An array of early ‘home movies’ are among thousands of historic films available to watch through a new British Film Institute service. Launched earlier this month, Britain on Film provides access to a vast archive of films dating back 120 years, giving a vivid insight into family life at the time. Users can search the archive via a map of the British Isles, enabling them to zoom in and find videos relating to the places their ancestors came from. Highlights include the Passmore Family Collection, which includes footage of children playing on a beach in Bognor Regis in 1903 – thought to be the earliest surviving home movie in existence.
Around 2,500 films including home movies, documentaries and news footage from Victorian times up to the 1980s is now available online. The films have been digitised thanks to National Lottery money and the aim is to have 10,000 available within three years.