Reel Delight for Leicester University Film Team
Forgotten memories caught on camera could soon be rediscovered under a lottery-funded project. The Media Archive for Central England (MACE), based at the University of Leicester, has been awarded £440,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project called Full Circle.
MACE will use the funding to support region-wide local history societies and other organisations to help them in uncovering film and presenting it to the public.
James Patterson, director of MACE, and leading the Full Circle project, said organisers were interested in collecting everything from dusty reels found in the attic to home videos of the local village fete.
He said: “The aim is to help communities and groups encourage people to see the historical value of film and to see what they can find. We’ve got about 115 years of film production in this country so it is some of the most important records we’ve got of life in the 20th century. We want to help people understand it and describe it and make copies of it for posterity.”
Once footage is found, MACE will process the films to make them accessible, and then give them back to be used for film screenings, events and as a resource for local museums.
Mr Patterson said examples of film already in the archive included a procession in Leicester for the coronation in 1953 and the Leicester yeomanry practising in 1938 before they were sent off to war. Others include families seeing off their children outside the railway station in Belgrave Road, which is now Sainsbury’s supermarket, as they head off for a holiday in Mablethorpe in 1919.
Mr Patterson said: “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has supported this exciting project. Since the invention of film in 1895, the medium has developed into the most important means of communication and film archives provide a unique record of history.”