Syston Archive Film Screening a Success, Leicester Community Reminisce at Local History Exhibition.

Full Circle needs your homemovies. Television image courtesy of CPRE.

Members of the public pour over Syston's Annual Local History Exhibition

On Saturday, 18th September The Syston Local History Group held their annual Local History Exhibition at The Methodist Church Centre. It was a fantastic day, with a great turn out attracting swarms of people from both the Syston community and from across Leicestershire. 


On display were The Syston Local History Group’s vast photographic collection of Syston as it was, ‘Then & Now’. Members of the public were invited to bring along their own Wedding photographs and to admire the ones on display – which dated from the early 1900’s, 1940’s and later.

Artist Mike Finney, who paints pictures of Syston exhibited a selection of his printed works and paintings.

Artist - Mike Finney

To complement the wonderful array of photos were a fabulous display of household bygones and curiosities, which members of the public could ask questions about.


Tim Garner, Chairman of Syston Local History Society was on hand to take copies of any old photographs or documents relating to Syston from members of the public who wished to add to the History Society’s collection. If you have any old film, or homemovies relating to Syston or the surrounding area, please get in touch with Tim or a member of the local history society who will be acting as a collection point for any collection found during their Full Circle film search.

Full Circle is a 3 year Heritage Lottery funded project, ran by MACE, working with the Midlands communities to preserve and make accessible its screen heritage. Local History & Community groups throughout the Midlands are on the lookout for film or homemovies created by the people of the Midlands that will give us an insight into how our communities lives have changed over the years.

The wonderful ladies on hand to offer homemade cakes and refreshments!

One of the highlights of the exhibition was the screening of some archive material from the MACE collection. Members of the public were treated to clips of Syston in the news from the 1980’s, of Syston’s female road sweeper and the opening of the Dual Carriageway in 1969.

Tim Garner chats to audience members about the Syston footage being shown.

The screening continued with footage of some Leicester Silent Films – a selection of amateur and professional films, which showed some of the older films we are able to preserve at MACE. From an advertising film of J.S. Wynn’s Leicester coffee houses to a parade to mark Leicester Pageant Week of 1932 (the week’s events culminated with the pageant itself, which included Roman legions marched across Abbey Park!). From our home movie collections we also have film of the two great national celebrations of the 1930s: the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935 and the Coronation of King George VI two years later. We will also had a look back at Hinckley’s contribution to the Coronation.

Audience members enjoy watching a selection of Leicestershire based archive film.

Following this we were able to show “Calling Blighty”. This was a series of films that brought the personal messages of servicemen posted to India and the Far East during the latter stages of the Second World War back to their loved ones in Britain. This example was filmed in Bombay in 1944 and was screened at the Evington Cinema on 1st September that year before a specially invited audience of family and friends.

and finally “Leicestershire: A Heritage at Risk”. This travelogue of the county was produced forty years ago when the effects of pollution and architectural neglect were beginning to be felt. With the twin threats of the M1 and East Midlands Airport what future did Leicestershire have? Although little did they know that we would in 2010 dream of driving along roads as quiet as the ones shown here in 1970!

For more information about The Syston Local History Group – or to buy their new book Syston Past 3 – please contact Tim Garner. Email: or call: 0116 260 9154

To learn more about how to deposit your home-movies with MACE and The Full Circle Project, please contact: Full Circle Curator: Lucie Kerley. Email: or call: 0116 252 5931

Photographs courtesy of Lucie Kerley © 2010


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