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.
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.
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.
I enjoy volunteering as apart from the social side of meeting the people at the History Centre it also keeps the brain active.
Creative Wiltshire volunteer, March 2020
Discover more about the Steve Day collection here