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Ripon Civic Society

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Ripon Re-Viewed


Ripon Re-Viewed is an exciting new project to preserve and digitise 10,000 photographic images revealing over a century of life in the City of Ripon. Dating from the 1880s to the 1980s, these remarkable collections record the people, places, shops, schools, traditions, celebrations, events and the everyday life of our community.

RRImage1.jpgThis Ripon Civic Society project has enjoyed financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and been supported by North Yorkshire County Council . A small group of volunteers has been working with experts to digitise thousands of images, ensure that all the original collections are properly preserved and stored, and most importantly, to create permanent online access through the Ripon Re-Viewed website, so that everyone can see and enjoy these astonishing photographs of the people, places and events that are at the heart of the City of Ripon.

About the Collections

The images that will be made accessible through Ripon Re-Viewed are made up of three separate collections, which were first brought together during the 1980s as part of a Community History Project, set up to encourage Ripon people to bring forward their own photographs to be copied to help build a complete photographic record of the city. The photographs date from the early 1900s to the 1970s, and more than 5,000 images were copied onto medium format negatives, to be catalogued, indexed and used in various outreach and exhibition work throughout the duration of the project.

At the same time, a local photographer, Douglas Atkinson, RRImage2.jpgwho was a great supporter of the project, deposited a significant number of glass plates, dating from the latter years of the 19th century and up to around 1940. The earliest sets of these images were taken by a local chemist, Bulmer Rudd, who photographed many of the key changes to buildings, streets, as well as local events in and around Ripon at the turn of the century. Doug himself continued to photograph Ripon over several decades, and much of his work was also deposited, ensuring that his collection would remain as a lasting record for the people of Ripon.

The collections, held in a variety of negative formats, from glass to acetate, and in need of conservation have been inaccessible. By undertaking vital work on the fragile original materials, Ripon Re-Viewed has ensured the long-term preservation of the collections, and is now starting to create new opportunities for everyone to access the collections.

About the Ripon Re-Viewed project 

RRImage3.jpgWhen the community project closed in 1988 the collections and information were handed to Ripon Library for safekeeping, but over time the negatives had begun to deteriorate, and were increasingly in need of conservation and long-term preservation. Through the Ripon Re-Viewed project, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, we have been able to undertake vital conservation work on the original collections, and re-house them in the correct archival conditions at North Yorkshire County Records Office. Most importantly, Ripon Re-Viewed has created a new website that gives permanent access to the collections so that everyone can see and enjoy a compelling visual record of our City over the past one hundred years.

Ripon Re-Viewed website


RIPON’s Photographic Heritage to be Preserved and Made Accessible thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund

  Thanks to National Lottery players an astonishing collection of over 6,000 images capturing the changing face of the City of Ripon over the past century is to be preserved, digitised, catalogued and made publicly accessible online..

‘Ripon Re-Viewed’ is the result of many months of work by a group of Ripon Civic Society volunteers investigating the collections of photographic negatives currently housed in Ripon Library.  From original glass plates dating from the 1890’s through to acetate negatives on a whole range of formats, these collections document life in the City through each decade of the twentieth century – the people, the places, the buildings, the industries, major events and everyday lives of the people in Ripon  - a truly remarkable record.

The Heritage Lottery Fund award of £59,000 will enable the  conservation and digitisation of the images to be undertaken with support from North Yorkshire County Record Office.  Once the digitisation is complete the original materials will be safely stored in their archive strongrooms.  The cataloguing and compiling rich descriptive information then becomes the work of volunteers from the community, working under the guidance of a Project Manager.  We hope this will be great opportunity for people to get involved – the images themselves will prompt plenty of memories and information from the people of Ripon, and collating accurate, detailed and interesting information will create the opportunity for people to search and find the images that relate to their own interests – whether it’s a particular street, a school group, or an event - they will all be available on a new, full searchable ‘Ripon Re-Viewed’ website.

In addition to the website, Ripon Civic Society will be talking to local partners to develop themed exhibitions and presentations, so there will be plenty of ‘Ripon Re-Viewed’ activities over the two years of the project.

David Winpenny, Chairman of Ripon Civic Society, says, ‘This major project will open a new window on Ripon’s past and preserve important pictures of life in the city for future generations.  I am delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded us this grant.  Thank you to them, and to North Yorkshire County Council, and especially to staff in its Library Service and Archive Service, who have been very helpful in formulating the idea.   Above all, thank you to the dedicated members of the ‘Ripon Re-Viewed’ project committee for all their hard work.  Now the real work of caring for the images begins!’

Fiona Spiers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Saving our historic archives is important as they provide such a valuable insight into the past. This project will provide volunteers and the community with the opportunity to learn new skills and find out about what life was like, and how Ripon has changed over the past 120 years.”

County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, Executive Member for the Library & Archive Service adds ‘The Ripon Re-Viewed project will enable everyone to enjoy and benefit from this fascinating visual record of Ripon’s development through the twentieth century.  The project is a great example of how the Library and Archive Service can work in partnership with the local community to open up access to previously under used collections’

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