Window into the Past - Brighton Beach, 1896

I\'ve been poking round YouTube yesterday and for no particular reason, I searched \'old film\' and turned up this glimpse into the life of ordinary people in late C19 England.

The footage shows average people doing a variety of everyday activities as they stroll along Brighton Beach in 1896.

The myriad of separate impressions registering in my brain provoked questions about these folk, and imaginings about their lives.

A young woman on the left in a white blouse trying to control the extraordinary floral construction of her late Victorian hat. Is it a windy day?

Office workers, in suits with bowler hats in hand, walking self-consciously towards and past the camera.

Two middle-aged women arm-in-arm slowly ambling along, probably happily gossiping. Long black dresses sweeping the sand.

Small children digging animatedly in the sand, again on the left.

A working-class man bending over to gently and caringly take the hand of a tiny son.

Periodic parasols, unfurled. Is it a sunny day?

A man in a white jacket with a white suitcase who has been chatting to a group of women and then walks away down the beach. Has he been trying to sell them something? Wonder what? Some artificial flowers? A wooden toy for a child? Did he mange a sale?

And, at the end, two smiling pre-teenage girls flitting across the foreground, quite close-up.

I\'d love to be able to hop into my trusty old imaginary tardis and be on Brighton Beach way back when, as much as anything to see if my fanciful imaginings had any match in reality!

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