At the meeting of the LRS on 13th March 2019 our good friend Winnie Stevenson from the Museum of Communication presented "Phantasmagoria, a traditional magic lantern show".
Winnie has two magic lanterns. The older, lit by an oil lamp, dates from the 1880s and was on show. The one she used for her presentation belonged to the Roslin Band of Hope and dates from 1906, now with an electric lamp. After a quick introduction to magic lanterns, the talk followed the format of a traditional lantern show starting with a Travelogue, a Victorian and Edwardian journey down the River North Esk and around Edinburgh. We saw the Forth Rail Bridge under construction, and visited London and Yosemite National Park in California. The talk ended with a story and moving cartoons suitable for children of all ages.
Report by Mike Burgess MM0MLB:
The oil-lit lantern was on the stage (that's another story!) for people to see and what a magnificent thing it is too! The lantern used for the presentation was not quite as old but equally splendid and now sporting a 100W LED light source.
All of the categories and themes Winnie presented were equally fascinating and really conveyed what must have been experienced by the audiences all those years ago. Just imagine - seeing actual enlarged images of people, places and things one would never have had a chance to see previously. Slides that had the ability to show motion must have been really amazing! Winnie talked a little of her ongoing pursuit in obtaining more slides, many of which attract high prices and serious competition amongst buyers.
Winnie's collection of slides of central Edinburgh was, of course, particularly interesting. There were many views of Princes Street with trams aplenty and pictures of buildings long since demolished to make way for more modern structures. Pictures of Roslin (where Winnie and husband Tom live) also featured.
All ages seemed to have been catered for; Victorians seemed unafraid to show images that today might be considered violent, cruel or threatening - no censorship in those days! But then, for children, they have always liked a bit of scary stuff!
There were a few questions asked at the end of the show but it was quite clear this had been an most enjoyable evening and a little different at that! LRS President Brian Flynn GM8BJF closed the meeting with a vote of thanks to Winnie and presented her with couple of bottles of wine.
Here is a selection of Winnie's many slides: