Lottery funding to be invested into a three-year project exploring archive film in the outer boroughs of London.

Film London, through the London’s Screen Archives (LSA) network, has received a grant of almost $800,000 (£500,000) from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The money will be ploughed into London: A Bigger Picture, a three-year project starting in January 2014 that will give people in 15 of London’s outer boroughs the chance to see and learn about historic film of their area and encourage them to share their own home movies of the region’s past.

The project will attempt to fill gaps in collections of archive footage of communities to create a ‘bigger picture’ of London life.

Itt will re-create a travelling outdoor cinema of the 1930s, the ‘KinoVan’, which will tour shopping areas, festivals and schools to screen local footage and offer expert assessment of residents’ home movies.

Screenings in local venues will also introduce residents to footage that exists in the borough collections.

Film London said it expects to benefit more than 65,000 people, with thousands more engaging online. The project will focus specifically on reaching groups who would not typically watch heritage film and those whose stories are not well represented in London’s current moving image collections.

Sue Bowers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for London, said: “This groundbreaking project will explore London’s history through the medium of film over the past 50 years.

“Aiming to open up a visual window onto a world gone by through the discovery of public information films, home movies, and newsreel the project will engage people of all ages across the capital to get involved and help bring alive this fascinating aspect of our history.”

Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “London is as unique as it is varied, and this project will work to ensure the richness and diversity of this great city is properly documented through film, across the whole of the capital. In addition we want to engage as many Londoners as possible with archive film of their city, giving them insight and ownership of their moving image history.”

Other elements of ‘London: A Bigger Picture’ include the ‘Make Your Own Screen Heritage’ project which will see young people seeking out hidden films in their communities and using them to make their own films reflecting on their local area, which in turn will become a future archive film.

Newly digitised films and videos will be screened online, and the public will be invited to add information to the film’s catalogue records, enhancing the value of the films for future viewers.

In addition, volunteers will receive training to assist in various strands of the project, and borough archivists and new entrants to the sector will be trained in archive film skills from identifying film formats to cataloguing, screening presentation and building communities online.

All activities will encourage local communities to collect and donate ‘home movies’ to their borough collection in order to build a more comprehensive archive, preserving records of London’s past for current and future audiences. All donated material will be digitised, and the donors will receive a DVD copy of their contribution.

The 13 borough archives that will be project partners include:

  • Barking and Dagenham
  • Bexley
  • Brent
  • Bromley
  • Croydon
  • Enfield
  • Haringey
  • Havering
  • Hilllingdon
  • Hounslow
  • Merton
  • Redbridge
  • Sutton.

Two others – Harrow and Richmond – will be associate partners.

Digitised films and videos can be viewed on the London’s Screen Archives YouTube channel: