Old films and photos will come to life again

Chris Ellis with an important Spalding find - 1920's film of fishing, boating and bathing.
Chris Ellis with an important Spalding find - 1920's film of fishing, boating and bathing.
Have your say

The Past Lives Project is still looking for your home movies, photographs and memories of the South Holland and Boston area.

The group is after any subject matter such as celebrations, fetes and family outings and occasions.

And the gathered material will be edited into a special film to be premiered at Spalding’s South Holland Centre on April 30.

As an added bonus for those who lend their home movies, they will be digitised free of charge and you will receive your films back, usually on the same day, plus a DVD for your own use.

Under the guidance of musicians Dave Sturt, Theo Travis and Chris Ellis, open days have already been held at Ayscoughfee Museum in Spalding and The Reading Rooms in Holbeach.

The trio are delighted how things have progressed so far and say one film is the best they have had in the two years they have been carrying out these projects in the Midlands.

There is much footage of Spalding in the 1920s and 30s on 16mm film, which was very expensive in the day and of a superior quality.

It includes fishing, boating, bathing and ice skating in Spalding.

The Past Lives Project is an arts and heritage programme which has been touring eight regions in the Midlands between 2014 and 2016.

The project is funded by Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund.

In each region they are calling out for local amateur cine film, digitising this to make new films that share social history and speak of everyday past lives.

The team has also been working with the University Academy Holbeach to develop a live music soundtrack to be played along with the film.

And the project is a win/win for those donating films. If you have old cine films in the attic it won’t be long before it will be impossible to watch them ever again.

The film deteriorates unless stored in appropriate conditions – and in any case, very few people have projectors now – so all those family memories of days at the seaside, weddings and real people doing everyday things will be gone forever.

Then there are the old photographs, so often simply thrown out when a house is being cleared, and reminiscences of what life was like in this area in days-gone-by.

The film will contain random clips of people’s material and photographs, as well as the voices of people reminiscing, and Chris admits the concept seemed an odd one when he was invited to take part.

However, a film has previously been made, using footage kept at the Media Archive for Central England, which is based at Lincoln University.

He says: “The idea of home movies conjures up images of endless paddling pools and weddings, but I was absolutely blown away by it. It was so evocative.”

Dave agrees: “The response we have had is people are laughing or in tears because it is so emotive.”

Although there are unlikely to be any more open days, the group will be making talks to various groups in south Lincolnshire over the coming weeks and there is still plenty of time to donate your films and photographs.

Get involved by calling 07890 211524 or emailing pastlivesproject.com

For more information you can visit the website www.pastlivesproject.com