Support the restoration of the Dartington Film Archive

The Dartington film archive is being brought lovingly back to life by our cinema team. We need your support to fund this painstaking technical work and save this important footage for future generations.

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There are hundreds of hours of film to save, including some footage of the Exeter Blitz, plus some home movie reels from the Elmhirst family. If just 50 people sign up and donate £10 then we have secured the future for another hour of this fascinating film footage.

Thanks to donations we have already been able to restore around 28 hours out of over 350 hours of degraded archive film.

The first restored film was shared with the public in February this year, and included footage of farming on the estate alongside wonderful scenes from Foundation Day, 1969, with tug of war and maypole dancing in the gardens. The film was a sell-out and audiences were clearly moved by seeing this piece of history come back to life.

Dartington Members Carole and Alan Rolfe, went to the first screening and found it “Nostalgic, so informative and a memory jogger of simple fun days, enjoyed to the limit, serious hard physical work followed by obvious satisfaction of a job well done. Many thanks again for your efforts.” There is now a waiting list for further viewings.

The cost to restore a linear hour of film is around £500. Donations will contribute to the purchase of specialised equipment and consumable items such as film cleaner and computer hard drives.

Click here to make a donation to the restoration of the Dartington Film Archive

Take a look at some footage already restored by our team

“If we don’t restore and digitise these films, which are on 16mm and 35mm film that deteriorates with age, they will be lost forever. Saving the footage is vital for Dartington’s heritage – if a picture speaks a thousand words, then a moving image speaks one million.

Having trained with the BFI for this work and with my career in independent cinema, I understand the importance of archive film and also am passionate about giving the care and gentle handling that it needs. It also allows my team to gain experience in this niche field which is a unique opportunity.”

– Dartington Cinema Manager, Jim Whittle