The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon

Notes from watching the first chapter Life and Times

The lost films (in the 1920’s) of Mitchell and Kenyon was discovered in the basement of a Blackburn shop by some builders who contacted a local film enthusiast (Peter Warden) before deciding to throw them away or not. 2 large metal containers of 850 silver nitrate film reels, which were transferred to the BFI (Berkhamsted) for restoration. Each minute of film consisting of 960 frames restored over the following 3 years, 800 films in all.

Mitchell and Kenyon

Mitchell was a photographer and Kenyon a maker of penny arcade machines jointly founded the firm, which became Norden Films and forayed into short dramas.

These films while not essentially documentaries are records of life in Edwardian Britain. This was a purely commercial endeavour with the films marketed direct to the public by people wearing sandwich boards with details of the weeks lates film. Essentially people were attracted to see themselves on film.

AT the time editing didn’t exist and there was no camera movement so the films were one long continuous shot without zoom and using the same angle so they had to be creative with the mounting of the camera for example on the top deck of a Tram.

There were no Cinemas and so their films were screened in the local halls or at the fairground in tents. They were prolific and visited many locations including Northern Ireland.

Peter Worden (1938-2013)

When the collection, consisting of hundreds of films of late Victorian and Edwardian Britain, was discovered in a basement in 1994, it was Peter who was its initial and tireless custodian and conservator. In 2000, he donated the collection to the nation and it entered the vaults of the BFI National Archive. What followed was a huge preservation, restoration and research project in collaboration between the BFI and the University of Sheffield.

Anon, Peter Worden (1938-2013). British Film Institute. Available at: [Accessed November 17, 2019].

Week 6, November 11th to November 15th

Monday – worked on my funding application for year 2 and 3 based on todays seminar on funding for post graduate study. It’s a long process but managed to have a draft application by the end of the day.

Tuesday 12th Supervisor meeting: Focus is shifting a little away from collective memory and into the richer subject area of Cinema Memory, which was already becoming an area of interest for my research and films. Action points: continue with reading and research on film and memory and how films represent memory.

Submitted my funding application.

FASS510 Using Computer Software for Qualitative Data Analysis: Interesting seminar looking at the computer software available for research. I’ve decided to use Atlas.ti for my qualitative analysis. Sp when time allows I’ll spend time getting my notes in order and start adding them to Atlas.ti, although I have made a note of the warnings and will spend some time organising my work and codes before committing to data entry. But I am also a bit wary of the amount of time this will occupy that could be used elsewhere..

Wednesday – Dementia Hub: I contacted them earlier in the week just to see if I could come along to their next meeting (1st Friday of the month) just to get a feel of what goes on and whether there is any interest in and to my documentary. Had a reply and an invite to come along to the next meeting at Lancaster Town Hall.

Thursday – Spent many hours transcribing the supervisor meetings and reading through what we discussed. (3,500 words) A few points came up that offered the opportunity to make a film using a format and design that I had been thinking of making for many years now. Developed an outline and synopsis of the film, which while challenging to make would perfectly represent  a form of memory in an interesting and informative way. Details to follow soon.

Friday – Received email confirmation that filming at the Dukes would be possible with a small caveat in that I will need to use someone familiar to the audience to act as a go between, which was something I was thinking of myself. Of course there is a small cost to this but I should be able to arrange suitable payment for their time.

Watched the first episode of the BBC Documentary, The lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon by Dan Cruickshank in collaboration with the BFI. See my Journal entry for notes on the 1st episode.