I had an interesting trip to the National Railway Museum since we last spoke. Our new Photographic Archivist, Dave Richardson, and I, were invited to see the work being done by the Scottish railways group to record and detail the photographs in the Museum’s collection.
They have established a very good working relationship with the archivists at the NRM and they are photographing the negatives they have located and are then adding the information into their new database system. We are hoping to establish a similar system for our own prints and whilst the purpose of this exercise is to build up a record of new images, we have an established collection and it would be a matter of working with what we already have to provide a simpler way of finding images in our collection.
A spin-off from this process will be the ability to include small thumbnails of the images within the database so that any search made will provide an idea of what the photographs show.
It would be perhaps worthwhile us trying to establish a similar working group to look at what is available of Cumbrian interest in the NRM collection. If you live locally to York and can spare a few hours to work on our behalf, we would be very pleased to hear from you.
The visit to the NRM also gave Dave and I a chance to have a chat about the photographic collection and the way we see it being developed and used. Dave has some great ideas on how we can push forward with the collection and use its content to the advantage of the membership as a whole.
It is worth making the point that the NRM now consider specialist groups as an asset and not an encumbrance as they used to do. They now go out of their way to be helpful and are willing to put in the effort to make any trip worthwhile.
I also took the chance to have a look at some documents to help me finalise my story of the headlamps used by the Furness Railway and I found sufficient new stuff to make the story clearer than it was.
In my last piece I put forward the idea of special interest groups based on the individual lines in our area. I still feel it is an idea well worth exploring and I would be glad to hear from anyone who is prepared to act as a focal point for such groups. There is still so much to learn about the myriad of railways in Cumbria and pooling effort into their research would make great strides possible.
The coverage contained in this issue has, in the main, a more ‘modern’ flavour, covering as it does events that have recently happened in the county. This is supported by some follow-up notes on articles that have been previously featured within these pages. The more historic articles which we like to run are a bit sparse at the moment, but it is true to say that, by members submitting more up-to-date articles it reflects more their interests, which is not a bad thing.
A Journal like ours needs a reliable flow of material and whilst I have a number of great pieces to use in forthcoming issues, more would be nice. Some organisations like ours have a team of people willing to write articles; either as individuals or as part of a team effort and it would be nice if we could do the same. I leave the thought with you!!
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