Cen­tury old Camp­bel­town cin­ema’s ar­chives se­cured

● Na­tional Li­brary will look af­ter wealth of ma­te­rial

The Scotsman - - Around Scotland - By BRIAN FER­GU­SON Arts Cor­re­spon­dent

0 Arte­facts kept by the Camp­bel­town Pic­ture House have been do­nated to the Na­tional Li­brary of Scot­land A trea­sure trove from the ar­chives of Scot­land’s lon­grun­ning cin­ema has been se­cured for the na­tion.

Arte­facts kept by the Camp­bel­town Pic­ture House dat­ing back more than a cen­tury have been do­nated to the Na­tional Li­brary of Scot­land.

The gift has been re­vealed ahead of the cin­ema’s forth­com­ing re­open­ing within the next few weeks af­ter a £3.5 mil­lion makeover.

Ar­chi­tec­tural draw­ings for the 1913 build­ing, which was de­signed by ar­chi­tect Al­bert Gard­ner, in the Glas­gow School of Art Nou­vea style, are among the ob­jects do­nated.

They in­clude a wealth of ma­te­rial re­lat­ing to the Pic­ture House’s first man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Fred­er­ick Ren­dell Bur­nette, a for­mer painter, mu­si­cian, ac­tor, mind-reader and con­jurer who led the cre­ation of Scot­land’s ear­li­est cine­mas.

The ar­chive, which in­cludes de­tails of con­tri­bu­tions made by the Pic­ture House’s 40 orig­i­nal share­hold­ers, pro­vides a rare in­sight into the early days of cin­ema-go­ing in Scot­land.

Other items in­clude news­pa­per cut­tings herald­ing the open­ing of the cin­ema, early ad­ver­tise­ments for film show­ings, a re­ceipt for the sale of the Pic­ture House’s pi­ano af­ter the si­lent film era drew to a close in 1933 and de­tails of an ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing a plane car­ry­ing reels of film for the cin­ema.

One of Scot­land’s first pur­pose-built cine­mas, it was closed in 2014, just over a year af­ter mark­ing its cen­te­nary while fundrais­ing ef­forts were still un­der­way to make way for a long-awaited over­haul.

Work on a project to re­store the main au­di­to­rium, cre­ate a sec­ond new screen and cafebar, and re­store its his­toric fa­cade be­gan last year af­ter fund­ing was se­cured from His­toric En­vi­ron­ment Scot­land, Cre­ative Scot­land and the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund. Ruth Wash­brook, the Na­tional Li­brary’s mov­ing image and sound col­lec­tions man­ager, said: “Camp­bel­town Pic­ture House oc­cu­pies a very spe­cial place in the his­tory of cin­ema in Scot­land which makes its ar­chive all the more im­por­tant. The ar­chive will en­rich our col­lec­tions and add to the knowl­edge we hold about cin­ema in Scot­land.”

Jane Mayo, chair of Camp­bel­town Com­mu­nity Busi­ness, which is lead­ing the restora­tion, said: “We’re de­lighted our pre­cious ar­chive will be­come part of the na­tional col­lec­tion so that fu­ture gen­er­a­tions can be in­spired by the story of an iso­lated com­mu­nity de­ter­mined to bring the lat­est tech­nolo­gies to their town.”

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