Wales' national broadcast archive gets £4.7m grant

image captionFishermen on Penarth pier captured on BBC archive footage in 1959

A £9m project to create a national broadcast archive is set to go ahead after securing a £4.7m lottery grant.

The National Heritage Lottery money follows an initial £160,000 grant awarded last year to develop the scheme.

Wales' archive, the first of its kind in the UK, will be at four digital hubs in Aberystwyth, Wrexham, Carmarthen and Cardiff.

It will house about 240,000 hours of broadcasting footage from Wales.

image captionBBC Wales' archive spans nearly a century

The National Library of Wales and BBC Wales developed the scheme for public access to the broadcaster's archive.

National Lottery Heritage Fund Wales director Richard Bellamy said the project would "play a vital role in bringing together the nation's broadcast history".

The project has also received £1m from the Welsh Government, £2m from the library's private funds and £2.5m of digital content and support from the BBC.

image captionDigitised content could be watched at four hubs around Wales

What is the National Broadcast Archive?

  • It aims to be a "chronicle of the life of the nation" and "Wales' national memory"
  • Material would include footage from World War Two, Aberfan, the miners' strike, battles over devolution, sporting moments and news items
  • The BBC has been broadcasting in Wales since 1923 and has 95,000 audio tapes, 64,000 video tapes - being digitised - and thousands of cans of film
  • It would join ITV, S4C and screen and sound archives collected at Aberystwyth
  • Digitised content would be available to view by the public and researchers at the National Library, as well as four digital hubs

While the archive will be housed at the National Library of Wales and accessed by the four hubs, there will be several mobile centres for rural communities.

About 1,500 BBC Wales archive clips of material will be made available for anyone to view online at home.

Pedr ap Llwyd, chief executive of the National Library of Wales, said: "We intend to safeguard this vital source of our nation's heritage for present and future generations and use it to help establish the first National Broadcast Archive in the UK."

The plan also includes more than 300 educational events for young people and wellbeing for older people, with material hoped to stimulate memories for those with dementia.

Rhodri Talfan Davies, BBC Wales director, described it as "a treasure trove".

Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, deputy minister for culture, called it an "ambitious and nationally-significant project".

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