As usual, our December meeting ended with a generous buffet provided by the members of the Society. However, this was preceded by a quite fascinating Victorian Magic Lantern Show expertly given by Amanda Tuck. She has had an almost lifelong interest and fascination with Victorian magic lanterns and the glass slides used with them. She has now built up a large collection of superb quality slides, both monochrome and coloured. She pointed out that in the “olden days” the light sources were often from an oxy/hydrogen heated lime source, giving an exceptionally bright white light source (hence limelight). Then, at least, the now obligatory fire safety warnings would have been very appropriate!
She showed numerous slide photos of scenes from the later Victorian era, especially London, and it was intriguing to compare and contrast the scenes from the 1890s of iconic places such as Piccadilly Circus and London Bridge with the present day. In keeping with the festive season, however, Amanda also showed very entertaining sequences of pantomime slides of Peter Pan, including cleverly simulated motion effects.
Somewhat more sombrely, she showed a series of slide scenes of the London Zoo in the 1890s, showing exceedingly sad looking lions, tigers, bears and elephants, amongst others. We were also treated to a slide series on London fires, again with cleverly simulated movement effects. This reminded us of how crude the fire and rescue facilities were scarcely 100 years ago.
Again, in keeping with the festive season, she showed some slides of carol singers with the words, for which audience participation was urged.
After this very enjoyable show we were all ready to enjoy the buffet!