Magic Lantern Slide

Another little piece of Blantyre nostalgia I acquired by auction is this fantastic Magic Lantern Slide. Dating from the late 1890’s, it’s in great condition and marked slide 2. (Which begs the question what were all the other slides?!)

The glass slide, around 80mm square, was larger than I expected when I purchased it on eBay. It had obviously been carefully looked after and the sender packaged it well, but I didn’t get any history with it. The slide shows Shuttle Row, the birthplace of explorer David Livingstone and is in full colour. I can date the lantern slide to being after 1897, as Queen Victoria’s Jubilee plaque is on the gable of the building, so it must be from late 1890’s into the first decade of the 20th Century.

These slide shows formed an important part of entertainment in that era attracting large audiences to local halls to learn about history, or see contemporary views, sometimes of things outwith their reach or of far off places. There were limelight, (magic lantern) shows for adults as well as children alike, most being of educational nature.

For now, this is packaged up and added to my growing collection of Blantyre memorabilia, perhaps destined for some museum of other in due course.

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