A fascinating video tour of London, which includes footage taken towards the end of the nineteenth century, is available on YouTube, at:


The early material is by an English inventor named Wordsworth Donisthorpe (1847 – 1914) and his cousin William Crofts (1846 – 1894), who in 1889 patented a moving film camera and projector, which they called the Kinesigraph.

The following year Donisthorpe and Crofts used their Kinesigraph to take a moving picture of Trafalgar Square. Ten frames survive, of the fountains and the National Gallery.


Ten frames of Trafalgar Square shot by Wordsworth Donisthorpe in 1890. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons

These frames have been included in the YouTube video with other early films of London between 1890 and 1920, juxtaposed with shots taken from the same location in 2015. Maps show where the cameras were positioned.

Some stills from the video:

Youtube London 0 mins 29 secs stillYoutube London 1 mins 01 secs stillYoutube London 1 mins 21 secs stillYoutube London 5 mins 12 secs stillYoutube London 10 mins 21 secs still