Lumière Brothers project

This partnership project between The Museum of Liverpool and the University of Liverpool imaginatively recreates what it was like to sit on the Liverpool Overhead Railway in its heyday in the late 1890s. The project was made possible through Northwest Vision with a grant from the Digital Film Archive Fund.

Dr Richard Koeck has combined original film footage from the Lumière Brothers with a series of digital animations to retrace the full journey of the Liverpool Overhead Railway along the waterfront. By using an historical Ordinance Survey map as a point of reference, the animations create precise geographical references between the locations where the films were shot and those seen on the maps.

The Lumière footage was shot from the Liverpool Overhead Railway in 1897, and is thought to be the first motion pictures shot in Liverpool. The remarkable films capture an exceptional moment in space and time of Liverpool as the 'gateway to the Empire'.

Dr Koeck is a senior lecturer in the School of Architecture and director of the Centre of Architecture and the Visual Arts at the University of Liverpool. His interest in the Liverpool Overhead Railway stems from working on the research project 'City in Film: Liverpool's Urban Landscape and the Moving Image'. The Museum of Liverpool worked with Dr Koeck to bring this film to the public.

Visitors to the Liverpool Overhead Railway gallery can explore the film and the maps in a touch screen interactive, as well as viewing the digital animations on a scale model of the route of the Overhead Railway.

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Animation combining film footage with a view of the Overhead Railway carriage. Original footage © Association frères Lumière