British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access


Collecting policy covers material concerning or related to the City of Birmingham, although large collections usually have wider implications. There are substantial collections of oral history and folk music revival related sound recordings, nearly all master copies only. Highlights include the Charles Parker (BBC Radio producer, writer, actor, etc.) Archive (MS 4000) : CD copies of about 1200 recordings of folk music and song, traditional and revival singers, and classes held by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger on song, performance, etc. with the Critics group, c. 1965-1972, are now (2004) available from a project,
'A Future for Ordinary Folk’, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund; listening cassette copies of some of the radio ballad source material are also available. Banner Theatre Company Archive (MS 1611, permission needed). Philip Donnellan Archive (MS 1938: film material in need of conservation and currently unavailable). Oral history tapes deposited by Professor Carl Chinn, local historian (MS 1902, permission needed). Cassettes made by the Digbeth and Deritend Local History Project in 1986 (MS 1497) and other smaller collections.
Listening copies of recordings of Birmingham people from the ‘Millenibrum’ Project (2000-2001) are available in the Local Studies and History Department of the Central Library.
Banner Theatre Company; Birmingham; Critics Group; Digbeth; Donnellan; Philip; Folk music; Folk Revival; Folk Song;Local history; Midlands; MacColl; Ewan; Parker; Charles (BBC radio producer); Radio; Radio Ballads; Seeger; Peggy
Opening hours: Closed Monday; 10 - 5 Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday; 10 - 8 Thursday.
It is necessary to phone in advance if you want to listen to a recording. All users of the City Archives are required to produce official proof of name address and signature in order to obtain a County Archive Research Network ticket.
One Cassette and one CD player. Headphones must be used. Viewing of videotapes can be arranged with prior notice. Restrictions are often due to lack of a listening copy. Prior permission from the depositor is necessary for certain collections.

Moving Image, Audio and Related Documentation Holdings

Yes. See description of collections.


Card catalogue
Full catalogue of the ‘A Future for Ordinary Folk’ material. (MS 4000/5). Draft catalogues of some collections, but not all.

Main Contact

Ms. Sian Roberts
Job title
Senior Archivist
Archives Department
0121 303 4217
0121 212 9397
Central Library
Seventh Floor
Chamberlain Square
B3 3HQ

Record Stats

This record has been viewed 2919 times.