History Files


Modern Britain

Precious Story Slides Restored

BBC News, 16 June 2007



A rare collection of picture stories created before the invention of the movie camera has been restored by the University of Bristol.

The seven sets of hand-tinted magic lantern slides were used to educate, entertain and mystify audiences.

The late nineteenth century slides tell stories with titles such as Christmas in Paradise, The Matron's Story and the Workhouse Boy.

The stories are part of an archive of more than 400 magic lantern slides.

Jo Elsworth, Keeper of the Theatre Collection, said: "Though there was a huge market for magic lanterns and slides in the nineteenth century, they eventually fell out of favour after the invention of moving pictures.

"Few lanterns and slides survived which makes this archive even more precious."

The magic lantern was the ancestor of the modern slide projector.

Lantern slides consisted of two sheets of square glass between which the photographic image was sandwiched.

Using an oil lamp and a lens, the image could be projected onto a screen.



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