About the Video Archive Blog

October 2020

Colin the first TV Studio in the 1960's
Colin in TV Studio number 1 (1960’s)

Hello I’m Colin Grimshaw. Although I took early retirement at the start of 2011 I was asked to continue to run the Video Archive Blog and keep adding material on a regular basis. Now, working from home and very occasionally from Imperial, I will have more time to recall the background details to the videos you will be seeing.

Since the late 1960’s I’ve been recording all sorts of things related to Imperial College. This is in the form of magnetic tape, but more importantly videotape. Although the College Archives holds thousands of pieces of paper in the form of documents, books, journals, manuscripts, etc, its collection of sound and visual recordings (videotape and film) is surpassed by the videotape archive collection.

Colin with just some of the many videotapes in the collection
Colin with just some of the many videotapes in the collection

So, what is this all about and why am I doing it? Well, we have a video archive at Imperial College that goes back to the latter part of the 1960’s and we wanted to find a way to dip into it and show you the programmes. Also, at times, we’ll be enjoying archive material (that we now hold) shot by the student TV organisation STOIC during the period 1970-1986 and a few beyond that too. I am finding large numbers of very important interviews and news reports on STOIC videotapes relating directly to the history of Imperial College. If you have, or know of, any audio, film or video prior to say, the 1980’s, then Imperial College would be interested to hear from you. We would be especially interested in sound recordings from the 1950’s or earlier. Maybe as a student you shot some home movies of the campus at an earlier time in its history, if so that could be of interest too, so do let me know.

Welcoming the Duke of Kent to the TV Studio
Welcoming the Duke of Kent to TV Studio number 2, during an IEEE visit (1980’s)

Normally you need a reason to write a web page and put a video of something on it. But in this case I can find something that might be of interest, say a few words about it and then include the video. I might also delve into the main College Archive and showcase something from there too. Mostly it would be audio, because I lodged most of the video there anyway, but there are a few gems on film that will get an airing at some point (Prof. Eric Laithwaite for example). One of the biggest challenges is the slow deterioration of the videotapes. Some are suffering more than others and it’s big job getting some tapes to play back at all. One tape took all morning before I could get it to play and copy it into digital. When I can get a good play back the tapes are transferred to DVD as well as being digitised and added to YouTube etc.

The original TV Studio number 1, back in December 1968 showing the Philips Videotape Recorder
December 1968 with the Philips Videotape Recorder

Let’s start with you selecting any of the latest entries, or indeed tags, shown on the right hand side, and if you have any requests, then please get in touch and I’ll see what I can find. I have scanned in all of the remaining card index entries for the STOIC archive which is really helping find and locate some very important items. As well as this option I also have also created a database of the TV Studio’s archive making those tapes easier to locate. So, I hope you enjoy what you’ll see and hear. Simply make a comment on any blog entry and that will find its way to me via the Imperial email system. I don’t however check the Imperial emails on a daily basis, so there could be a delay in replying to you.

The videos featured in the blog (and on YouTube) are copyright Imperial College London. The various dates appearing at the start of each video should indicate the year made.

Also see us on the Imperial College YouTube Archive Channel:

Getting in touch:
Because of spam, we tend not to publish email addresses. However, if you search my name in the COLLEGE DIRECTORY you can then email me directly or look at CONTACT.

Colin Grimshaw


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