Author Archives: Emma Heslewood

About Emma Heslewood

I am a historian and museum curator with broad interests including early topical films, social and industrial history, numismatics, archaeology and WW1. I am an expert on the life and work of the Victorian acrobat and topical film maker - Will Onda.

Discover Will Onda in Discover Preston

Discover Preston is the new history gallery at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery. The first floor gallery contains over 30 displays, each feature a different story from Preston’s history and has welcomed over 70,000 visitors since opening in July … Continue reading

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Talk at Preston Historical Society – December

On Monday 3rd December at Lune Street Methodist Church I will be giving my first public lecture on Will Onda. After over 4 years of digging in archives and reading old newspapers with the help of Peter Vickers, I will … Continue reading

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Will Onda’s films to feature in new DVD released for Preston Guild

On Tuesday 13th March at 7.30pm a new film about Preston will premier at Preston’s Charter Theatre. The Film titled ‘Preston and its Guilds 1902 – 1992 is a collaboration between North West Film Archive and the Harris Museum & … Continue reading

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Did your mother or grandmother work for Will Onda in 1915?

Will Onda set up Preston Film Service in about 1910. By 1915 it employed some 80 people in film making and distribution. The outbreak of World War in 1914 resulted in 40 of his employees joining the army, including his … Continue reading

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Will Onda pictured at the 1922 Preston Guild!

The countdown to Christmas has begun but in Preston it is also countdown to the 2012 Preston Guild. The first recorded Guild celebration was in 1397 but it has been held every 20 years since 1542 – apart from a … Continue reading

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Visit to Manchester

Visited Manchester last week for the Social History Curators Conference and I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of the Palace Theatre on Oxford Road as I strolled past. The Brothers Onda performed at the Palace Theatre in 1899, 1900 and … Continue reading

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Three men in a car!

See Pete Vickers blog for the latest on that photograph of William Gillin, Will Onda and James Atroy. http://jazzpete1938.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/a-link-between-will-onda-and-w-e-gillin/

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Entertainment and Public Service – Onda in the 1920s

The 1920s are turning out to have been quite a busy decade for Onda both personally and professionally – but one that had ups as well as downs. By the time Onda turned 50 in 1929 he had he become … Continue reading

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Onda employs Matt Raymond in 1901!

Amazing discovery yesterday which connected Onda to the film pioneer Matt Raymond. A document with the Rain family confirmed that Onda was the organiser of a variety show in 1901 that included a cinematograph. When I double checked the listings … Continue reading

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Special screening of Will Onda’s film ‘Preston’s Outrage’ this tuesday!

The Harris is holding an special event on tuesday to celebrate International Women’s Day. Titled ‘Votes for Women’ museum curator Laura Briggs will discuss the suffragettes in Preston and show Onda’s film of the infamous damage caused to the Earl … Continue reading

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