Non-Theatrical Cinemas

Secrets of Nature films, like many other interwar shorts classed as ‘topical’ or ‘instructional’, were often played before the main feature film in cinema halls around the country. Whilst we know that their distribution was fairly widespread (see the interactive map), Mary Field and Percy Smith admitted that their films were often favoured in whatContinue reading “Non-Theatrical Cinemas”

Amateur Natural History Films

Natural history has long carried an association with the word “amateur”. As a kind of ‘all-rounder’ science, natural history gained a ‘mass’ following in the nineteenth century, precisely when science began to attain a “professional” status. But distinguishing between amateur and professional is often a tricky business, and both categories have shifted significantly in definitionContinue reading “Amateur Natural History Films”

A ‘Secrets’ Pioneer? Rina Scott’s early films

Histories of film, and especially nature and wildlife film, often begin by repeating a common origin story. They start, usually, with Edweard Muybridge’s chronophotography experiments from the 1870s, which recorded sequential images of a horse’s gallop. The Secrets producers, however, drew a different genealogy when speaking of the historical origins of their filmmaking practice. InContinue reading “A ‘Secrets’ Pioneer? Rina Scott’s early films”

Online Workshop: Intermediality

Along with Anin Luo and Miles Kempton, I’ve spent the past couple of months organising an online workshop which will hopefully bring together a broad church of scholars interested in the history of science and media. Although we initially thought of proposing something very open and broad, we decided in the end to focus onContinue reading “Online Workshop: Intermediality”

J. V. Durden and the Developmental Biology Film Series

Recently I have been updating some of the biographical sections on this site, and have been expanding the information on J. V. Durden, one of the key figures on the Secrets team in the 1930s, who directed many of the G.B.I. instructional films in biology. You can read the updated biographical page here, although please bear in mind that I’m constantly updating much of this information at the moment as I continue to build the site.

‘The New Learning’

Recently I’ve been doing some writing about agricultural science films, and thought it may be interesting to write a post about one of my favourite Secrets of Nature primary sources. The New Learning: An Experiment wit Educational Films in the County of Devon is the name of a pamphlet published by the Workers’ Educational AssociationContinue reading “‘The New Learning’”