mobile nav


William Friese-Greene

Picture source

Credit for this entry to:
Alan Patient of

William Friese-Greene

Person  Male  Born 7/9/1855  Died 5/5/1921

Categories: Cinema

Photographer, inventor and pioneer of cinematography. Born Bristol as William Edward Green. Married the Swiss Helena Friese in 1874 and added her name to his. (It's not clear where the extra "e" came from.) One of the first to work (mainly in Brighton) on the idea of moving images, he lodged various patents but none of his methods worked well enough to keep him out of the bankruptcy courts nor for the world to credit him as the inventor of cinema.

Died at a cinema industry meeting in the Connaught Rooms and buried at Highgate Cemetery with a grave monument by Lutyens (unexpectedly traditionally Gothic in style), on which he is described as "the inventor of kinematography". The Gaumont Graphic newsreel (available on the British Pathe website) captured Friese-Greene’s funeral procession arriving at the cemetery, the coffin topped by a full size mock-up of a film projector pointing at a screen on which are the words, picked out in flowers, “The End”.

In 1951 a biopic, The Magic Box, directed by John Boulting, was produced for the Festival of Britain.

See other memorials in this area

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
William Friese-Greene

Information Commemorated at

Tricycle Cinema opening

The Tricycle Cinema was opened by Emma Thompson on 12th November 1998. Bringi...

Read More

William Friese-Greene

W. Friese-Greene

Read More