This film is part of Free

Manchester Street Scenes (1901)

A rare glimpse of early Edwardian Manchester when the horse-drawn tram still reigned supreme.

Non-Fiction 1901 5 mins Silent


These scenes of Market Street, still Manchester's busiest shopping area, encapsulate the bustling energy of the city centre in the Edwardian era. 1901 saw the inauguration of the city's first electric tram route, which would soon replace the horse-drawn method depicted here. Showman A.D. Thomas is seen distributing tickets for the forthcoming travelling film show to pedestrians.

The film was included in a programme of films titled 'Life in Manchester' shown daily at St James’s Hall throughout the summer of 1901. It offers rich insights into various aspects of urban life, including the growing confidence of women, who are shown wandering freely around the city centre. The inclusion of the long-take of the Boer soldier and the blond-haired boy (probably the soldier's son) reflects contemporary public interest in the ongoing Anglo-Boer war, which was widely covered in contemporary media and in popular literature such as comics.