The Edinburgh Film Guild’s historical archive, a collection of materials stretching back to the late 1920s, has now been successfully transferred to the National Library of Scotland (NLS) and the University of Stirling.
The abrupt closure of the Centre for the Moving Image (the charity responsible for the Filmhouse) in October 2022 put the Guild in a difficult position. While the Guild remains solvent and continues to function as a film society, we did share the same building with Filmhouse. The closure of the building meant that the Guild could no longer use its office, cinema, or Guild Rooms. It also forced us to consider how to protect the Guild’s historical archive.
Thankfully that problem has now been resolved, with the bulk of our historical archive being transferred to the National Library of Scotland and the University of Stirling. It had been our intention, for a number of years, to transfer the various parts of the archive to institutions that could preserve, catalogue and make the archive more accessible to film researchers and others with an interest in cinema. We’ve now achieved that long-term goal.
Details of the various parts of the archive and where they’ve been transferred are listed below.
- The minutes, correspondence and published material of the Edinburgh Film Guild. These have now been transferred to the National Library of Scotland.
- The Guild Library of cinema books, dating back as far as the 1920s. This book collection was part of a reference library used by Guild members since the early 1930s The bulk of these publications has also been transferred to the National Library of Scotland.
- Film stills collection. Approximately 10,000 film and production stills, dating as far back as the 1920s. This has been transferred to the University of Stirling Archives and Special Collections. (See the cover image below of an early exhibition of stills from the collection.)
- A collection of contemporary cinema books inherited from the late Keith Hennessey Brown (former Guild council member, Guild film programmer and writer at Eye For Film) have been transferred to Stirling University Library.
Cover image from the brochure for an early exhibition of stills from the collection: ‘Edinburgh Film Guild, Exhibition British Film Stills, November 10 – 19, 1932’
Our thanks go to Chris Cassells (Head of Archives and Manuscript Collections) and his colleagues at the National Library of Scotland, and to Karl Magee (University Archivist, Information Services) and the Library staff at the University of Stirling. The University of Stirling Archives and Special Collections already houses both the Forsyth Hardy Archive and John Grierson Archive, two important figures in the history of the Edinburgh Film Guild. Our thanks also to Alistair Mitchell and Susan McArthur, from FRP Advisory Trading Limited, who facilitated access to our offices and archive at 88 Lothian Road EH3 9BZ.
Note: The Guild was one of the key partners in establishing Filmhouse in 1978, alongside the Scottish Film Council, British Film Institute and City of Edinburgh Council. As part of this, the Guild invested in the purchase and development of the building at 88 Lothian Road EH3 9BZ.