Fire in a building, mid 19th century.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Magic lantern slide of a fire raging out of control in a shop next door to a tailor's. People are being rescued from an upstairs window by the fire brigade using a long ladder. A large crowd of people has gathered in the street to watch events unfold. Magic lantern shows began towards the end of the 17th century but only became more widespread and popular in the 19th century with the improvement in lamp sources. The shows could range from simple didactic presentations (a favourite topic was the demon drink) to sophisticated shows using double or triple lanterns to produce moving and disolving images on the screen and, in the case of Phantasmagoria, an eerie, magical experience.