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Northern Capital (clip)

Amateur documentary about 1930s Edinburgh

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Made by a pioneering woman filmmaker Jean L. Gray this film shows fascinating scenes from Edinburgh in the late 1930s, including some lovely, well thought-out shots. Gives a visual insight into the "feel" and pace of life in that era.

Questions & Activities


  • How many different types of people can you see?
  • How many different kinds of shops can you see?
  • What is the difference between these and modern shops?
  • What can you tell about people and transport in 1930's Edinburgh?
  • How has the Royal Mile changed since the 1930s?


Geography / Social Studies / Tourism: The Royal Mile today is a very different place from 8 decades ago. Research and debate the impact of tourism on Edinburgh and the pattern of town planning and city zoning.

Art and Design / English / Music / Media Studies / Computer Studies: For the most part this clip shows little camera movement and makes little obvious connection between one shot and the next, so that it appears more like a slide show than a film. Re-edit this in Moviemaker or iMovie to make it tell a clearer story, or write a narration appropriate to the images. You could also export images from some stills from films using Moviemaker and then create your own photo collage.

French / Modern Languages / Media Studies / Tourism / Computer Studies: Write an appropriate voice over to describe Edinburgh to a French audience in the 1930s. You might also want to make a more modern tourist film using other footage about Edinburgh to be found in the Scotland on Screen collection.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-347-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 3981
Date 1937
Genre Documentary, Amateur
School Subject Geography, Social Studies, Art and Design, English, Music, French, Modern Languages, Computing Science, Media Studies
Subject Matter Tourism
Who Jean L. Gray (Filmmaker)
Where Edinburgh
Event City life
Attributes Black and White, Silent
Clip Length 2:12
Film Length 13:37