Wessex Film and Sound Archive

About the Wessex Sound and Film Archive

Wessex Film and Sound Archive (WFSA) is a specialist regional repository based at Hampshire Record Office in Winchester. WFSA was set up in 1988 by Hampshire Archives Trust and is administered by Hampshire County Council. It is a member of Film Archives UK, which is recognised by the British Film Institute as a body which represents the preservation and public access needs of that medium in the UK.

·The collections cover central southern England, namely Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Feature films and general interest material are not held, as they are already well cared for in national film and sound archives. Photographs of local interest are held by record offices, museums and libraries in the region. WFSA holds over 22,000 cinefilms and video recordings, and over 13,000 sound recordings.

These items are stored in temperature and humidity controlled strong rooms protected by fire and intruder alarms. Cellulose nitrate film, which is chemically unstable and highly flammable, is kept in a separate store on a different site, pending further high priority action. Holdings are acquired by means of donations, transfers, purchases, bequests, long term deposits, archive recordings by WFSA staff, and temporary deposits for copying purposes. They are received from a wide variety of sources, from individuals to corporations, and may be amateur or professional material recorded on a range of different formats dating from the 19th century to the present day.

A catalogue is maintained on computer database, available online, with the content of many items described in detail. Film and sound archive material is made available for research in copy form, to protect the originals. This may mean that some items may not be consulted if they have not yet been copied. In that case, it is best to check beforehand to see if this can be done.

Whilst there is free public access (reference only) to holdings in WFSA, commercial and non-commercial use is welcomed, within the constraints imposed by copyright legislation. A facility fee is charged for this service, in addition to any royalty payments which may be due to rights owners, and users may have to pay for the copying of items to broadcast standard. Further access is provided by library loans of film compilations on video and DVD, film shows in the region and by the use of material in broadcasts, commercial videos and in museum displays.