Several key online resources can be directly accessed via the WSBC sidebar. Included below are more resources that may be of use in finding out about women and British silent cinema. For specific information relating to a particular woman, please refer to her Homepage and Print and On-line Sources page.

If you would like to recommend any resources please Contact Us.

Websites and On-line Resources

The Bioscope, Luke McKernan’s blog ‘reporting on the world of early and silent cinema’.

The British Film Institute Film and TV Database.

BFI Information Reports and Practical Guides. Currently included a downloadable version of the 1914 Kinematograph Yearbook and a catalogue of British Films from 1927-1939.

The British Newspaper Archive.  Access to up to 4 million fully searchable pages featuring more than 200 newspaper titles from every part of the UK and Ireland. A partnership between the British Library and online publisher Brightsolid.

The London Project. This AHRB (AHRC)-funded project covers the cinema industry in London from 1894-1914 and has a searchable database of cinemas and film businesses.

BBC Woman’s Hour Women’s History Timeline. Women’s history in the twentieth century with biographies, archival audio content and photograph libraries.

Early British Screenplays Database. A listing of all known surviving British silent scenarios and related materials, hosted by the Louis le Prince Centre, University of Leeds.

Media History Digital Library. A growing collection of digitised US and UK trade and technical journals, fan magazines and yearbooks including Photoplay, Film Daily and The Kine Yearbook.

Hedditch, Emma, ‘Women and Film: Women on Both Sides of the Camera‘, an entry in Screenonline, the BFI’s definitive guide to Britain’s film and TV history.

Women’s Film History International blog. News, events and links to international projects on women’s film history.

Books and PhD theses

Adam, Ruth, A Woman’s Place 1910-1975 [1975] (London: Persephone Books).

Beddoe, Deirdre., Discovering Women’s History: A Practical Guide to Researching the Lives of Women Since 1800 (third edition, Harlow: Longman, 1998).

Bryan, Jane, The Cinema Looking Glass: The British Film Fan Magazine 1911-1918 (unpublished PhD thesis: Norwich, University of East Anglia, 2006).

Bull, Sofia, and Astrid Söderberg Widding, eds., Not So Silent: Women in Cinema before Sound (Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2010).

Hammerton, Jenny, For Ladies Only? Eve’s Film Review: Pathe Cinemagazine 1921-33 (Hastings: Projection Box, 2001).

Hammill, Fay, Ashlie Sponenberg and Eskie Miskimmin, Encyclopedia of British Women’s Writing 1900-1950 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).

Higson, Andrew, ed. Young and Innocent: The Cinema in Britain 1896-1930 (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2002). This contains an excellent section on Bibliographical and Archival Resources compiled by Stephen Bottomore (for the period before the First World War) and Jon Burrows (from the First World War to the coming of sound) and a bibliography for British cinema before 1930 compiled by Andrew Higson, Michael Williams and Jo-Anne Blanco.

Lant, Antonia with Ingrid Perez eds., Red Velvet Seat: Women’s Writings on the First Fifty Years of Cinema (London: Verso, 2006).

Low, Rachael, The History of the British Film 1896-1906 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1948).

Low, Rachael, The History of the British Film 1906-1914 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1949).

Low, Rachael, The History of the British Film 1914-1918 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1950).

Low, Rachael, The History of the British Film 1918-1929 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1971).

Vazzana, Eugene, The Silent Film Necrology (McFarland and Company, 2001, 2nd Edition)

Articles and Book Chapters

Bryan, Jane, ‘From Film Stories to Film Stars: The Beginnings of the Fan Magazine in Britain, 1911-16’, in Alan Burton and Laraine Porter eds., Scene-Stealing: Sources for British Cinema Before 1930 (Trowbridge: Flicks Books, 2003) pp. 65-70.

Burrows, Jon, ‘Girls on Film: the Musical Matrices of Film Stardom in Early British Cinema’, Screen, vol. 44, no. 3 (2003), pp. 314-325.

Gledhill, Christine, ‘Reframing Women in 1920s British Cinema: the Case of Violet Hopson and Dinah Shurey’, Journal of British Cinema and Television, vol. 4 no. 1 (2007), pp. 1-17.

Newey, Katherine, ‘Women and Early British Film: Finding a Screen of Her Own’, in Linda Fitzsimmons and Sarah Street (eds) Moving Performance: British Stage and Screen 1890s-1920s (Trowbridge: Flicks Books, 2000), pp. 151-165.

Toulmin, Vanessa, ‘Women Bioscope Proprietors – Before the First World War’, in John Fullerton, ed., Celebrating 1895: The Centenary of Cinema (Sydney: John Libbey, 1998), pp. 55-65.

Wasson, Haidee, ‘Writing the Cinema into Daily Life: Iris Barry and the Emergence of British Film Criticism’, in Higson, Andrew ed., Young and Innocent? The Cinema in Britain 1896-1930 (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2002) pp. 321-337.

Catalogues and Reference Works (Print and On-line)

Haig, Molly, Women Film-makers of the Silent Era: The Holdings of the National Film and Television Archive (1996, British Film Institute)

McKernan, Luke, Women Silent Filmmakers in Britain (updated version 2007).

Rothwell-Smith, Paul, British Silent Film Performers Volume 1 (Cordelia Books, 2007).

Terpstra, Mirte, Girls from the Sky: A Critical Catalogue of Women in the Production of Silent British Cinema 1914-1918 (2006, University of Nottingham) A copy is held in the BFI National Library.

Archive Collections

BFI Special Collections. There is as yet no on-line database of the BFI’s Special Collections but an a-z list of collections is now online. The catalogue can be accessed from the BFI Library, Stephen Street, London or please contact if you would like advice on your research. There are many collections with silent British cinema material including the Michael Balcon, Film Society, Elsie Cohen, Mabel Poulton, Adrian Brunel, and Ivor Montagu Collections. There are also extensive collections of pressbooks and a number of silent scenarios.

BECTU (Broadcasting and Entertainment Cinematographs and Theatre Union) Oral History Project. This comprises over 500 interviews, many of them with figures working during the silent period. Audiotape recordings are accessible through the BFI Library. Click here for more information. As part of the University of East Anglia’s British Cinema History Research Project a large number of these interviews have been transcribed. For a complete list and details on how to access transcriptions, click here.

The Bill Douglas Centre is located at the University of Exeter and holds a wide range of books, ephemera, prints and objects relating to cinema and pre-cinema history. An on-line catalogue of the Centre’s collections, EVE (Everyone’s Virtual Exhibition), is also available.

The Denis Gifford Collection. Interviews conducted by Denis Gifford and radio interviews recorded by him. These again feature many silent cinema practitioners, including a number of women, working in the British industry. Audiotapes are available to access through the BFI Library. Click here for more information.

National Archives Listen to a podcast of Joseph Pugh discussing the silent cinema resources held at the National Archives. The Bioscope usefully surveys the types of materials that are available here.

The Women’s Library holds many resources including books, periodicals and extensive paper archive collections including the papers of actress Chlli Bouchier.

Moving Image Material

Queries regarding surviving film material held at BFI’s National Film and Television Archive can be directed to the BFI’s Curator of Silent Film Bryony Dixon at BFI National Archive, 21 Stephen Street, London, W1T 1LN| Tel 020 7957 8951 | Fax 020 7580 7503 |

The BFI’s Mediatheque, located at BFI Southbank, London and in the BFI National Library, Stephen Street, London (2 terminals), is an excellent resource. It currently has a small but growing selection of silent British features as well as newsreel and topical material. A list of films available to view is searchable on-line. There are now Mediatheques in Derby, Cambridge, Wrexham and Newcastle with more to follow…

%d bloggers like this: