The Magic Lantern - A Victorian Entertainment

As you'll have seen from the introductory pages and the catalogue, this collection was built up in the town of Cromer, Norfolk (that's the Norfolk in England). At the heart of the collection are 147 slides of local scenes, mainly of the town itself, but also of other scenes in the vicinity. These slides seem to have first been used about 1880, and new pictures were added by Mr Salter until he gave his last show about 1919. Now the collection both illustrates the town's history and has become a part of its history. We can only include a few of the pictures here.

[Cromer church]
Cromer church is over 50 metres tall. This slide, from about 1890, illustrates the period when it was being restored, before the chancel was rebuilt.

[Cromer jetty]
Cromer jetty, about 1880. Cromer, on an exposed coastline, has had jetties and piers from medieval times. This view looks up towards the original Hotel de Paris, on the clifftop.

All slides of this type were taken as photographs, and a negative produced. The negative would of course have been on a glass plate. An enlarger - or perhaps we should in this case say a reducer - was used to print the picture as a positive on a three and a quarter inch glass plate. This image would be in black and white. Some lanternists would then hand colour their own slides; the Cromer collection seem to have been sent to Hughes, one of the lantern supply companies, for painting. The use of a professional company did of course result in a fairly standard form of painting on such slides - and occasionally the wrong colour being used. It also ensured that all the slide had nice blue skies!
We've put some of the Cromer set in on these pages because we were asked at a recent show why we didn't have any of them in the selection of slides. We're hoping to add some more before too long.

The slide shown here is used in the show to compare with earlier picture of the same view. The jetty seen in the second picture on this pages has been replaced by another pier - which will be celebrating its 100th anniversary on June 8th 2001.

[East beach, Cromer]
This lantern slide dates from between 1901 and 1905. Mr Salter does not seem to have bothered to have coloured the slides he added to the collection at a later stage.

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