27 Nov

Venturing into the mystical art of Archiving

Archie Berry, Archive

To anyone about to read this, can I suggest that you would have a much better time pursuing Jack Higgins or Christopher Brookmyre novels.

This is one man’s tale of venturing into the mystical art of Archiving. My journey began by responding to an advert in the Campbeltown Courier, placed by none other than Mr Robin Patel, who (in hindsight) grossly misrepresented the role of volunteer archivist as one of excitement and thrills whilst benefitting the local community.

My role, should I choose to accept it, was to investigate the open mindedness of the Toon Folk in relation to film showing and whether during the cinemas history over- zealous censorship had been brought to bear as may have been the case within similar Highland/Island communities in Bonnie Scotland. This venture led me to Google from where I found lists of the more dubious films that may have given rise to censorship from small minded persons, armed with my list I then descended upon our local library (Aqualibrium) and began delving into historical records from the Campbeltown Courier via a micro-fiche viewer ( early electronic data storage technique) a piece of equipment not unfamiliar to me from my younger days. Great news for the Toon Folk, broad minded acceptance of the big screen was evident – phew! The search didn’t reveal controversial results but it was extremely interesting in both resurrecting old memories of favourite movies and in seeing just how much progress we have made in such a short space of time. Women can now vote, colour television, and drink lager mmmmmmm!

My next venture was to, I should add at this point that I was not alone on this journey into the unknown. A small team was formed which collaborated on a number of activities including the creation of a digital archive to ensure the history of the Cinema for our current and future generations to ignore. In addition we all went off and explored areas which were of more personal interest – Robin encouraged this to ensure that the project stayed relevant for each of us.

Anyway where was I, oh yes back to my next venture which was to try and add an up to date flavour to an early collection of local photographs taken from a tourism brochure from 1907 – early form of marketing from the wee toon  – impressive. I took 17 photographs of the sites as they are now, trying to match the angle and scope as much as todays equipment and changed landscape would allow. This I enjoyed as it permitted this “incomer” to familiarise himself with Campbeltown in a way that may otherwise have taken years to achieve. During this process I was fortunate enough to receive help from a number of locals in and around the town. If any of you read this, thanks again.

All joking aside I am glad to have responded to Robin’s ad. Helping to preserve some of Campbeltown’s history was a privilege for this incomer, permitted me to meet some very lovely and helpful people who I would most likely never have met otherwise, indulge my passion for photography and allowed the time to revisit old memories.

Thanks for your attention, Archie.


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