Moving pictures: Film worker, film and audience experience in Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate, 1890s and today

Conference paper


Downing, C. 2024. Moving pictures: Film worker, film and audience experience in Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate, 1890s and today.
AuthorsDowning, C.
TypeConference paper
Description

In the late 1890s, the sensation variously known as living pictures, animated photographs or moving pictures travelled to the coastal gardens, halls, variety shows and assembly rooms of the north-eastern tip of Kent. This was the ‘cinema of attractions’ (Gunning 2004) designed to thrill the audience, whether presented as a scientific marvel with educational potential or as a turn in a programme of live acts. Films could be fantasy or the streets of your town, in black and white or in colour, accompanied by a lecture or by orchestra and sound effects.

Within 20 years the neighbouring towns of Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate had had almost 20 places to see a film, from converted sheds to elegant picture houses, the second wave of expansion in the 1930s still to come. This march of progress for cinemas - huge investment and building works, the development of new skills for exhibition and thousands of screenings for vast audiences of locals and visitors - began to draw to a halt from the early ‘60s and the towns today have just one cinema between them plus two more nearby.

This paper focuses on either end of this 130-year timeline to consider, in the absence of cinemas, this experience for the people involved in bringing film to the three towns and for their audiences: What were/are the technology and the physical spaces? How did/do films fit into the wider context of other programme elements? We explore how the experience of these two periods relate to the changes brought about by cultural modernity and post modernity and consider what may come in the late 2020s.

KeywordsFilm; Cinema; Audience; Labour; Sensation; Broadstairs; Margate; Ramsgate
Year2024
ConferenceKent Maps symposium 2024 'All Change! Place and Modernity'
Official URLhttps://www.canterbury.ac.uk/events/2024/kent-maps-symposium-2024
Publication process dates
Deposited01 May 2024
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/97w6x/moving-pictures-film-worker-film-and-audience-experience-in-broadstairs-margate-and-ramsgate-1890s-and-today

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