This film is part of Free
Pure tranquillity in rural Somerset, a world away from the war raging on the continent.
Travelogue 1916 1 mins Silent
Breathtaking views of the famous Gorge transport viewers of this mid-WWI travelogue to a rural idyll apparently untouched by the anguish of war. Intrepid visitors ascend the 275 steps of Jacob's Ladder before clambering up the lookout tower to appreciate the view towards Glastonbury Tor. For the less adventurous, the film also takes in the fine medieval stone cross which marks Cheddar's marketplace, and a gentle stroll along the bottom of the ravine.
The intertitles claim the lookout tower was used to send signals in times of "national danger". As you might expect in this corner of Somerset, though, there is a more colourful explanation. Exploration of the Gorge began in the mid-19th century, with tourists keen to see the newly opened caves. Roland Pavey, a mill owner and local character who built his own show cave to capitalise on this curiosity, put up the original wooden lookout as late as 1900, naming it the 'Mystic Tower'. The current iron replica continues to cater to tourists, rather than defend against invading hordes.
1916 on Film
Non-Fiction 1916 1 mins Silent
A humble scrub is all it takes to get these French troops in a lather.
Non-Fiction 1916 14 mins Silent Location: Walney Island
The maiden flight of Britain's first successful rigid airship – just don’t call it a zeppelin…
Comedy 1916 12 mins Silent
A tramp steals the clothes from a scarecrow, but when he realises two couples are using its pockets to pass messages, he sees an opportunity.
Comedy 1916 11 mins Silent
Newlywed Tubby fancies another man's typewriter and ends up in hot water with his new wife
1916 8 mins Silent
Preston North End play Liverpool (probably) in a regional football competition during WWI.
Interest film 1916 7 mins Silent
Goat farming, salmon farming and copper mining all feature in this enlightening oddity.
Travelogue 1947 17 mins Silent Location: Cheddar Gorge
Hitchcock went the wrong way! Head south by southwest with this travelogue from Bath to Cornwall.
Home movie 1959 35 mins Silent Location: Mundesley
In 1959, the extended Taylor family head to the Norfolk coast every Sunday for picnics and a lark about.
Amateur film 1953 67 mins Silent Location: Llandudno
The builders of some of Britain's biggest landmarks go on a jolly to celebrate the Queen's coronation year.
Travelogue 1926 12 mins Silent Location: Glastonbury
Blessed are the cheesemakers of Somerset in this tour of Cheddar and nearby Glastonbury.
Travelogue 1968 19 mins Location: Weston-super-Mare
Hitch a ride with a glamorous blonde in a convertible sports car, and take a spin around the seaside town of Weston-Super-Mare and its surroundings.
Travelogue 1930 9 mins Silent Location: Cheddar Gorge
A stencil-coloured journey through gorgeous gorges, picturesque villages and spa town pomp in this West Country travelogue made circa 1930.
Documentary 1922 68 mins Silent
Potent record of the 1921 Shackleton-Rowett Antarctic expedition, marked by the death of Sir Ernest Shackleton.
1930 62 mins
Unreleased footage of an expedition in Bolivia, filmed by British explorer and naturalist JC Bee-Mason.
Travelogue 1926 1 mins
The Court Treatt expedition arrives in Luxor in this fragment from the film record of their journey across Africa.
1926 40 mins Silent
Compelling travel feature edited from footage of the 1925-26 Worsley Algarsson Arctic expedition.
Inside Film 2021 41 mins
In this illustrated discussion, BFI programmer-at-large Geoff Andrew and Catherine Wheatley, the author of two books on Michael Haneke’s work, examine what makes him such a distinctive, important and often controversial cinematic artist.
Inside Film 2021 41 mins
Film critic Carmen Gray and film writer Ela Bittencourt discuss three films by trailblazing Czech filmmaker Věra Chytilová.