A grant awarded by TownsWeb Archiving will be used by Dorset History Centre to digitise a local photographer’s negative collection, which is deteriorating due to ‘vinegar syndrome.’
Dorset History Centre has been selected as the winner of a £5,000 grant awarded by digitisation company TownsWeb Archiving (TWA) and will use it to preserve photographs that would otherwise be lost due to ‘vinegar syndrome’.
The Herbert Collection, of over 7,000 packets of photographic negatives, is a unique record of the social history of Weymouth between 1953 and 1983.
Graham Herbert was a Weymouth photographer and captured many aspects of local life, including festivals and performances; shop displays and interiors; street scenes and every-day occurrences; and agricultural and industrial work.
Vinegar syndrome happens when the negatives begin to decay and give off an acidic vapour that smells like vinegar. There is no treatment that can reverse or stop it and without intervention to digitise Herbert’s collection, it will be lost. Some of the collection has already been digitised and is available to archive users.
The TWA digitisation grant judges felt that these factors, when coupled with the significance of the collection in charting the history of Weymouth, and Dorset History Centre’s clear and ambitious plans to make it accessible and discoverable to the local community once digitised, made this application a winner.
One of the judges, Claire Adler, said: “The urgent need to digitise these photographs was communicated as well as the need to record and reinterpret a way of life which is currently changing in Dorset. The images have already been used with people with learning disabilities and I was delighted to see that they will be using the images to engage with communities across the region.”
Cllr Deborah Croney, Dorset County Council’s cabinet member for economy, education, learning and skills, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the funding from TWA to save the Herbert collection from being lost due to the irreversible deterioration of the negatives. We look forward to continuing to share the fantastic images of our recent past in outreach activities with a wide range of people.”
The Dorset History Centre in Dorchester is the archive service for Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole. It holds over 1,000 years of the county’s written history held within thousands of varied collections – the ‘raw materials of history’.
Access to the centre is free. It is open Tuesday to Friday and the first and third Saturday of each month.
Visit www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/dorsethistorycentre for more information.