Oxford On Film: From Attic To Archive series launched

This summer saw the launch of ‘Dreaming Spools’, a media project run by our team to unearth and exhibit film footage of the University and the surrounding city through time.

The project was borne out of the pre-existing University film archive, which had already catalogued a number of video clips and short films. However, the archive’s collection of historical films was limited, and the Educational Media Services team wanted to try and expand these video and film records in order to rediscover moments in the University’s past and to revisit Oxford’s film history.

We worked with our alumni office, the local radio and newspapers to provoke public interest in our research and this has led to a number of ex-students and local amateur film-makers getting in contact with their videos and 8mm or 16mm films.

We have documented the project’s progress on our blog- http://blogs.it.ox.ac.uk/dreaming-spools/- to allow the public to keep up-to-date with our research and findings and also so that others might learn ideas on how to track down archive film from within the local community and from national archives.

We are now proud to announce the product of our summer’s work: ‘Oxford On Film: From Attic To Archive’, a series of themed videos for the Oxford University Podcasting channel (www.podcasts.ox.ac.uk), which is free for public viewing.

The Oxford on Film series can be seen on the web here:


‘Oxford on Film’ is also available in Oxford on iTunesU, were you can press the ‘View in iTunes’ subscribe button and download the whole series to your iTunes software. Visit the link here:


The series currently contains the following episodes:

Episode 1- Attic to Archive: Welcome to the Dreaming Spools Project
In this episode we take you on a trip through time as we introduce a selection of the archive footage that the Dreaming Spools project has discovered.

Episode 2 – Oxford: Then and Now
We compare and contrast locations in and around the city from the 1940s, and the present day. How have the places and people changed? How present is the Second World War in 1940s Oxford? Has the modern world penetrated the historic backdrop of the Dreaming Spires?

Episode 3 – A Day on the River: The Oxford Steamers
Salter’s Steamers have operated since 1858, and we revisit them in the 1940s as an American U.S.A.F Unit make use of a break from their war service to enjoy a leisurely day on the river. Includes very rare colour 16mm film taken on a river trip from Oxford to Wallingford during autumn 1944.

Episode 4 – Oxford At War: Footage from Mount Farm Airbase
World War Two arrives in Oxford in this episode, in which William Lorton – producer and director of the short documentary, ‘Spitfire 944’ – talks about the 16mm footage that his great-uncle, James R. Savage, filmed during his time as a Flight Surgeon for the 14th Photo Reconnaissance Unit at Mount Farm Airbase in Oxfordshire. This film includes never before seen colour and black and white 16mm film of Oxford during the war.

More films will be upload to the ‘Oxford on Film’ series in the next few weeks.

Oxford on Film Podcast Series

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