Alloway and Southern Ayrshire FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY Robert Burns Cottage, Alloway, Ayr
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Friday, 20 March 2015

19 March 2015 - "Scottish Screen Archive"

Five members of the Society "travelled north" to the Ayrshire Family History Societies' joint meeting hosted by Largs FHS.  We were given a fascinating glimpse into some of the films held by the Scottish Screen Archive followed by a lovely supper provided by Largs and a chance to hear about the activities of the other Societies and chat with members.

The Scottish Screen Archive is a film and video collection of more than 100 years of Scotland's history.  The Archive was set up in 1976 and has been part of the National Library of Scotland since 2007.  It preserves more than 48,000 items, mostly non-fiction, including: documentaries, amateur and home movies, industry and agriculture films and much more.

The film show began with a selection of general Scottish films dating from very early days of silent films, through the thirties and on to films of more local interest such as those of Clyde Steamers and the Largs of the 30s, 50s  and 60s including one of the crowning of the Brisbane Queen.  Many of those present recognised the buildings and streets of former years and all were enthusiastic to see reminders of past days.  Seaside scenes of holidaying children and families were especially appealing, but one old film of Glasgow children having a "day in the country", originally silent, had sounds added in the studio at a later date and everyone appreciated the efforts those in the studio made to imitate the sounds of chickens, cows and dogs...   Perhaps even more amusing were the advertisements from the 60s which including the family dancing into the kitchen to eat their morning porridge - this can be seen by all on their website at   The tremendous amount of work which has gone into restoring some of the material was illustrated by "before" and "after" shots of the Queen Mary setting out down the Clyde for Southampton after fitting out which was amateur footage shot with very early Kodak colour film.

We were all left with the feeling that this is a tremendous resource for all interested in Family History and the Archive is due to have a new home in 2016 which will make it more accessible.  In the meantime, the website at is a rich source of information. 

Pat Weston

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