We need to raise £8000 by 13 December to save an amazing collection of Weymouth photographs for the future.
The Herbert Collection
The Herbert Collection is a unique record of the social history of Weymouth between 1953 and 1983. Graham Herbert was a professional photographer, supplying images to the Dorset Echo and always on the scene to capture local events.
The collection reflects so many diverse aspects of local life, including festivals and performances; shop displays and interiors; street scenes and every-day occurrences; and agricultural and industrial work.
The Herbert Collection was transferred to Dorset History Centre in 2006. Since then we have been working to digitise the negatives, starting with the earliest and worst affected by vinegar syndrome. We have won funding awards and developed partnerships to allow the work to continue. Most recently, digitisation company TownsWeb Archiving awarded us £5000 of their services as part of a national competition. This is fantastic and will allow us to save many more of the negatives. But there will still be lots left to digitise - and that is why we need your help.
Race against time
The negatives are suffering from vinegar syndrome - an irreversible process of decay. Over time the negatives start to bubble and the image is distorted. We have already managed to digitise the worst affected negatives in the collection. Despite storing in cool and dry conditions it is only a matter of time before the rest of the negatives show visible signs of deterioration.
The power of memories
Images already digitised have been used with great success in reminiscence sessions with older people and with groups of adults with learning disabilities. Very positive feedback from these sessions shows the power of photographs to spark memories. One participant said “some of those photos – I was still alive, I can see my friends. I think about things I can't do now”, and another "I thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel full of happiness now.'' We will seek to continue this work, encouraging more people to re-connect with their history.
Before we can make the collection fully accessible we need to digitise the remaining negatives and would love your help.
How will the negatives be digitised?
Specialist digitisation company TownsWeb Archiving will create digital copies of the negatives using their expertise and professional equipment. Each negative will be carefully removed from its packet, placed on a light-box and captured at a high resolution.
We will keep the digital images in our digital repository system - storage with the same security and preservation assurances as we provide for our paper and parchment archives. The system actively manages the digital archives: making copies, monitoring for corruption, migrating old formats to new, and repairing damaged files.
With your support, Dorset History Centre can save this fascinating piece of Weymouth's history for all to enjoy. Please help spread news of the project on social media as well as emailing it to friends and family.
Dorset History Centre is the home of Dorset's archives and local studies collections. We collect, preserve and share Dorset's past for the present and future generations to enjoy. Dorset Archives Trust is a registered charity which supports Dorset History Centre in looking after Dorset's documentary heritage.
Thank you for your support.