Digital Salford: Opening the City's Photo Album

Maypole

Salford Local History Library holds over 70,000 photographs, documenting the streets, buildings and communities that make up the city. These images have been collected over many decades, mainly through donations from the public, press, and professional and amateur photographers. Together, they comprise a fascinating insight into Salford's character and the changes the city has seen.

Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Digital Salford project has been able to start the process of digitising these physical photographs. From the start, the project team has asked the people of Salford to suggest photographs to be digitised. Engaging with communities online and at events, creative workshops and talks during 2015, people have been able to have their say, highlighting streets, schools, workplaces and gatherings that are meaningful to them and which they would like to see digitised.

A dedicated team of over 23 volunteers of all ages has been working on finding these images. Since early 2014, they have given over 1,600 hours of their time. Their enthusiasm and dedication has been recognised by them winning the award for Outstanding Contribution by a Team of Volunteers at the Greater Manchester Archives and Local Studies Partnership Awards in November 2015.

Once photographs are scanned, volunteers record the information about each images, digitally restoring them where necessary. Holding digital copies of photographs ensures that the images will not be lost, should anything happen to the originals. 

An exhibition was held at Salford Museum and Art Gallery in the autumn of 2015 to mark the culmination of the project and showcase images selected by volunteers and community members, as well as artist responses to historical images by local art and photographic organisations. The stop-frame animation film made by participants in workshops across Salford with artist Mark Haig was also displayed to show how historic images can be interpreted in many ways.

The Digital Salford project will host more and more photographs as they are digitised by volunteers. Learning resource packs have been developed for teachers to use local history materials to bring history to life in schools. The project website will also act as a hub for images generated by projects and initiatives taking place in communities around Salford and online. There will continue to be opportunities for volunteers to get involved with Digital Salford, and we welcome expressions of interest.

For further details contact Local History Librarian, Duncan McCormick at Salford Local History Library, Salford Museum & Art Gallery, Peel Park, Crescent, Salford, M5 4WU or email local.history@scll.co.uk