This film is part of Free

British Sports and Pastimes. Series 5

British leisure time, from intrepid climbing and frolics on the ice to the skill of billiards.

1916 3 mins Silent


There's some accomplished skating on display in this evocative look at leisure activities - none of the awkward shuffling seen at modern ice rinks. The nitrate damage to the film obscures some of the detail but none of its entrancing charm, perhaps even adding to the beauty of the wintry idyll - keep an eye out for the young girl who seems almost to vanish into thin air as she pirouettes gracefully across the frozen lake.

The climbers' safety measures (or lack of them) are hair-raising by contemporary standards, with the woman's knitted hat unlikely to be much help in a fall. The loose trousers presumably offered good mobility, though, and the beginnings of modern climbing equipment can be seen in the rudimentary rope and harness. For most, this was a pastime best enjoyed from the comfort of a cinema seat!