MACE’s Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Vinegar Syndrome’ Project Begins


Our  project to save a collection of film suffering from the early stages of acetate film decay known as “vinegar syndrome” has begun. The name derives from the smell of the acetic acid emitted from the decaying film which, in its advanced stages becomes completely destroyed.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery, the project will sort through a collection of film made by the Wolverhampton based production company called Warners. They specialised in making promotional and information films for a wide variety of clients in the public and private sector during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

An advanced case of vinegar syndrome in acetate film © Screen Sound Australia

An advanced case of vinegar syndrome in acetate film
© Screen Sound Australia

To deliver the project MACE is delighted to welcome great new colleagues to work through and identify the best material from which to recreate digital copies of the film.

Sue Winn is taking on the twin part time roles of project curator and film technician. Sue has working experience in the past with the National Film and Television Archive at the BFI as well as in the commercial laboratory sector and at the British Universities Film and Video Council.

She is joined by Joanna White who will be working to recreate the films digitally. Joanna has a film making background with experience of archives too. She is additionally undertaking an MA at the University of Lincoln.

In the New Year we will be working with the Wolverhampton Archives to recruit volunteers to research the company and the films. Completed restored digital versions of the films in the collection will be held in the Wolverhampton Archives where a small exhibition will describe the project and the collection.

We will be regularly blogging about progress with the project which is due to run until the end of March 2015.

James Patterson, Director (MACE)