Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Looking Back on a Tyne Gone by; LOCAL GROUP READY TO PRESERVE PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY OF AREA

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Looking Back on a Tyne Gone by; LOCAL GROUP READY TO PRESERVE PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY OF AREA

Article excerpt

Byline: By MATTHEW SPARKES

A HANDFUL of volunteers in a tiny Tyneside office are working to preserve the history of Newcastle's West End for future generations.

The history buffs are scanning and archiving 150,000 fascinating historical photographs.

And they know they won't be finished until 2019.

Westgate Pictured Archive Stories and Tales (PAST) was set up to capture and protect images of Newcastle throughout the ages, as well as document modern Newcastle for future generations.

But the group of volunteers now face the biggest task in their short history - scanning an archive of 150,000 images shot by professional photographers from the Ward Philipson Group publishing company, based in Newcastle.

From images of Northumberland farmers tossing hay into a wagon to the heavy industrial construction of the Tyne Bridge, the eclectic images provide a snapshot of North East life from times past, when Newcastle was the industrial powerhouse of the UK.

The lighter side of life is also well covered, with sepia-toned pictures of children cavorting through the streets in antiquated clothes and a pair of lovers picnicking atop a deserted and crumbling stone bridge. One shows that some things never change; a particularly stern looking woman tells off a group of small children, wagging her finger accusingly.

Volunteer Bill Rosser, 73, said: "Our main aim is to preserve the past and record history as it is happening now.

"The pictures form an archive of life in the North East. It is commercial photography, so it includes ship launches, adverts and fashion. It will form a valuable archive for anyone who is researching any aspect of life.

"We don't really know how far back they go."

Mr Rosser got involved with Westgate PAST several years ago after seeing a story in the Evening Chronicle, and has been one of the keenest volunteers ever since. …

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