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Scotland’s film archive receives lottery grant

Scratchy black and white film showing Queen Victoria at Balmoral in 1896, is just one of the Scottish Screen Archive gems that will be restored and made available to the public thanks to a grant of £696,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
‘Scenes at Balmoral’ is thought to be the first film ever shot in Scotland and is at risk of being lost.
The Scottish Screen Archive is of enormous importance in documenting the social, cultural and industrial history of Scotland in the 20th century. The films show diverse and unique aspects of Scottish heritage including life in St Kilda before evacuation, technical films of Clydebank shipbuilding and sporting highlights such as the 1960 European Cup final at Hampden.
In total, around 400 hours of fragile film will be restored during this three year HLF- backed project.
The latest digital restoration software will be used before the films are transferred onto videotape so that copies can be produced for people in the media, the museum sector and the general public, doubling the current level of access to Scottish historical film. The films will be available through an online catalogue and at local libraries.
Commenting from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Colin McLean, Manager for Scotland, said: "There is a huge appetite for historical footage at the moment as seen in the popularity of the BBC Scotland series ‘Scotland on Film’. 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.
The Heritage Lottery Fund is committed to opening up heritage for all to enjoy but our resources are not limitless. This exciting project has demonstrated excellence in the relevance and importance of the archive and the additional access and educational benefits it will bring. We are delighted to give it our support."
Commenting from Scottish Screen, Archive Curator Janet McBain said: "We are absolutlely delighted with this lottery award – our second from the Heritage Lottery Fund – 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."
The Heritage Lottery Fund celebrates its 10th birthday later this year has to date committed £18 million to 98 manuscript and archive collections in Scotland. Projects have included The Kist of Riches to conserve digitise, catalogue and create on-line access worldwide, to 12,000 hours of preeminent sound recordings in both Gaelic and Scots, the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue and Newsplan, an archive of local newspapers. The Heritage Lottery Fund initially awarded Scottish Screen a grant of £377,000 in May 1998 to appraise and catalogue 13,000 can of film material deposited with the Archive.
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