Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema



This site (really a blog) collects and categorises original Shakespeare-related videos on YouTube. The idea is to look beyond YouTube as a distributor of pre-existing content (whether legally or illegally) and to uncover the best of the creative work that can be found there which seems to be pointing to a different kind of filmed Shakespeare. The site ran May 2008-September 2012, and was revived for occasional updating in March 2016.

The Bioscope


My blog on the subject of early and silent cinema ran from February 2007 until August 2012. I have stopped writing for it, and all new comments have been disabled, but it remains as an archive (1,380 posts, or some 1,000,000 words). The emphasis has been on research, with news and information on publications, conferences, festivals, discoveries, publications, documents and online resources. My nom de plume was urbanora.

Charles Urban, Motion Picture Pioneer


Charles Urban was a pioneering producer of non-fiction films between 1897 and 1925, as well as the entrepreneur behind Kinemacolor, the world’s first successful natural colour motion picture system. He was also the subject of my PhD thesis.

Diving for Pearls


Just to prove that I’m not solely interested in early film, over 2006-2007 this site gathered together quotations on the theme of diving for pearls, inspired by Christopher Smart’s lines “For in my nature I quested for beauty/But God, God hath sent me to sea for pearls”. It is no longer being added to but remains online as an archive.



My Flickr site has the usual mishmash of images, with albums under such topics as Silent films, Graves, Walls and Pavements, The Book I’m Reading The Drink I’m Drinking, and the assorted places I’ve been to.

Just a Shop Girl from Brixton


An illustrated essay (beautifully designed by Victoria Saint-Claire) on the poignant story of Margaret Leahy, the Brixton milliner’s assistant who in 1921 won a competition to become a British film star and ended up acting opposite Buster Keaton in his feature film The Three Ages. It’s located in the Articles section of the Damfinos site.

The London Project


The main output of a research project (which ended in 2005) hosted by the AHRC Centre for British Film and Television Studies, investigating the film business and cinemas in London 1894-1914. The database lists most of the businesses and film venues in London before the First World War.

News on Screen


Between 2000 and 2007 I oversaw this database of (almost) all British newsreel stories 1910-1979, plus British cinemagazines (1918-1980s), with digitised production documents, links to downloadable Pathe newsreels, and lots of background texts.

The Newsroom


This is a British Library blog on its news collections – print, web, television and radio – with information on news-related research resources and thoughts on news itself, which I manage as the BL’s News Curator. The blog began December 2013.

Moving Image


This is the blog that I wrote as part of my day job at the British Library. Its subject was moving images and the British Library. It began February 2010, but all post have now transferred to the BL’s Sound and Vision blog, which I occasionally contribute to. Some posts I have also transferred across to this site, identified by their original dates of publication.



I launched this site in September 2013. It is an ongoing survey reproducing eyewitness testimony of viewing pictures, from the seventeenth century to the present day.

Screen Research


This was a social network for those researching any aspect of the moving image. It started in December 2008 and closed in January 2010. Previously a Ning network, a partially archived version that was transferred to Posterous can be found on the Internet Archive.



I launched this site in March 2017. It is an ongoing survey reproducing eyewitness testimony of seeing theatrical productions, from the sixteenth century to the present day.



I tweet from time to time as @lukemckernan and on behalf of British Library news collections as @BL_newsroom.

Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema


This biographical website is co-managed with Stephen Herbert, and is based on the book Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema which we co-edited in 1996. It describes the lives of some 300 people worldwide involved in the birth and early development of motion picture films, with a growing number of background resources. We stopped addng anything new to the site at the end of 2020, but it remains online. There are archived version on the Internet Archive and the UK Web Archive.



My YouTube site has few videos of my own, but I occasionally curate videos under such playlists as Silents and Bardbox (Shakespearean videos). The site uses the pen-name Urbanora.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *