The way we were

Film found in hole in Blackburn, Lancashire.

by Jennie Kermode

Last summer the charity Child Action Northwest became one of the latest recipients of Heritage Lottery Fund money to support the development and preservation of its archives. This week the ensuing project produced unexpected rewards when old film was found hidden in the basement of a former children's home, providing a snapshot of life in the Forties.

Blackburn Orphanage, since redeveloped and now serving as a village hall, played a pivotal role in its local community in the aftermath of the Second World War. The recovered footage, which shows everyday life gradually returning to normal, is being screened locally and can now be digitally transferred for preservation in a national network of archives. The development has been welcomed by Chld Action Northwest, which recently lost a large amount of government funding and is keen to raise its profile with potential donors.

Heritage lottery funding is increasingly focused on film, with Film London receiving a £27k grant last month to help identify and preserve moving image records of London's outer boroughs. The London Screen Archives are dedicated to helping people connect with their history and have a good track record of connecting with communities not otherwise active in relation to the arts. Similar organisations across the country are increasingly working together, but the race is on to locate and transfer old film before it corrodes with the effects of age. There is also a problem with identifying the incidents represented in amateur film as those who originally recorded it die.

Share this with others on...

The turning point Wendy Makkena on Tom Hanks, Chris Cooper and Matthew Rhys in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Decisive moments Evelyn Schels on Marina Abramovic, Sigalit Landau, Shirin Neshat and Katharina Sieverding in Body Of Truth

Sense memories Robert Tinnell on Feast Of The Seven Fishes and family memories

Keeping his word Michael Apted in conversation on 63 Up

Talking about juxtapositions Thom Powers on dreams, fashion, identity, nature and bright spotlights in DOC NYC

Dedicated to DA Pennebaker Thom Powers on Martin Scorsese, Michael Apted, the Masters and Winner’s Circle in the tenth edition

More news and features

We're bringing you coverage of Tallinn Black Nights, Welsh horror spectacular Abertoir and the French Film Festival.

We've recently been at the London Korean Film Festival and DOC NYC, the Valencia Film Festival, New York's NewFest, the Cambridge Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff, and Manchester's Grimmfest.

Read our full for more.

Visit our festivals section.


More competitions coming soon.