26/03/2012 - Permalink

Picture Shropshire: volunteering for the county’s heritage

Related topics: Community

History and photography enthusiasts will have an opportunity to talk to Volunteering for Shropshire’s Heritage Project Team at Shrewsbury Library on Tuesday 27 March 2012 about the photographic collection and other exciting activities happening over the next three years and beyond.

The event, from 5pm to 7.30pm, will focus on historic photographs and will also include a talk from well-known local historian David Trumper, using illustrations of historic photographs of Shrewsbury.  The event is also part of a programme of national events produced as part of the new BBC television series Britain’s First Photo Album.

The Heritage Lottery-funded project Volunteering for Shropshire’s Heritage is cataloguing thousands of historic photographs of the county; everything from aerial photographs of Telford to historic views of Clun Castle.

Since 2006 volunteers have been working on cataloguing the photographs, a process which makes them accessible and adds interpretation to them, since many volunteers doing this bring to the photographs a level of personal knowledge which unlocks the stories behind them.

John Benson, project manager, said:

“Historic photographs are our window into a world that in many cases has now gone forever.  It’s very powerful that volunteers are going to be working further with the photographic collection, since they’re the ones who have the personal connections with them and who can really bring them to life.”

The project aims, among many other things, to have catalogued 45,000 photographs by the end of the project in 2014.  Digitisation, where possible, of a range of these images will open them up to a whole new audience, and should make possible an interactive learning resource that will outlive the project and continue to engage people when the existing team have all moved on to pastures new.

Mike Owen, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for economic growth and prosperity, said:

“We’re very grateful to all who are contributing to this ambitious and multi-faceted project, including of course the volunteers themselves who, past, present and future, have done so much to help make our fantastic collections accessible; and also the Heritage Lottery Fund, without whom this current flurry of activity would not be possible.

“Shropshire is a county rich in history, heritage and tradition, and this opportunity to catalogue the photographic collections which illustrates this happens only once in a lifetime.” 

Anyone interested in further information doesn’t have to come along to the event at Shrewsbury Library on 27 March 2012; you can enquire any time by emailing john.benson@shropshire.gov.uk or calling 01743 255377 (or the project mobile on 07919 8107272).