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The Hockey Museum has been awarded a grant of £15,300 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to enable it to digitise its collection of nearly 100 old hockey films dating back to the 1930s.

This project will preserve the films and also make them available for viewing by a wide range of participants – visitors to the museum, attenders at major hockey tournaments, students at schools and colleges, and users of the museum’s website. The museum is planning a programme of visits to educational establishments to help young people appreciate the history of the sport and how it has developed, using the digitised films and the equipment which will be bought with the grant. Many of the films are in poor condition, and their contents would have been lost without this project, and the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Digitising clearly requires specialist expertise and technology. The museum is working with a group of companies – WATCH WORKS, WATCHMAKER FILMS and MAX Communications – who will undertake the work. These are all preservation-oriented companies with restoration skills and a deep commitment to building and maintaining continuity between our analog past and digital future.

The Hockey Museum exists to collect and preserve as much as possible of the origins and development of the game of hockey in the UK – both written and oral material and a wide range of artefacts. Over the years, much material of great historical interest has been lost or destroyed, because of the absence of a suitable repository for it. This is now being rectified, and the Museum already has a large collection of heritage and history material which it is now making available to aid the understanding of the way the game has grown over the last 150 years.

Commenting on the award, Mike Smith, the Museum Curator, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund to help us give hockey’s history a future, and are confident the project will help future generations to understand and appreciate the game’s roots.

Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said: “These films provide a fascinating insight into the development of a game that is now played by 100,000 people in England each week. Thanks to National Lottery players they will now be saved for the future, opening up parts of our sporting heritage that haven’t been widely seen for decades.”

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