Historic footage of Wolverhampton in days gone by has been preserved for future generations thanks to the efforts of archivists - before it was lost forever.

Type=image;ImageID=7020;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Philip Leach with the reel chronicling the Queen's visit;TitleClass=strong;

Type=image;ImageID=7023;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=A clip from News Travels Fast;TitleClass=strong;

Type=image;ImageID=7022;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Film about the Queen's visit to Wolverhampton;TitleClass=strong;

Type=image;ImageID=7024;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=A still from the Royal visit to Wednesfield;TitleClass=strong;

Type=image;ImageID=7025;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Charting the wedding;TitleClass=strong;

Type=image;ImageID=7028;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=A clip showing modernisation of a factory;TitleClass=strong;

Type=image;ImageID=7026;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=A clip from the late 1950s animated credit sequence;TitleClass=strong;

They have been working hard to restore and digitise black and white and colour footage shot by Wolverhampton based production company Warners, which specialised in making promotional and information films during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

The collection includes footage of the Queen's visit to Wolverhampton in May 1962, a 1961 Black Country travelogue, military parade by the South Staffordshire Regiment from 1962, promotional film for the West Midlands band Kansas Hook shot in 1970, and various profiles of local retailers and industries, such as News Travels Fast, a day in the life of the Express & Star newspaper filmed in 1960.

The project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, was carried out by Wolverhampton City Archives and the Media Archive for Central England at the University of Lincoln.

The original footage was held by Wolverhampton City Archives in a wide variety of formats, including old reel to reel films.

The organisations have been working together to digitise and reconstruct more than 50 films, which have now gone on display in a special exhibition, Rescuing Warners, at Wolverhampton City Archives. Volunteers from the archives have also been researching the backgrounds of some of the people and companies featured in the collection.

Councillor John Reynolds, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: "This is an exciting piece of work and I'm delighted that the efforts of our archivists, volunteers and the experts from the Media Archive for Central England have helped preserve a hugely important piece of Wolverhampton's history.

"These films are now on display at Wolverhampton City Archives, and I'd encourage anyone with an interest in our city's proud history - or who may think that they, or any family members, may be featured in one of the films - to come along and take a trip down memory lane."

James Patterson, Director of MACE, said: "We are delighted to have been able to rescue this collection which forms an interesting and important part of the cultural heritage of the city. We look forward to further collaborations in the future."

Founded by Matthew Richard Warner as a chemist, Warners was based in Chapel Ash from at least 1901, and by 1915 also had a branch on Stafford Road.

It branched out into photographic supplies in the 1920s, and by 1955 M R Warner & Son Ltd was advertising itself as a photographic, cine and visual aid specialist. It was the official photographer for the council in 1960.

In the 1960s it also operated a large department for commercial photography, producing promotional films for local industries, and still had a presence in Chapel Ash into the 1980s. The films were presented to Wolverhampton archives by representatives of Warners in 1992.

Rescuing Warners will be on display at Wolverhampton City Archives, Molineux Hotel Building, Whitmore Hill, until Wednesday 5 August 2015. Wolverhampton City Archives is open Tuesdays from 10am to 4pm, Wednesdays from 10am to7pm and Thursdays from 10am to 4pm and admission is free. For further details, please call 01902 552480.

Though all of the collection is available to see at Wolverhampton City Archives, selected films can also be found at Type=links;Linkid=6170;Title=MACE Archive;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Friday 12¬†June, 2015