Days of Wonder screening & talk: Hove’s Film Pioneers

James Williamson, A Big Swallow, 1901, courtesy of BFI/SASE


Days of Wonder is a new heritage project dedicated to exploring the film & media heritage of Brighton & Hove. As part of it, three special screenings wil take place in Hangleton of archive films exploring experimentation and technique, with talks by Dr Frank Gray, former Director of Screen Archive South East.

Screenings will take place at Oasis Christian Fellowship Hall in Hangleton. Delivered in partnership with Hangleton & Knoll Project’s 50+ Film Club.

Screening information, 5 June 2024

Date and time: 1:30-3:30pm, 5 June 2024
Venue: Small Hall, At The Oasis, Hangleton Way, Hangleton BN3 8EQ – click here to a see a map.
Price and tickets: Free, no need to book. Places are aimed at people aged 50+ in Hangleton & Knoll.

Hove’s Film Pioneers

This talk introduces Hove’s film pioneers. And how this seaside town in 1900, alongside London, Paris and New York, was at the forefront of the birth of cinema. It will present and explore the work of the Hove-based innovators George Albert Smith, Laura E Bayley and James Williamson. For seven years from their base at St Ann’s Well Gardens in Hove (1897-1903), Smith and Bayley made films that were so successful that they were seen world-wide.

Their first films were single shots of everyday scenes and comic sketches. Williamson’s first movies were comedies and fantastic trick films. Is it possible for a man to swallow a man? These film-makers taught themselves how to combine shots in order to create film sequences. Together they invented film editing – a revolutionary step that would transform the nature of film.


Screenings are part of Days of Wonder a three-year project produced by Corridorand videoclub in partnership with Brighton & Hove Museums with support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and Screen Archive South East.