A world first.
Back in 1888, French cinematographer Louis Le Prince took the world’s first ever moving picture.
He could have chosen to film the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building or the Houses of Parliament, but no… Le Prince captured Leeds Bridge instead.
Using a single lens camera and a single strip of paper, Le Prince captured pedestrians alongside carriages laden with goods crossing the bridge just outside Leeds bustling nightlife spots, on Hunslet Road.
Leeds Bridge, at the foot of Briggate, was chosen as it was seen as a perfect example of sublime Victorian engineering. The cast iron bridge, which bears the old Leeds corporation coat of arms was built in 1870 and was the location of the city’s bustling wool cloth market- making it a hub for the fast pace life of the city.
Le Prince was due to address a meeting in New York about his pioneering projection techniques, but after boarding a train to France he was mysteriously never seen again…
His great-great granddaughter donated the film as a lasting legacy to the Leeds Philosophical and Literary society, and if you can find the footage today it is well worth a watch…
- Leeds’ Flat Iron Building: the ‘older cousin’ to New York’s famous landmark
- The Man With The Barrel – the Barrel Man celebrating Leeds partnership with Dortmund
- The fascinating history behind why people from Leeds are called Loiners
To find the spot for yourself head down to the bottom of Briggate and search for the blue plaque.
Feature Image – The Hoot Leeds