The Foxearth and District Local History Society

The Hysterical Hystorian

For occasional articles, snippets and announcements by the Resident Historians. (Andrew Clarke and GH) These articles are presented in date order, but if you explore the back-catalogue, you may find much of interest. Historical information doesn't really go out of date! Any member of the F&DLHS may add an entry or make a comment to an existing entry once they have got their userID and password from the Webmaster.

If you'd like to publish any interesting material about the history of East Anglia on the site, then please send an email to the Resident Historians at Andrew.Clarke@Foxearth.org.uk and we'll add it.

Family Historians have their own area on the site, so look there if your main interest is in tracing your family history.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The fading heritage

We've just been lent a large collection of photographs of Cavendish by Jeremy Eldridge. This complements very nicely the glorious collection lent by Stan Thompson. We are in the middle of scanning them in ready for putting onto the site for everyone to enjoy.

The joy of being given access to this collection is tempered with sadness at the reflection that Several collectors of local postcards have been very reluctant to let us scan-in their photographs. These postcards are now fetching between ten and fifty pounds each at auction and are disappearing from the locality. They are getting into large private collections here and abroad that are no longer accessible by ordinary folks engaged in researching their own house or locality.

Just last week we heard of a wonderful collection of Glemsford photographs that are being sent to auction. All we needed to do was to borrow them for a day to scan them in, so there is a permanent record of them available to local people. Oh no, sorry.

Local postcards started being made in the 1880s and became a craze up to the first world war. It was the 'Texting' of the time and the postal service was so good at the time that a postcard would often be delivered within four hours of it being posted. It is amazing just how many of these photographs were taken, and they represent an amazing historical record of the time

One of the missions of our society is to try to collect at least a scanned image of all these photographs so that we keep a freely available record of what the area looked like. We press on as best we can with the effort in spite of the difficulties caused by the sudden 'collectability' of these postcards.

The records offices should really be the repository of old postcards, but if you think it is being done well, just try getting hold of a well-scanned image. Suddenly it involves a considerable cost and confusing and incorrect blather about copyright.

There is a museum in East Anglia that was given an enormous collection of photographs and managed to get a lottery grant to index them and store them. They didn't consider scanning them so that ordinary folks could get copies. Oh no. Their activities have actually made it harder to gain legitimate access to the photos and one can stamp up and down in purple frustration without being even allowed to see them, just in case these precious artefacts are damaged. I like to make copies of old photos as freely available as possible just so one can see them and make up ones own mind as to whether we are ruining our heritage with unfortunate home-'improvements', demolition, infill, and road-widenings.

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