Rescuing Milton Keynes’ history on film

Milton Keynes is perhaps unique in being the only UK town or city whose development has been documented on film and video since its inception. That didn’t prevent some unique film from being consigned to a skip.

Here’s a short digital film which makes use of rare archive 35mm and 16mm film (some of it retrieved from a skip, having been deposited there by agents of local government who had been charged with clearing out storage space and who probably didn’t know what a can of celluloid film was) to reflect on life for newcomers in Milton Keynes in the 1970s and 80s. It was sponsored by Screen South / UK Film Council (now defunct) and Make A Difference (Milton Keynes). Post Production by Colin Barrett (SimplyDV); Produced by Marie Wright (Spellbound Films).

Here’s the film:

My own interest in the Milton Keynes film and video archive stems from my work as a Producer on the city’s community cable TV station – Channel 40 – which broke new ground in the latter half of the 1970s as, effectively, the YouTube of its day in that it facilitated the creation of video programming by members of the local community. With low cost portable video (the Sony 1/2″ Video Rover – or Portapak) starting to become available, coupled with frame-accurate Sony 3/4″ U-Matic videocassette editing now possible, Channel 40 proved that citizens television was possible.

Unforunately, its finite funding came to end and the project closed on 31st July 1979 – but much of its archive survives (in boxes in archive vaults in Aylesbury). The race is on to bring all the remaining film footage and video recordings into the digital domain in order that future generations might be able to see for themselves a fascinating archive depicting the birth of a new city.

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1 Response to Rescuing Milton Keynes’ history on film

  1. Pingback: 24 – Rescuing Milton Keynes' history on film | SimplyDV : Digital Video … | In and Around Milton Keynes

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