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.

In an evening of heavyweight moral tales, the occasional short set of humorous slides would lighten the event. We'll leave you to decide whether pa, in the video below, deserved some help or should have been able to do his own cutting and sewing!

A nice set of hand drawn and then lithograph printed slides which have then been hand coloured. We don't know if Mr Randall and Mr Salter tried much in the way of sound effects, but we've added some to this video version. The Lecture Hall at Cromer certainly had a piano that was regularly in use at meetings when slides were being shown.