Bid to digitise Express & Star photos submitted to Lottery board

Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013 by Chris Leggett under News

Brand and communications manager Chris Leggett signs the bid document with (front left) WAVE head of service Corinne MIller and (right) Wolverhampton University associate dean Patricia Cooper, watched by the bid team in the archive room

The Express & Star’s bid for funding to digitise its photo archive has been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Britain’s biggest selling regional newspaper is aiming to publish some 750,000 photographs on a website available to the general public free of charge.

If the bid, which was put together in partnership with Wolverhampton University and WAVE: The Museums, Galleries and Archives of Wolverhampton, is successful, it will mean anybody with internet access would be able to view our entire picture collection.

At present, the photographs, which were taken throughout the last century, are stored in folders at the E&S headquarters. Many of the pictures are deteriorating with age, with some folders laying untouched in years.

A panel made up of representatives of the three organisations plus members of local heritage groups has prepared the bid for the latest round of HLF regional grants.

It will learn in March if the bid has been successful. If the green light is given, it will take volunteers an estimated three years to digitise the entire collection.

The photos, along with the information attached to each print, will then be uploaded to a website for the public to browse.

After an appeal for public support, more than 100 letters and emails were sent in by local individuals and organisations. A further 230 people completed an online survey on how they would use the service and 100 people have volunteered to carry out the digitisation work.

MNA brand and communications manager Chris Leggett said: “The bid is the culmination of extensive consultation with the community.

“It has been shaped around the responses of local people, who have told us they believe the photographs should be made available for future generations.

“The Express & Star will not receive a penny in revenue from this project. It wants to share this unique collection with the communities it has represented for generations.”

Professor Carl Chinn, community historian at Birmingham University, called the Express & Star archive “one of the most important collections of regional photographs in England”.

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