MACE (Media Archive for Central England), CAHG (Community Archive Heritage Group) and representatives from the Full Circle History groups joined forces last Thursday to raise awareness of archive film and its importance as a historical resource. The conference took place at Europe’s first joint university and public library at Worcester called The Hive.
Full Circle Senior Curator Kay Ogilvie said: “The conference was enriched by the 6 representatives of community history groups screening the footage they found during their search for film in their communities as part of the Heritage Lottery funded Full Circle Project. Our thanks go to John Holloway of Aston on Trent, Anita Syers-Gibson of North Herefordshire, Sarah Bradley of Belbroughton, David Clark of Fownhope, David Amos of Annesley and Bob Massey of Arnold. The films they found were a fascinating window into history and brought the past alive like no other record.”
Full Circle Film cataloguer Catherine English said: “It was great to hear from people who’ve been involved in Full Circle and the positive impact it has had on their groups which will hopefully continue beyond the lifetime of the project.”
Some comments from participants……….
“MACE, and all the other regional archives are, without doubt, an essential and positive asset to maintaining film as an important element of our regional heritage. The Full Circle project that has engaged communities to seek out their own corner of England Past has, for our village history group, raised the profile of heritage, enabled individuals to acquire new skills and brought a new dimension to community involvement. We hope this project will inspire others to build on its foundations.” John Holloway Aston on Trent History Group
“It was fascinating to hear the organisers of other groups explaining how they came to discover long-forgotten cine film collections in their communities and how they used the films for the entertainment and education of their audiences.Frank Dale used his films to entertain local audiences in village halls and pubs, and now, 60 years later, we are doing just the same – and the Full Circle is complete!” Anita Syers-Gibson, North Herefordshire History Group
“Thanks for yesterday – it was useful to get together and to see and hear how other groups had gone about gathering moving images . We dont know how typical the six of us were compared with others – it would have been good to have had a few more there. The venue was certainly impressive – made our self-help village library seem very small !” David and Margaret Clark from Fownhope
“It was interesting the different ways that people had used the old movie footage. The quality was also very good bearing in mind the age of some of the film footage. Many thanks for giving me the opportunity of giving a presentation to the Conference.” David Amos Annesley Project Officer
James Patterson, Director of MACE said: “I have never had any doubt about the potential importance of moving images in the community context or of their ability to add to our understanding of community history. What struck me about the event was the emotional impact that the material had had in the community and how in some cases an involvement with the Full Circle project has had a transformational effect in the community.
I think that the impact of the project is a testament to all the MACE colleagues who have worked on the project to make it so successful and to our community partners who have embraced film so wholeheartedly.”
Ex coalminer and now academic, Dr David Amos (BA/PGCE-FE/PhD), gave a fascinating talk on the mining heritage of Nottinghamshire on Wednesday at the D.H.Lawrence Heritage Centre, Eastwood, as part of the D.H.Lawrence Festival. David has been helping the Full Circle project to search for film in the area and has found some fascinating mining footage that he was able to incorporate into his mining heritage talk. We at MACE have transferred the original 8mm cine films onto DVD and are storing the originals in our purpose built archive for future generations to enjoy and study.
The talk accompanies the Mining Heritage Bus Tour on Sunday – the tour will visit some of the coalmining heritage sites, including Brinsley Headstocks, Underwood, Annesley, Newstead and Digby. It will introduce you to some of the high profile and sometimes controversial characters linked with the former pit sites including Arthur Lawrence (father of D.H.Lawrence), Colin Clarke, Harold Larwood, and George Spencer.
Come along for a real treat and a trip down memory lane. We will be screening this long lost footage of scenes in and around the village of Kniveton and Ashbourne in Derbyshire.
These films are from the Wright/Ratcliffe collection and date from the 1930s. Shot by Wilfred Ratcliffe, the chauffeur to Mr Wright, they cover the summers of 1935 – 1939 and are a fascinating insight into village life.
This screening is being shown as part of the U3A calendar of events. Please come along and show your support – all welcome.
This Sunday at Kniveton Village Hall we will be bringing alive old memories of Kniveton in Derbyshire and hoping to identify some of the characters featured in the film. This film collection was found by Peter Frost and was shot by his grandfather Wilfred Ratcliffe in the 1930s. Wilfred was the chauffeur to the Wright family of Kniveton.
This is a fascinating collection of 8mm cine film shot in and around Kniveton and shows scenes of old farming practices and machinery. Shot just before the war the summer was perfect for using scythes to cut hay, making haystacks and threshing. There are scenes shot in the hay meadows of workers drinking tea after a hard day’s work, the village post mistress, the village fete and Kniveton Jubilee shot in 1939. Other footage includes lively scenes of Ashbourne Shrovetide Football match and Stanley Matthews throwing the ball in the 1970s.
Last Friday I attended another fantastic screening of Cipher’s Past Lives Music to Archive film performance, this time taking place at The Public, in West Bromwich. It was a wonderful opportunity for members of the surrounding West Midlands communities to come and see some of the home-movie film gems that have been found by the Full Circle groups from across the East and West Midlands.
The Public’s Past Lives audience were treated to poetic family scenes from the 1950s to 70s, shots of Balsall Heath William Edward Street, Woodside, Dudley, The Black Country, Town Sparrows, Percy Thrower Gardens in Edgbaston, Hop Farming in Herefordshire, a trip to the East Midlands coast, kamikaze motorcycles, and much much more.
All accompanied by Cipher’s specially composed live musical score.
If you’ve not yet managed to attend a Past Lives event, then try and pop down to:
- 7 July Derby – The Quad, Market Place, Cathedral Quarter, Derby DE1 3AS (01332 290606) derbyquad.co.uk
- 8 July Cromford – Gothic Warehouse, The Arkwright Society, Cromford Mills, Mill Lane, DE4 3RQ (01629 823256) arkwrightsociety.org.uk + Workshop
- 19 July Stamford Arts Centre – 27 St. Marys Street, Stamford, PE9 2DL (01780 763 203) stamfordartscentre.com
Watch this space for a Manchester date in September too!
Photography © Lucie Kerley
The Arthur Cyril Booth Collection
Like many of the early filmmakers, Paul Booth’s father – Arthur Cyril Booth (d.1980) took up filmmaking after getting interested in photography. Arthur was the organist for the parish and also played the organ at the La Scala cinema in Ilkeston (still going strong!). Paul said: “My father was into gadgets of the times – like for example cine cameras. He filmed on mostly 9.5mm. He was a practical man who in WW1 built aeroplanes – which were made out of fabric then. After the war he became an upholsterer in Ilkeston. He owned a Brough Superior motorbike and used to go biking down to the French Riviera”.
Arthur filmed the Carnivals in Ilkeston in 1936 and 1937 and we’re really looking forward to seeing this footage. He also filmed a pilgrimage to Dale Abbey, Derbyshire and the May Procession, a Lourdes Trip made by members of the Our Lady and St Thomas RC church in Ilkeston. Other footage includes some seaside scenes at Mablethorpe, Wolverhampton Illuminations and his parents wedding. Arthur’s films will be carefully stored at the MACE film archive in temperature controlled conditions so that these original films will be preserved for posterity. As part of the Full Circle project, copies of these films will be made onto DVD for Paul and his family ad the local community to share in this heritage and enjoy past events. If you have any films you wish to preserve please contact Kay Ogilvie, senior curator Full Circle on firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s lovely to catch up with movie makers and actors from the past……..here’s a little clip from an interview with Eddie Newby (on the left) who acted in the Dracula films in the 1960s filmed around Annesley Old Church in Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. Eddie not only acted but also filmed in the area – the building of the M1 underpass at Kirkby in Ashfield, street scenes, shop facades, Whit Sunday parades and pigeon fanciers.
Eddie mentions the JayRich Group – a group made up of friends called Jack and Richard from Kirkby in Ashfield. Here’s a picture of Eddie as Dracula:
Eddie’s films are being preserved for future generations to enjoy and learn from and the original super8 cine films are being carefully stored in archival conditions at the MACE film archive. The films have now been digitally transferred onto DVD for the community and Eddie to enjoy as part of the Heritage Lottery funded project called Full Circle, which was developed by MACE.
Annesley Old Church – The 13th century Annesley Old Church is now being conserved thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund.
The funding will pay for restoration work on the site and various events and activities. The Old Church stands alongside Annesley Hall, latterley the home of the Charworths, later to be the Chaworth-Musters Family. The site has historical links not only with the family but with the poet Lord Byron and the author DH Lawrence.
Further details from the Project Officer, David Amos, on (01623) 457537 or email@example.com
Renowned musicians Dave Sturt (fretless bass/sound design), Theo Travis (flute, sax), Deirdre Benscik (cello) and Clare Bhabra (violin) play an evocative soundtrack to this fascinating collection of film from the 1930s onwards. Dave and Theo collaborated with visual artist Anthony Hatton to produce this thought provoking and engaging performance.
The films were collected as part of the MACE/Full Circle film search project funded by the Heritage Lottery. MACE would like to thank all those who deposited their films as part of this project and contributed to the rich screen heritage of the midlands.
Guest musicians Deirdre Benscik and Clare Bhabra are from the renowned Sinfonia ViVA.
Angela and David are members of one of over 70 local history groups working with the MACE Heritage lottery funded project called Full Circle. The Full Circle project helps preserve original films and make them accessible to the local community by copying them onto DVD. David and Angela first had the idea of celebrating the past May Day events when they held an exhibition last year of old photographs. James Green a local man donated his May Day films and other films to the history group, and these rare films were preserved and copied by MACE and screened at Saturday’s event.
David was a radio engineer at the BBC when Daventry was the radio transmitter base for broadcasting until it all closed down in the 1990s. In 1925 the newly created BBC constructed a broadcasting station on Borough Hill just outside the town. Daventry was chosen because it was the point of maximum contact with the land mass of England and Wales. From 1932 the BBC Empire Service (now the BBC World Service) was broadcast from there. David found some old footage of the last poignant day when the whole plant was closed down and many people at the film screening on Saturday recognised their younger selves on screen.
Many local people saw themselves up on the big screen on Saturday – ex employees of the BBC, ladies who ran in the Rugby to Daventry Ladies Run, and ex May Day queens from many years ago.
BBC Radio presenter Martin Heath provided an excellent commentary for the BBC films and footage of scenes around Daventry in the 1970s