse outside the Bank of England in 1897 than it does today. You can watch more of some of the oldest online moving footage here.
Visit our 1890s Traffic gallery.