I have came across a YouTube video titled "The 1890's ~ Amazing Rare Footage of Cities Around the World". (2 mins)

Now at 2 mins of this video there is footage of people sitting on a rollercoaster, however the person that owns the YouTube channel does not state which town or city the footage is from, which is strange, considering they have stated the location of every other town and city shown in the video. I am therefore assuming that the channel owner does not know which town or city the footage is from either.

I was just wondering if this was the earliest filmed footage of Blackpool pleasure beach? Or is it from elsewhere in Britain?

  • 3
    The Wikipedia page for the Blackpool pleasure beach mentions that "The original Pleasure Beach was built on the sand dunes along the promenade and consisted of a few roundabouts, a Bicycle Railway and several Gypsy stalls." That doesn't seem to describe what's seen in the video.
    – Steve Bird
    Oct 25, 2022 at 19:42
  • Before the pleasurebeaxh was Royal Gardens (since developed into housi g) which had a roller coater at one point.
    – Spencer
    Oct 25, 2022 at 21:40

1 Answer 1



The movie 'scene' in question (alternative YouTube video) was an entire early short film — 39 seconds long — and is titled simply (as on Wikipedia here) "A Switchback Railway" from 1898 by Victorian film maker Robert William Paul. And sadly this is almost always described with very little statistics or other details as merely "at a fairground" or at IMDB as:

"Beguiling scene of adults frolicking on a small-scale roller coaster in an urban park."

still image from the movie showing the 'railway'

Although, one local history outlet describes it as filmed nearby to the then in 1896 newly established film studio of R. W. Paul, in Muswell Hill at the Alexandra Palace, nicknamed 'Ally Pally', so in North London at 51°35′38″N 0°07′48″W.

— Ian Christie: "The birth of cinema. How a film studio in Muswell Hill played a pivotal role in pioneering cinema", Haringey Community Press, 28 March 2022.

Another alternative YouTube video described it as

"Amazing rare footage of Ally Pally's switchback railway. Made by north London film pioneer R.W. Paul in 1898. In the background, you can see Blandford Hall (known at this time as simply the Banqueting Hall). See a still image on Harringay Online at https://hgyol.in/3cPQAla"

— Harringay Online: "Ally Pally Switchback Railway 1898", YouTube video, Mar 10, 2020.

Interestingly, Wikipedia omits this movie from its list of Films released in 1898 — although it is, as seen above, featured with its own dedicated lemma page — and to be found on Wikimedia Commons.

  • If you are sure about it you can simply amend Wikipedia's list of films from that year. Oct 26, 2022 at 9:41

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