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Title: Admission for all : how cinema and railways shaped British culture, 1895-1948
Author: Harrison, R. E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 6349
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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My thesis examines the intersections between railway and cinema spaces to demonstrate how crucial these technologies were in altering life in Britain. The project focuses on the period between 1895 (the birth of film) and 1948 (when the railways were nationalised). Access to railways and cinemas was predicated on payment rather than birthright: in carriages and auditoriums, consumerism was—in theory—inclusive. The two technologies were thus crucial in transforming public space from one of privilege to one of mass consumption. I analyse three spaces: inside carriages, the interiors of auditoriums and the space onscreen to demonstrate how trains and moving images affected in material ways people’s experiences of modernity in everyday life. I also connect the intersections between the railway and cinema to a broader narrative about Britain’s democracy and industrial and political change in the period. This interdisciplinary thesis draws on a variety of fields including film theory, history, geography and sociology to provoke a reinvestigation of the cinema and the train in British culture. Archival research is central to the thesis, as primary sources create a material history of both the railway and cinema’s impacts on life in Britain. The project’s historical narrative is also interwoven with conceptual analysis. I use moving images as archives, proposing that films help us access the past by releasing stored time and space onscreen. In exploring the connections between the two technologies and everyday life, the thesis also addresses transformations of public and private space, gender and work, domesticity, tourism, and British industry. My research is articulated through a series of case studies incorporating royal rail travel, ambulance carriages, passenger trains, and railway movie theatres.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available