Film and Broadcasting in the Archives

The early history of Dramatic Studies and the inventor of the television

This post was originally written for the College of Arts Industry Engagement blog, in conjunction with Special Collections, to highlight the potential for research in this area within Archives and Special Collections at the University of Glasgow.

The subjects of Film and Television studies within the School of Culture and Creative Arts at the University of Glasgow began life as the teaching of Dramatic Studies. A Certificate in Dramatic Studies and a Diploma in Dramatic Studies were instituted in 1950 and this was taught to students of the (then) Royal Scottish Academy of Music and run by the University of Glasgow’s Department of English. The classes were conducted in the former Athenaeum building in St Georges Place.

In 1966 the University started running its own class in Drama with James Fullerton Arnott as Senior Lecturer. The course was listed under the University Department of Music and Fine Art and this meant that Glasgow was the first in Britain to participate on the vocational training of actors and teachers of Drama and Dramatic Studies.

Leaflet for Film and Television Studies at the University, c1992 (TFTS 5/1)

Leaflet for Film and Television Studies at the University, c1992 (TFTS 5/1)

A Department of Drama was officially founded in 1972 and the University of Glasgow first began teaching a Faculty of Arts course in Film and Television in 1983. By 2001 Theatre Studies and Film and Television Studies were core subjects taken under MA(Creative and Cultural Studies) and MA(European Civilisation) within a broader degree of General Humanities.

Archive Services holds the collection of papers from the (former) Department of Theatre, Film, and Television Studies including course leaflets and also publications relating to Gilmorehill G12: opened as the Anderson Free Church in 1877, and used by Glasgow University as an exam hall from 1950 to 1996, the building was refurbished in 1997 as home to Glasgow University Film, TV and Theatre Studies Department. It holds offices, theatre, cinema, cafe and rehearsal space.

John Logie Baird’s Matriculation slip for the session 1914-15 (R8/5/35/1)

John Logie Baird’s Matriculation slip for the session 1914-15 (R8/5/35/1)

The University of Glasgow has another historic connection to television and broadcasting that can be traced in our archival records. John Logie Baird, inventor and pioneer of the television, studied Engineering at the University of Glasgow during the session 1914-15. Baird later achieved fame for his work developing television, giving the world’s first demonstration of a practical system in front of members of the Royal Institution on 26 Jan 1926. In 1928 the Baird Television Development Co made the first transatlantic television transmission, and during the 1930s and 1940s succeeded in developing colour television.


See Special Collection’s Film and Broadcasting blog-post all about broadcasting in the Scottish Theatre Archive!

Categories: Archive Services

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