Photo archive digitisation project given £20,000 boost

Posted Friday, March 20, 2015 by Chris Leggett under News

Keith Harrison looks through the archive with Dr John Pymm

The bid to save the Express & Star’s archive of historic photographs has taken another step forward with the donation of £20,000 to the project.

The University of Wolverhampton and the Express & Star’s publisher Midland News Association have contributed £10,000 each to the project, which will see an estimated 1m photos digitised.

The funding will be added to a grant worth nearly £60,000 awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in June last year.

Britain’s biggest selling regional newspaper is working with leading local organisations to digitise the images dating back more than a century to make them available to the public for free online.

The partnership, set up with the university and WAVE: the museums, galleries, archives of Wolverhampton, was awarded development funding of £59,800 from the Lottery board.

The panel behind the project, which includes Black Country community group representatives, are using the money, including the latest contributions, to recruit specialist consultants to develop detailed plans which will form the basis for a full Lottery application at a later date.

If the second bid is successful, the project will see vital archiving work carried out, the collection digitised and the photographs made available through a single web portal.

Free online public access will be offered for people to view the unrivalled images of local events, momentous and every day, for the first time.

Editor Keith Harrison said: “The photos document the lives of our communities throughout the last century so we are delighted to help with the plans to preserve them for future generations.

“The Express & Star is pleased to make a financial contribution to a project which will create a legacy for local people to learn more about their past.”

Dr John Pymm, dean of the university’s faculty of arts said: “Having grown up in this area it’s a real thrill for me to see the rich history of the Black Country captured in this breathtaking collection.

“The university sees this investment in the photo archive project as a step forward to making this wealth of images available to a wider audience.

“As the university of opportunity, working on partnership projects like this demonstrates our shared commitment to the region with the Express & Star.”

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