Have you ever wondered what your hometown looked like fifty, or a hundred years ago? What possibly entertained your grandparents back in the days before Facebook, game consoles or TV? Or even pondered how Edwardians really liked to party? Well, for anyone who has curiously contemplated how life, places, fashions looked liked in our local community in times gone by, there is a new and refreshingly straightforward way to get a glimpse of how things really were in the East Anglia of the past.
ArchiveAlive.org is the fantastic new website created by Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) to ensure the region’s heritage will be shared with future generations for years to come. The site has combined the collections of the East Anglian Film Archive (EAFA) and Pôle Image Haute-Normandie archive in Rouen, France to provide hundreds of digitised copies of films shot all around the regions between 1895 and 1982 and offers a rare opportunity to take a good look at each regions’ rich and colourful heritage. Whether you’re a fan of the odd Royal visit, love the nostalgic charm of old home movies, or just fancy checking out a historic ‘Street View’ of your hometown, Archive Alive has something to suit everyone! Witness how local people came together to celebrate their community: from the recreation of Elizabeth I’s visit to Bury in 1578, where apparently the whole town turned out in elaborate historical dress to shoot; to footage of the first contenders of the highly anticipated ‘knobbly knees’ competition 1939 of Butlins, Clacton - there are all sorts of forgotten treasures to discover and marvel at. The project was launched in October last year and has already attracted a lot of attention not only from East Anglian audiences but is impressing people all across the country. Norwich HEART want to spread the word even further, and are taking their digital heritage project on the road. By joining forces with the Vintage Mobile Cinema, Archive Alive will be touring all across East Anglia and northern France over the summer months. In the wake of such hugely successful TV shows like Downton Abbey, Who Do You Think You Are? and the Village, Archive Alive has arrived just in the nick of time to remedy the recent explosion of interest in the nation’s history and cultural heritage, and promises to satisfy a casual curiosity or deep interest alike. The Vintage Mobile Cinema tour is set to take place between 2nd and 10th June and will be visiting Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk to screen fantastic archive footage from around our region.
Screenings are free and will be going on in a number of locations, so be sure to keep an eye out for when Archive Alive is hitting your area. In the meantime, however, be sure to check out ArchiveAlive.org – who knows what you might stumble upon!