Thousands of images from the Advertiser’s photographic archive are now online thanks to a long-term project to safeguard them for future generations.
They are working their way through thousands of old photographic negatives, some dating back to the 1940s.
Because of their age, some of the negatives are becoming damaged or corroded so it is vital that they are digitalised.
They are also in a variety of formats, with the earliest on glass.
The volunteers have worked through from the 1940s and are now nearing the 1970s.
But more help is needed as there are still thousands more negatives needing to be digitalised.
“The Advertiser’s photographic archive is a valuable local history tool, showing people, places and events from the past 60 years across the district,” said deputy editor Sharon Hodkin, who coordinates the project.
“It offers a wonderful insight into the district’s past and so it is vital that it is preserved.
“We are incredibly grateful to our dedicated team of volunteers who come into the office every week to help with this project.”
The negatives are stored in 139 boxes — each holding around 1,000 envelopes.
The volunteers are currently working on box 56.
Each negative is scanned, saved and labelled digitally.
Some may need restoration before this can take place, so the process is time-consuming.
'It is so straight-forward'
That is where the volunteers come in.
They each spend a few hours a week scanning in the images and adding to the archive.
“It is so straight-forward to do,” said Dennis Salmon, one of the volunteers.
“Anyone with a basic knowledge of computers will be able to do it. Once you learn the system it is very easy.
“You also get to see the old photographs and pick out any interesting ones as you go along.”
Once the negatives are scanned they are added to the online archive.
A section of the Advertiser’s website allows people to search for photographs by name, place or year.
An interactive area allows them to add their own caption information to help build a fuller archive.
People can buy the images, either as standard prints, or reproduced on a range of gift items, including mugs and jigsaw puzzles.
Training will be given for anyone interested in volunteering for a couple of hours a week.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer, or wanting more information, should contact Sharon Hodkin on 01636 681234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org