All posts by Matthew

A Night at the Cinema in 1914

Over the next few months we will experience something really quite extraordinary. This is because we can now start to premise select sentences about the First World War with ’100 years today…’ On the 28th June we commemorated the centenary anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and on the 28th of the following month we were able to do the same for the outbreak of the conflict itself. And there will be many more of these poignant reminders. On August 4th we remember probably one of the most pivotal moments in UK history: the British declaration of war. There are many ways you can commemorate this event in Oxford but one such illuminating choice is to watch ‘A Night at the Cinema in 1914’: a special compilation of archival footage from the British Film Institute (BFI) which seeks to recreate a typical night out in 1914. This excellent film is coming to the Phoenix Picture House in Oxford on the night of the 4th August and will showcase a memorable miscellany of comedies, dramas, travelogues and newsreels including:

  • a comic short about a face-pulling competition
  • a sensational episode of The Perils of Pauline
  • scenes of Allied troops celebrating Christmas at the Front and…
  • an early sighting of one of cinema’s greatest icons.

Take yourself back to a hundred years ago and see where the world of film all began. See the trailer here and keep an eye on the Phoenix Picture House website for the latest information.


From the British Film Institute National Archive

First World War Display at the Oxford Central Public Library

As we reflect upon the 98th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, there could be no better time to explore the wealth of literature (both fiction and non-fiction) centred on the Great War of 1914-1918. If you would like to extend your knowledge on the conflict and/or explore a new and interesting perspective then take some time to visit the Oxford Central Public Library as it is currently running a display of its First World War books, DVDs and music CDs (level 1). There is also a range of excellent reference works available for study in the Reference Library (level 2). All the items on display are available for loan during opening hours and if you would like to find out more about the library, please see the Oxfordshire Libraries Website for further information:


Solider reading in the trenches © National Library of Scotland

lib Ox

New WW1 themed display at the Oxford Central Library

Discovering World War I in the Archives

18 June 2014 2:00pm — 4:00pm, in the Convocation House, Old Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Library’s exhibition, ‘The Great War: Personal Stories from Downing Street to the Trenches,’ opens 18 June. Letters and diaries of politicians, soldiers and civilians, all connected with Oxford University, convey contemporary experiences of the Great War from the outbreak of war in 1914 to the battle of the Somme in 1916.

The exhibition at the Bodleian is part of a series taking place this year in three archives that preserve memories of World War I. In Germany, ‘Literatur und Krieg’ at the Deutsches Literaturarchiv, Marbach, and in France, ‘1914, La Mort des Poètes’ at the Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire de Strasbourg, also examine how war is understood through surviving documents.

Curators from all three archives will join a panel discussion in Oxford on 18 June examining the choices and discoveries made in selecting material to tell stories of World War I. The event will be held in the Convocation House, Bodleian Library.

Speakers: Christophe Didier – Julien Collonges – Ulrich Raulff – Christopher Fletcher – Mike Webb

Moderator: Stuart Lee

See the event listing to book free tickets: