artist · Photographers

Digitising the Beauty of Wiltshire

Back in January 2019 I was contacted by the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, asking if I would be interested in scanning a number of 35mm slides for them. I have an interest in photography going back 50 years, so this appealed to me.

I was employed by the Wiltshire & Swindon Record Office about 20 years ago when it was located in Trowbridge, so of course know a majority of the staff and have also carried out voluntary work in The History Centre a number of times since retiring from British Telecom.

This new venture involves scanning the vast collection of 35 mm slides created by the renowned Salisbury photographer Steve Day whose interest appears to be anything and everything associated with the lovely city of Salisbury and the surrounding Wiltshire countryside. The slides were acquired as part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Collecting Cultures project, Creative Wiltshire, donated to the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre by Steve’s widow.

St. Thomas' Square with the Michael Snell Tea Rooms, Salisbury
St. Thomas’ Square with the Michael Snell Tea Rooms, Salisbury

One minute you are studying photographs pertaining to Salisbury Cathedral and the large number of activities relating to the building and members of the clergy, next you are out in the countryside, sometimes very early in the morning with the sun rising over lakes or fields strewn with poppies or daisies etc. I enjoy this part of the work as I get a chance to see some wonderful photographs.

The beautiful Langford Lakes
The beautiful Langford Lakes

My task is basically to scan the slides which are then numbered, given a description as to the location and date taken, then to catalogue them onto the Historic Print & Photograph database which contains over 50,000 images for the whole of the county to date. It is hoped that eventually the public will be able to log into the History Centre website to view the images and order copies, but that is a number of years in the future.

Martyn at work using the scanner to digitise the slides
Martyn at work using the scanner to digitise the slides

I enjoy volunteering as apart from the social side of meeting the people at the History Centre it also keeps the brain active.


Martyn Henderson

Creative Wiltshire volunteer, March 2020

Discover more about the Steve Day collection here

6 thoughts on “Digitising the Beauty of Wiltshire

    1. Hi Isabella – how lovely to hear from you. Unfortunately the amazing work Martyn was doing came to a pause during COVID and Martyn is now unable to continue. We hope recruit another volunteer to continue the brilliant work he has begun – are you happy for me to keep your details on file and contact you when we have completed? Steve produced such beautiful images and we feel so honoured that we could add them to our collections here at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre.
      Kind regards
      Julie Davis
      Archives & Local Studies Lead (Development, Wellbeing and Local Studies)


  1. Hi Martyn, I’m Sue Walker, Steve Day’s widow. Wonderful news that you are doing the scanning and labelling of Steve’s lovely images. If you have any queries or questions do please get in touch. I’ll happily help if I can. I know almost all of the images as I looked after the library with him and after he died – and went on quite a lot of his trips around the county to take those images between 1994 and 2002. Good luck with the project.

    Best Wishes, Sue Walker


    1. Thanks Sue and lovely to hear from you. As you can probably tell, Martyn is really enjoying the work and the images are digitising beautifully. There were some images that did not contain descriptive information, we’ll get in touch when the History Centre is back up and running again in the hope that you can tell us more.


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