Volunteer blog

Our next instalment from Joanna on the experience of volunteering as well as her insights and knowledge of W W Winter:

Last week I wrote about cleaning and archiving glass plate negatives; another part of my time at Winter’s has been tidying, sorting and cleaning artefacts. Winter’s is full of rooms, cubby holes, and roof spaces, and the cellar. When I first came to Winter’s I found it hard to work out which roof space belonged to which bit and which room was where in relation to the others! When the new post office block was built in the 1960s Winter’s buildings were sadly curtailed. There is information about the ‘lost rooms’ on the wall at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the retouching room. Articles from these rooms were pushed into what space remained and many of the plate negatives ended up in a pile of broken glass in the cellar.

Helped by Louisa’s lovely Mum I set about cleaning, sorting and listing many of the artefacts that had been found. These could be letters, documents, boxes of paints, pencils, brushes, bottles, cases for carrying equipment …….the list is endless, also the larger items, props, furniture and photographic equipment.  We did wonder why there was a pair of black nylon stockings – apparently they made excellent light filters – and a cream maker (! ) we haven’t worked that one out yet. Armed with the natural hair brushes and e-cloths we attempted to remove years of grime and restore some order in this wonderful place

 

Volunteer blog

This period of social isolating in the UK has meant that the incredible efforts of our volunteers have had to be paused. We have invited them to share with you some of their experiences which hopefully will give you an insight into the experience of volunteering at Winter’s. We’re really missing our little heritage family and look forward to things returning to normal; but in the meantime, please enjoy our heritage blog posts!

We (Malcolm and Joanna) have been volunteers at Winter’s for over four years now. He came because of his interest in photography and me because ”we would like to find out about the history of the place and the families who owned and worked at the business.”

Armed with green then blue rubber gloves and natural fibre brushes we have cleaned what seems like hundreds of glass plate negatives – who knew tar sprayers came in so many varieties (with and without chimneys, with metal rimmed wheels, wheels with tyres, big wheels, small wheels. And the negative numbers … Negative numbers presumably started at 1 when the business started and continued in a consecutive manner until a new system was introduced in 1959 , using the last two year numbers as a prefix hence 631234 was photographed in 1963! All the information is entered into a computer and the glass negatives scanned.

Then there is the print collection, and the equipment, as well as open days, exhibitions and projects……….More about some of those next time.

Volunteer Blog

More from one of our brilliant volunteers – does anyone recognise themselves from the photos?

Where are they now? – Nick Allen

I’m one of the volunteers here at the W.W.Winter photographic studio on Midland Road, Derby. My wife and I are part of a small team of volunteers helping to clean, scan and catalogue thousands of glass plate negatives which are part of the W.W.Winter Trust.
In just over 6 months we’ve collated almost 7 boxes of glass sides dating from the late 1940’s up through the 50’s, that’s about 1500 separate images. Most of the images have been of weddings and portraits but every so often you find a rare gem amongst the general photography.
Whilst scanning today we came across a series of head and shoulders portraits taken in the studio in 1948, which we believe were of a dance troop. All were photographs of females including young girls and adults, all similarly dressed as if for a musical show. The glass negatives had been masked off and we believe they may have been publicity photographs or taken for a show programme. We also believe the dance school was based in the Friar Gate area and we’d love to hear from anyone who may recognise someone from the photographs shown! Contact us on friends@wwwinter.co.uk

Scans from the masked off negatives from The W W Winter heritage Archive
Scans from the masked off negatives from The W W Winter Heritage Archive

 

Volunteer Blog

We are lucky to have a number of volunteers working with the Heritage Trust – an invaluable resource to any charity. Here is a snapshot from one of our current volunteers, Nick, to give you an idea of what goes on in the background:

I’ve been interested in photography for as long as I can remember so when I was given the opportunity to volunteer at W.W.Winter at Midland Road in Derby I jumped at the chance. Having just retired I wanted something to keep my mind active but also to be involved in something useful. I persuaded my wife, Sue, to join me in this little challenge and together we attended an enrolment evening at Winters where we were led through a portal into the past, a history of photography in Derby. Well, my appetite was well and truly whetted and I couldn’t wait to get started. Sue and I attended a further brief session at Midland Road along with several other like-minded friends of the W.W.Winter Heritage Trust where we were shown how to clean, sort, scan and log glass plate negatives; it’s a mammoth task.

Archive image of vehicles from W W Winter
One of the old images from W W Winter of old tractors, scanned and archived by Nick and Sue

There are thousands of glass negatives dating back to the early years of W. W. Winter. So far Sue and I have helped to catalogue hundreds of glass plates, mainly from the 40’s/50’s. There are a lot of weddings and domestic events to catalogue but every now and again a commercial gem appears. Sue and I have just scanned several glass slides of machinery and vehicles involved in a land drainage scheme near Ashbourne in 1956; a little mundane you may think but the vehicles and machinery of are of interest to me, so the research of a particular area or event, or even the company involved, sit side by side with the photographs as some documentation still exists.

From the same image, a Land Rover, a van, and a truck

At the moment my wife and I spend one morning per week at Midland Road and I can honestly say it’s an enjoyable and interesting experience cleaning, scanning and logging glass negatives which were last looked at over 60 years ago. My wife enjoys seeing the clothes worn during the period, my interest is the vehicles so we both derive pleasure from the experience whilst offering our time.

As a retired fireman I’m hoping that one day I’ll come across old firefighting equipment or fire stations lost and forgotten both Borough, City and hopefully private brigades.