The UK Film Council is appealing to the nation to join a treasure hunt for rare film to improve the national archive, as part of its Strategy for UK Screen Heritage.
Working with the nine Regional Screen Agencies across England, the UK Film Council has launched the Survey of Moving Image Collections held in the Regions, with the aim of creating an England-wide archive of moving image collections of cultural, artistic and historical significance not yet recorded.
Tim Cagney, Head of UK Partnerships at the UK Film Council, says: “Film brings the nation’s history of culture and society alive like no other medium can, and over recent years we’ve seen a real increase in the public appetite for archives of film from the last century. We want to find out what’s out there so that we can find ways for the public to enjoy greater access to these collections, regardless of where they live, and at the same time enable the long term preservation of these rare gems.”
The Strategy for UK Screen Heritage works to increase access to national and regional moving image heritage, and support the organisations that create this access. This survey will gather information about the type of moving image collections that exist across England, where and how they are being stored and used, and whether there are any barriers, such as equipment or facilities, that may be preventing the owners from enjoying the collections.
Rare material unearthed in the past includes 800 rolls of early nitrate film by Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon, discovered by historian Peter Worden in a derelict shop basement in Blackburn in 2002. The Mitchell and Kenyon collection gives an unparalleled visual record of late Victorian and early Edwardian British life, and was restored by the British Film Institute after lying unseen for 80 years.
The Survey of Moving Image Collections held in the Regions can be found at www.shcsurvey.org.uk