The Stewkley Film Archive

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The Stewkley Film Archive was founded in 2008 when the collection of films shot by village filmmmaker Tony Greenslade needed a home. Tony died in 2005, just short of his 79th birthday. Over a period of 35 years he had put his cine camera to good use recording pictures and sound at a whole range of village events and activities.

When the campaign against the proposal to demolish the village and evict its inhabitants to make way for an airport came along at the end of 1970, Tony saw an opportunity. His film of that campaign is a valuable record of the period and clips from it have featured since on television, firstly on Anglia Television in 1995, and more recently, licensed by the Stewkley Film Archive, on BBC 4.

It was lucky for Stewkley that it had a villager to take on the task of putting a motion footage archive together -- someone who had a little experience to help. Between 1988 and 1991, John Flewin (pictured), a former television journalist, was Head of the ITN Archive, one of the most complete tv news collections in the world. After retiring early from ITN, in 1995, he became a consultant in the commercial footage world, with clients in the UK, Europe and North America.

In retirement, once established in the role of village film archivist, Flewin set about seeking out more films, initially looking for additional footage to pull together as complete a record as possible of the Third London Airport campaign. To date valuable footage has been sourced, the first and most extensive film and slides from cameras of the late Jerry Smith-Cresswell who was one of the campaign organisers and lived in the nearby village of Drayton Parslow. Another airport film was added a little later, this time shot by Bernard Osborn, a cameraman living in another nearby village, this time Cublington. A more recent acquisition has been film taken by the late Jean Bell, at the time of the campaign a resident of Aylesbury.

Plans now involve finding and acquiring more moving footage, both film and video, which depict events, happenings and a way of life now gone.

The mission of the Archive is to digitally copy for preservation and editing purposes as much important material as possible, then make it available locally for viewing in various formats for education, enjoyment and entertainment.

The first public showing of the airport material was in March when a two-hour audio-visual presentation played to a packed Village Hall on two consecutive evenings. Later presentations took place in Drayton Parslow and Cublington. To date a total in excess of 500 have attended.

Now the first DVD has beenlaunched, again featuring the Third London Airport Campaign (see details). In addition to the work of the three local cameramen, material has been acquired from th East Anglia Film Archive and from the BBC.

Audio-visual presentations and DVDs featuring non-airport footage are slotted for 2010. Stewkley School's May Days, pram races, fetes, celebrations and more are all presently being viewed and edited ... and more material is being sought.

A mountain of Tony Greenslade's films.