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Borders Local Newsreels No 2

Selkirk Common Riding from 1901

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This film is one of the many Borders local newsreels that were made between 1899 and 1906 by the Border Kinematography company founded by David Gaylor in 1899. The film was made in the days before purpose built cinemas and would have been shown at the cinematograph or bioscope at the travelling shows or in a local hall / music hall.
Have a look at Early Cinema for more information on the early days of film. This film records the Selkirk / Jedburgh Common Riding from 1901 Shots of the street procession with spectators watching a brass band and riders on horseback as the Craft Standard Bearers are followed by the Burgh Standard Bearer. Several men on a raised platform perform the ceremony of "Casting the Colours" watched by large crowds. Shots of a brass band leading a parade of military or police carrying rifles, civic officials in tile hats and morning dress, some wearing sashes possibly the Masonic Order and others carrying staffs. A man in a top hat looks at the camera. Banner for Royal Burgh of Jedburgh with officials processing through the streets.

Questions & Activities


  • What is the Common Riding and why was it important?
  • How are people dressed?
  • What towns can you think of that have the common riding?
  • Why do they wave the flags / cast the colours?
  • Why is the camera in one position?


Victorians: This film is from the Victoria era - use this film in a report or project about the Victorians.

Local History: Research the history of the Common Riding either in your town or a town that once (or still) carries out this tradition. Find out what the purpose was and the significance of the casting of the colours or other ceremony held during the festival.

Media Studies / Social History: Make a film of your Common Riding festival and make a film cutting in the archive film showing how it was done in the past.

Media Studies: Compare this film to others on this website which record the Common Riding (eg. Guid Nychburris Dumfries). What are the similarities and differences?

History / Local History: Research and create a timeline of changes to your town since this film was made. Work with your families and local people to find out how the community grew to what it is today. Create a timeline for this development and create artworks , films and animations to show what life was like at key times in its history.

Social Studies / Local History / English: Work in teams to write your own narration and add your own soundscape to this film. Think carefully about how you might best establish the time and place and communicate the excitement and other emotions surrounding the event, including the build-up and aftermath.

History / Local History: Pick a date in the history of your town and research the occupations, ages and places of birth of the population and try to build a historical snapshot of the time.

History / Local History: Take a walking tour of your town and see what you can find out about its history from the style, function and age of buildings, the planning of streets and public spaces, geographical orientation, plaques, place names, beauty spots, eye-sores and any other details that spark your curiosity and imagination. Working in groups, record images with digital cameras, digital video or with sketch pads and organise a 'show and tell'. Follow this up with research on the internet, visits to local museums (if they exist) and interviews with older residents, then set about creating your own Moving Image Essay or tourist brochure to clearly explain the history of your town and the surrounding area.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-119-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 0791
Date 1901
Genre Newsreel, Local Topical
School Subject Social History, Media Studies, History, Social Studies
Subject Matter Local History, Victorians
Who Border Kinematograph Company (production company), David Gaylor (director)
Where Jedburgh, Selkirk
Event Procession, Flag, Common Riding
Attributes Black and White, Silent
Clip Length 3:36
Film Length 03:36