Britain on Film BFI project lets you search for films shot where you grew up

Thousands of films are being digitised and put online on the new BFI Player

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The Independent Culture

History fans wanting to learn more about what 20th century life was like in the town they grew up can now do so, thanks to the British Film Institute's latest archive project.

Thousands of the world's earliest home movies filmed across the country are being put online on the new BFI Player as part of the Britain on Film series, so that modern viewers can enjoy them.

Some 10,000 films dating from 1895 to the present day will be digitised by 2017, featuring villages, schools and popular holiday destinations. Viewers can search for footage shot in particular locations on an interactive 'film map' (see below and click here to have a play).

Some of the films were made by Alfred Passmore in 1902 at his family home in Streatham, south London and on holiday in Bognor Regis and the Isle of Wight.

His grandson Michael, who still owns the original camera used to shoot the movies, said: "I am very proud of my grandfather's films; they have such a lot of movement and are never boring.

"The films capture the joys of family occasions and holidays so beautifully. I am delighted that they will be able to be shared with the rest of the country and hope they will continue to give pleasure to anyone interested in the history of home movies."

Other films being made available include footage of the final Glasgow tram in 1961, shot by an amateur filmmaker; The Bradford Godfather from 1976 - a documentary about the founding father of the city's Pakistani community; and a film of the prawn festival in the Northern Irish village of Kilkeel.

Heather Stewart, BFI creative director, discovered footage of her great grandmother, grandmother and mother in a film featuring her home village of Moniaive in Dumfries and Galloway.

"I've never seen my family on film before so it was a wonderful surprise to discover three generations together. There's a perennial joy in location spotting; couple this with the emotional power of film and Britain on Film has the potential to touch everyone in the UK."

(Additional reporting from the Press Association)

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