Creation of UK’s first national broadcast archive well underway thanks to National Lottery

A ground-breaking project to create a National Broadcast Archive for Wales – which would be the first of its kind in the UK – is set to become a reality following a National Lottery grant of nearly £5 million (£4,751,000) to the National Library of Wales.

The National Lottery funding will help ensure around 240,000 hours of radio and television footage from Wales, charting almost 100 years of broadcasting and including many iconic moments from 20th century Welsh history and culture, will be made accessible and kept safe for future generations.

The BBC material – both original and newly digitised formats – will be added to the National Library’s existing ITV Wales archive, bringing the vision of a full National Broadcast Archive for Wales one step closer to reality.

Wales Broadcast Archive
Housed in a new 1,000 metre square, purpose built storage facility at the National Library, the materials will also be made accessible to the public at four locations across the country.
A series of mobile clip centres will ensure more isolated and rural communities can still access the archive, while 1,500 BBC Wales archive clips of material will be made available for anyone to view online at home or by teachers in school.

Richard Bellamy, Director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Wales, said: “The BBC Cymru Wales archive records nearly a century of Welsh life in unparalleled diversity. Combined with the ITV Wales archives already held at the National Library, this extremely important project will play a vital role in bringing together the nation’s broadcast history and making it accessible to the public for the very first time.

“This incredibly important grant award, in what is the 25th anniversary year since the first National Lottery draw, is a fantastic way to celebrate and it really summarises what a vital contribution this funding is for preserving our heritage.”

Key elements of the project include:
•    Over 180,000 items spanning the Second World War, iconic sporting achievements, the Aberfan disaster, the campaign for devolution and the Miners’ strike
•    Activities in ten areas including over 300 interactive events to promote digital learning for young people and health and wellbeing for older people
•    Unique pieces digitised charting the development of the Welsh language and the productions of writers such as Dylan Thomas and Saunders Lewis, as well as recordings of early Welsh language broadcasts
•    Over 1,500 volunteers helping to catalogue the extensive archive material as well as developing imaginative and creative community activities
•    Establishment of mobile clip centres making the information more accessible to a wider audience

Pedr ap Llwyd, Chief Executive and National Librarian of the National Library of Wales, added: “We are delighted that the National Lottery has provided funding for this pioneering project that will ensure that the BBC Wales archive will be accessible for public use. As the home of the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, and with material from ITV Wales already at the Library, we intend to safeguard this vital source of our nation’s heritage for present and future generations and use it to help establish the first National Broadcast Archive in the UK.”

Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director BBC Cymru Wales, said: BBC Wales’ archive is a treasure trove – the collective memory of a nation spanning nearly a century. So what better way to celebrate the BBC’s coming centenary in 2022 than to open up this remarkable resource to schools, colleges and communities the length and breadth of Wales. We’re enormously grateful to the National Library of Wales, the National Lottery and the Welsh Government for their support and vision.”

Activities in ten areas will include over 300 interactive events to promote digital learning for young people and health and wellbeing for older people, with the archive being used to help stimulate memories and stories for those with dementia.

The project has received further funding support of £1 million from the Welsh Government as Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, explains: “I’m delighted that National Lottery funding, alongside Welsh Government support, will help communities across Wales including those living in our targeted Fusion Areas, to engage in our nation’s history that – thanks to this ambitious and nationally-significant project – will become more accessible for all”.

Additional funding of £2 million from the Library’s Private Funds and £2.5 million of digital content and in-kind support from the BBC has also contributed to the project.


Notes to editors
For further information, please contact us using the below details:
Deian Creunant     01970 636419 |
Amelia Taylor        01970 636407 |

About the National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

The National Lottery in numbers
•    2019 is the 25th anniversary of the National Lottery.  The first draw was broadcast live on BBC1 on 19th November 1994.
•    Each week, National Lottery players raise around £30 million for good causes.  In total almost £40 billion has been raised and awarded to more than 535,000 individual projects – an average of 190 lottery grants in every UK postcode district.
•    In Wales £397 million has been awarded to more than 2,600 heritage projects, including St Fagans National Museum of History, Yr Ysgwrn in Trawsfynydd, Caernarfon Island Site, Dyfi Opsrery Observatory and the Swansea Hafod Morfa Copperworks.

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