Flickering Film Of Victoria To Be Restored Thanks To Lottery Cash

By David Prudames | 22 June 2004
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Shows a black and white film still, depicting Queen Victoria sat in a carriage and holding a dog. The carriage is surrounded by people wearing hats.

Photo: Scenes At Balmoral, 1896. © Scottish Screen Archive.

A reel of scratchy black and white film showing Queen Victoria in 1896 is to be digitally restored and made available to the public thanks to a £696,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Believed to be the first film ever shot in Scotland, the flickering images show the elderly queen at Balmoral, the Royal Family's much-loved estate in the Highlands.

The original film, over 100 years old, was rescued and preserved by theNational Film and Television Archive in London 50 years ago. The copymade then from the deteriorating nitrate original is very jerky andflickery, which makes it difficult to present on a large screen.

New digital restoration techniques mean the Scottish Screen Archive will be ableto stabilise the juddering image and eliminate scratches so the filmcan be enjoyed on the big screen once more.

Shows a black and white film still, which depicts two men in the process of welding the hull of a ship.

Photo: Seawards the Great Ships, 1960. © Scottish Screen Archive.

"We are absolutely delighted with this lottery award," said Janet McBain, Scottish Screen Archive Curator, "which is a great vote of confidence in what the Archive has achieved so far, in Scottish Screen for its custodial role of our national collection and in the potential for us to enhance our service to the people of Scotland."

Established in 1976, the Scottish Screen Archive is a publicly-funded organisation charged with locating, preserving and providing access to moving images that reflect Scotland’s culture and history in the 20th and 21st centuries.

It also collects a wide range of written and photographic materials relating to the development of cinema and film production in Scotland over the past 100 years.

Shows a black and white film still, in which a man is perched on top of a Morris Minor car, filming a view across an open landscape.

Photo: David Low, cameraman, filming Beyond The Grampians in 1963. © Scottish Screen Archive.

Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund grant, around 400 hours of fragile film capturing diverse and unique aspects of Scottish heritage will be copied over a three year period.

As well as technical films of Clydebank shipbuilding, the project will transform footage of the famous 1960 football European Cup final at Hampden Park, when Real Madrid beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3.

The film will be transferred onto videotape so copies can be produced for the media, museum sector and the general public.

The idea is to double the current level of access to Scottish historical film, which will soon be available through the archive’s online catalogue and at local libraries.

Shows a black and white film still, which depicts a group of women dressed in hats and coats and standing outside a line of buildings.

Photo: Lochgelly OAP's Outing to Crook O'Devon, 1928. © Scottish Screen Archive.

This is the second such grant made to Scottish Screen by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which awarded the organisation £377,000 in 1998 to appraise and catalogue 13,000 cans of film material deposited with the Archive.

"There is a huge appetite for historical footage at the moment," explained Colin McLean, Heritage Lottery Fund Manager for Scotland.

"It allows us to glimpse our ancestors going about their daily lives, to learn about what was important to them and the influences that shaped Scotland into what it is today."

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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