University of Exeter Press

The Beginnings Of The Cinema In England,1894-1901: Volume 3


    • 256 Pages

    Describing in detail one of the most inventive periods in the history of English cinema, the volumes in this celebrated series are already established as classics in their field and represent a major contribution to international film studies. Each volume details the highlights of a single cinematic year, including details of production, manufacturers of equipment, dealers and exhibitors. This is augmented by numerous carefully chosen illustrations and a comprehensive filmography of English films, fiction and non-fiction, for the year. Particular attention is also paid to the ways in which the cinema of other countries affected the English industry.

    Volume 3 explains how by 1898 the playbills of almost every prominent English music hall featured cinema shows with musical accompaniment. Producers such as R.W. Paul, G.A. Smith and James Williamson began to experiment with ‘made up’ productions that anticipated cinema’s development as a storytelling medium. The volume also details the technical improvements in film processing and the influence of French and American film production on the English cinema industry.

    ‘The legacy of John Barnes to the study of early cinema can hardly be overestimated.’
    The Beginnings of Cinema in England is a monumental work and an essential reference guide.  Its availability as a paperback is especially welcome to (graduate) students as the five volumes are very complete in situating the birth of cinema within its historical context.’
    (Gert Jan Harkema, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, September 2015)

    '. . . Essential reading . . . A labour of love that will intrigue any cineaste.' (Film Quarterly)

    'Film studies for years to come will be indebted to him for having immeasurably enriched the literature on his subject.' (Quarterly Review of Film Studies)

    'Perhaps it is a symptom of this change that the Barnes brothers have now found a publisher in the form of the University of Exeter Press, who have not only brought out this latest volume in style, but have re-issued volumes 2 to 4 in a uniform binding (with a promise of a totally revised volume 1 in 1998). Perhaps, at last, the British academic and archival establishments are coming to appreciate the fascination of the early cinema, a fascination that John and William Barnes have felt for over 60 years.' (Film History, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1998)

    'This remarkable set of books should be in every university library in the country, and on the shelves of every film historian.' (Viewfinder, No. 32, February 1998)

    'Beginnings of the Cinema in England belongs beside such founding works as Rachael Low's History of the British Film and Denis Gifford's British Film Catalogue. It is an essential work in the literature of the film.' (Film Quarterly)


    1. Production

    2. Exhibition

    3. Equipment

    4. The American Connection


    1. British Films of 1898

    2. Amendments and Additions to Volume Two


    Film Index

    General Index

    John Barnes wrote extensively on the beginnings of the cinema and on pre-cinema history. With his twin brother, Bill, he produced a collection of films documenting life in Kent in the 1930s.

    In 1997 John and his twin-brother William Barnes were awarded the Jean Mitry prize by the Pordenone Silent Film Festival in Italy for their distinguished contribution to silent cinema. In 2006 they received honorary doctorates from Stirling University.



      • 256 Pages