The Westmorland GazetteCumbria's past brought to life on DVDs (From The Westmorland Gazette)

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Cumbria's past brought to life on DVDs

The Westmorland Gazette: TIMES PAST: Still photographs taken from the new film archive DVD of Kendal TIMES PAST: Still photographs taken from the new film archive DVD of Kendal

A FIFTEEN-year project to painstakingly capture Cumbria on camera is now available online.

Andrew Leitch has spent more than a decade putting together 12 DVDs which tell the story of the county, area by area.

Visitors to thecumbriafilmarchive.com can watch trailers of DVDs documenting the history of Kendal, Westmorland, Penrith and Eden, the Lake District, Cumbrian Railways and Cumbria at War.

The Kendal DVD focuses on industry in the town, such as K Shoes and mint cake production, as well as the poverty of Fellside.

Kendal DVD trailer

The Westmorland disc documents towns in the former county, such as Shap, Kirkby Stephen, and Kirkby Lonsdale.

Westmorland DVD trailer

The Lake District DVD shows old images of Mardale, the village drowned to create Haweswater, and the sort of accommodation awaiting the first tourists to the region.

Lake District DVD trailer

Another DVD from the series was released last Thursday, called Cumbria’s Lost Railways – End of the Line.

Lost Railways DVD trailer

It brings back to life rural railway lines that no longer exist, from a time when the steam train was one of the most important modes of transport in the world.

Mr Leitch, a former producer at ITV Border’s Lookaround, has written and researched the project with television cameraman Jim Bownass, of BVS Productions, at Crosthwaite.

“I’m Cumbrian born and bred and I love the social history of the county.

“It is so diverse and interesting,” said Mr Leitch, 55.

“Bringing Cumbria’s history to a wider audience is one of my main motivations.

“We hope that people will look at the free trailers on the website to get a taste of what the Cumbria Film Archive is all about.

“The DVDs seem to have been well received, and the last one I did on the railways has seen interest from France and Spain.”

Material has been gleaned from several sources, including libraries, museums, and private film and picture collectors.

Mr Leitch has created the DVDs at an average of one a year, and started with the history of Carlisle.

The project has taken such a long time because of the editing process, and the technicalities of transforming old pictures and videos from 8mm film onto disc.

Each DVD costs £9.95, with free postage and packaging.

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