Researchers at the University of Liverpool will launch a new online resource that catalogues more than 1,500 films made in and about Liverpool over the past 100 years.
The database is part of the City in Film project which explores the relationship between Liverpool’s architecture and the moving image. The resource includes information on films from the late 19th century to the present day and allows film makers and researchers to search for footage taken of various Liverpool locations and buildings.
Over the course of the two year project, researchers have examined footage shot by film pioneers such as Mitchell and Kenyon in the early 20th century, as well as a range of amateur and independent films from the 1960s and ‘70s. Information on the film makers, as well as the format in which the footage was recorded, is included in the database.
The oldest film footage that the team studied was taken in 1897 by French film makers, the Lumiére Brothers, who photographed moving picture scenes in Liverpool, including the first tracking shot filmed from the city’s overhead railway. Later footage, developed by local film and video makers, includes street scenes, housing conditions and theatre and arts schemes from the 1970s. The majority of footage is held at the British Film Institute (BFI) and the Northwest Film Archive, but the database also details films held by private collectors and film enthusiasts.
Dr Julia Hallam, from the University’s School of Politics and Communication Studies, said: “Liverpool’s rich history and grand architecture has attracted film makers to the city since the beginning of moving picture technology. We have located and catalogued approximately 1,700 films that feature the city to help us explore the evolution of film and how Liverpool’s urban landscape has been used over the past century.”
Professor Rob Kronenburg, from the School of Architecture, added: “The online catalogue will be invaluable to researchers, film makers and the media industry because it will allow the user to search for footage featuring a particular building or street, as well as detailing where the footage can be found and
who to contact for more information. We are now looking to build the database further to include more amateur and independent films.”
The team is also working with National Museums Liverpool to develop a digital map of the city, which will highlight Liverpool locations and landmarks that have been featured in films from the late 19th century to the present day.