Stories through Slides

Stories told with the magic lantern could vary from the amusing to the melodramatic, the educational to the traditional tale. We'll add a few on this page.

The poem "Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight" by Rose Hartwick Thorpe was popular in the Victorian era and this set of lantern slides below was created to illustrate it. It appears in our lantern slide catalogue of 1890 and was advertised as a "Life Model" set. Bamforth's, of Holmfirth in Yorkshire was one of the two specialist slide makers that used simple sets, photography and hand colouring to make hundreds of sets of slides. The images seem very simplistic - but this is an era before celluloid, and Bamforth's did in fact make some early films, though perhaps they are best known for their postcards. Imagine you've never seen a film or TV, or large pictures thrown onto a screen - and enjoy the magic of the lantern.

The poem would bring tears of empathy to the eyes of some - and tears of laughter to some in the music halls, where it was known as "Hang on the Bell, Nelly". We'll leave you to see why!

Another short set of slides, the story of a phrenologist with a form of quackery which flourished in Victorian times. The phrenologist would make his diagnosis from the bumps on your head! A suitable subject for humour.