Widecombe History Group Talk on the work of The Dartmoor Archive

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Natalie Gibbs, Project Manager of The Dartmoor Archive gave the meeting an illustrated talk about the aims, contents, contributors and support received to date for this innovative project.

This was set up originally with funding from The Dartmoor Trust who had in turn received funding from a legacy. The Trust also received support from Dartmoor National Park Authority, The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Devon County Council. The group was particularly interested in the activities of the Dartmoor Archives as our past chairman Peter Hirst had left the bulk of his estate to The Dartmoor Trust some £300,000 or thereabouts.

Peter had a great love of Dartmoor and it now appears that the interest from this donation will be used by the Trust to support the activities of the Dartmoor Archive in recording as many images of Dartmoor as possible so that world-wide access can be obtained to the photographs for research and education.

The Archive’s activities are being coordinated at The University of Exeter by a team led by Natalie and the contents can be viewed on www.ex.ac.uk/dartmoor-archive or contact can be made on (+44) 01392 264308 or by writing to The Dartmoor Archive, University of Exeter, Queen’s Building, The Queen’s Drive, Exeter EX4 4QH. Email: dartmoor-archive @ exeter.ac.uk

To date the core of the archive consists of photographs from two historic collections and about 40 other sources. The Taylor collection and the collection from Robert Burnard and some photographs obtained from S. W. Water Authority make up a great proportion of the archive. The procedure is that photographs are digitised and held on CD-Rom to preserve them for future generations.

It is hoped that this procedure will conserve these images, some in a fragile state, for future generations to view and encourage anyone who has old photographs to loan the originals to the Archives to copy and return so as to provide a unique reference for future researchers and students alike.

Examples of the pictures so far recorded were shown to the meeting and the archivists are keen to get people with local knowledge to view these images and if they recognise where and what these pictures represent, give them the accurate information that they need.

The range of photographs shown covered archaeological sites, social history, agricultural practices, traditional events like fairs and festivals as well as landscapes, railways and buildings. Some of the pictures have accurate details of where and when they were taken, examples like The Church House, Widecombe, dated 1889 and listed as The Alms Houses, another Dartmoor character Daniel Leaman 1888 were exciting.

It is when these images are shown to the public that realisation of the importance of a project of this kind can be truly appreciated.

The Dartmoor Archive is continuing to look for help particularly from local communities. They would like to hear from anyone with old photographs that they may borrow for digitisation and the original photographs will be returned to their rightful owners, All those who loan material can be assured that the greatest of care will be taken of the material loaned and any copyright fully respected.

The project team are also looking for volunteers with computor skills and experience to help with this work.

To further awareness of this project, various Roadshows and Exhibitions will be held during this summer. It will be a chance for people to use the digital archive and view some of the 6000 historical images already recorded. It is also hoped that visitors will be able to add to the information regarding some of these pictures and hopefully people will bring along their own photographs which after copying will be immediately returned to them.

During May anyone interested can visit:-
The Dartmoor Archive Roadshow & Exhibition at:-
Buckland Abbey, Friday 12th May 10.30a.m. - 5.30p.m.
Finch’s Foundry, Sticklepath, Thursday 18th May 11.00a.m. - 5.30p.m.

Further venues and dates will be publicised.

So ended an interesting presentation.

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The information on this page was last modified on March 18 2013 12:55:39.

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