The Reporter
No 490, 19 May 2003
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New research centre honours father of film


The French engineer who filmed – in Leeds – the world’s first ever moving pictures is to be honoured by a new University research centre of cinema, photography and television.

Louis Le PrinceMany believe Louis Le Prince (pictured right) to be the father of cinema, as his film of wagons and pedestrians crossing Leeds Bridge was taken in 1888, seven years before the Lumière brothers showed theirs in Lyon. But Le Prince was never able to capitalise on his achievement, as he disappeared shortly afterwards in mysterious circumstances in France. He caught a train in Dijon after visiting his brother, and was never seen again, nor was his body found.

However, his memory is to be honoured at the University, just a short distance from the workshop on Woodhouse Lane where he built his early cameras. The Louis Le Prince centre for cinema, photography and television will bring together Leeds researchers with experts from other universities, museums and institutes across the region. The centre will support research into anything and everything to do with cinema, photography and television, from history, music, production and interpretation to science and sociology.

Dr Graham RobertsCentre director, Dr Graham Roberts, pictured left at the very spot Le Prince's film was taken, said: “Both cinema and television are collaborative arts – only possible if you work as a team. Too often, university research in the field is a solitary affair. We want the Louis Le Prince centre to change that and act as a catalyst for collaborations across the region. Yorkshire has both an historic and current connection with film and photography, from the days of Le Prince to the vibrant film festivals in Leeds and Bradford, and of course the National Museum.”

Le Prince’s moving pictures can be seen online at

See the full press release


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