They form one of the largest regional film archives in the UK and are recognised nationally as a significant screen heritage collection.
Preserved in specialist cold and freezer stores within The Box alongside other media collections, they depict many changes in the city and region from the late 1890s to the present day.
Many of these collections star in our Media Lab gallery, and include:
Westward Television and Television South West (TSW)
The largest single collection made up of the news and programme libraries of the ITV broadcasters for the South West region from 1961 to 1992. All rights in the Westward and TSW material are held by The Box.
Lord Digby Collection
A large film collection showing life in the 1930s in the one of the stately homes of England. A visual record of family life, fishing and holidays at home and abroad.
Major Gill Collection
In the 1930s a Truro shopkeeper realised his beloved Cornwall was changing and set out to record the life and times of the county as a moving record of the past for the future.
Cornwall’s only major industrial manufacturing company filmed the factory, the work force and the products. The collection includes footage of an air powered anti-aircraft gun used in the Second World War.
Mr Hinton set out to record the demise of the steam engine and the emergence of the diesel engine. With a trackside pass he shot from unusually close angles as well as from inside the trains.
Life in North Devon was recorded by Mr Dunn in both colour and black and white. Events round Barnstaple, American troops on 5 June 1944 and the landscaping of his own garden are all shown.
Bristol-based Frank Page filmed from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s. He shows a life full of travel and celebration including coronation parties in Tavistock and life in a 1950s caravan.
Our earliest film collection was captured in 1898. An early example of a travelogue shot from the front of a moving train as it made its journey from Ilfracombe to Barnstaple.
Our earliest colour film was shot on the streets of Callington by amateur filmmaker Mr Nicolls in 1939, just a few months before the outbreak of the Second World War.
Claude Endicott was a butcher who filmed life in and around Plymouth from the 1920s to the mid-1960s. Historical events are mixed with his love of all things modern: The Prince of Wales opening Plymouth airport, the rebuilding of the city centre after the Blitz in colour and early attempts at reverse-speed special effects featuring the Seven 'O Clock Regulars diving off (and back onto!) the pier in 1924.
Over 800 digitised clips from our moving image collections can be enjoyed through BFIPlayer