Roundhay Garden Scene

Roundhay Garden Scene is a very brief silent motion picture filmed on 14 October 1888 and believed to be the oldest surviving film in existence.[1] French inventor Louis Le Prince photographed the scene, which is set at Oakwood Grange in Roundhay, Leeds in the north of England. The camera used was patented in the United Kingdom on 16 November 1888.[2] The scene belongs to the genre of actuality film that shows real persons, places, and events, but does not tell a story, either factual or fictional.

Roundhay Garden Scene
Directed byLouis Le Prince
Release date
14 October 1888; 133 years ago (1888-10-14)
Running time
1.66 seconds
CountryUnited Kingdom


According to Le Prince's son, Adolphe, the film was made at Oakwood Grange, the home of Joseph and Sarah Whitley, in Roundhay, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, on 14 October 1888.[3] The footage features Louis's son Adolphe Le Prince, his mother-in-law Sarah Whitley (née Robinson, 1816–1888), his father-in-law Joseph Whitley (1817–1891) and Annie Hartley in the garden of Oakwood Grange, leisurely walking around the garden of the premises. Sarah is seen walking – or dancing – backward as she turns around, and Joseph's coattails are seen flying as he also is turning. Joseph and Sarah Whitley were the parents of Le Prince's wife, Elizabeth. Annie Hartley is believed to be a friend of Le Prince and his wife. Sarah Whitley died ten days after the scene was filmed.[4] Oakwood Grange was demolished in 1972 and was replaced with modern housing; the only remains of it are the garden walls at the end of Oakwood Grange Lane. The adjacent stately home, Oakwood Hall, still remains as a nursing home.[5]

Oakwood Hall, the site of the Roundhay Garden Scene


The original sequence was recorded on Eastman Kodak paper base photographic film using Louis Le Prince's single-lens camera. In the 1930s, the National Science Museum (NSM) in London produced a photographic glass plate copy of 20 surviving frames from the original negative,[6] before it was lost. The copied frames were later mastered to 35 mm film. Adolphe Le Prince stated that the Roundhay Garden sequence was shot at 12 fps (frames per second) and a second film, Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge, at 20 fps; however, this is not borne out[colloquialism?] by analysis of the sequences, which suggests a frame rate of 7 fps for both, which was the speed of reproduction used in the 2015 documentary about Le Prince, The First Film.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Smith, Ian (10 January 2016). ""Roundhay Garden Scene" recorded in 1888, is believed to be the oldest surviving film in existence". The Vintage News. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  2. ^ "First surviving film". Guinness Word Records. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  3. ^ Youngs, Ian (23 June 2015). "Louis Le Prince, who shot the world's first film in Leeds". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Monumental Inscriptions at St. John's Church, Roundhay, Leeds". Archived from the original on 31 May 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Roundhay Cottage – the scene of the first-ever moving pictures". Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Glass copy negative of Roundhay Garden Scene by Louis Le Prince | Science Museum Group Collection". Retrieved 16 April 2020.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 53°49′31.72″N 1°29′47.86″W / 53.8254778°N 1.4966278°W / 53.8254778; -1.4966278 (General location of Oakwood Grange and the Roundhay Garden Scene)