A Surprise Visit!

We had a fabulous Heritage Open Days weekend – it is such a pleasure introducing people to the history of Winters, and learning about your own experiences of having photographs taken in the studio. This year though, we had the most brilliant surprise – a visit from a great-grandchild of W W Winter himself! Sam popped over from the other side of the world and spent a few days here with us at the studio. He was kind enough to send us the following tribute after his departure…

The Magic of Winters

There are times in the journey of life when it seems that we are on a river that flows gently and sweetly through a land of forest and undulating grasslands. But rivers, as does life, have times of chaos, danger, heartache and pain before the current sweeps through into areas of peace, areas of rest – sections of a river where we can ease onto a grassy bank and recover and reflect on the journey that we have just undertaken. Some of those places have a certain magic about them. A peace that soothes the wounds of life and gives glimpses of a heritage that is both greater than you, and yet is you.

My past nine months have been filled with heartache, unfulfilled hopes and deep loss. On impulse, I directed myself from Australia to W.W. Winters Ltd in Derby. A place, I hoped, would help me find peace and purpose in my life; because for me, Winters Ltd was not only a journey into my past, but thanks to the beautiful people that make up Winters Ltd today, an anchor for my future.

There is a magic to Winters, and I cannot say for sure that it is sourced from the people who are Winters now, or whether it is the amazing building itself which is filled with history, lost rooms and unexplained and non-aligned joining’s and filled in archways. Or, perhaps, it lies in the 152 years of images that line the rooms and corridors and speak of a time long past yet also of today.

I have no sense of loss whatsoever from my great-grandfather W.W. Winter selling the business in 1910 to Messer’s Shepherd and King. Rather I am filled with appreciation for the current owners and staff both for their skill in photography and running the business, and for their passion in realising W.W. Winters as an integral part of not just Derby’s, but England’s history.

There is a magic to Winter’s – and I am blessed because of it.

Thank you.

Sam

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.

 

Dr Michael Pritchard – Derby, The Royal Photographic Society and the History of Photography

The Trust was delighted to host a highly information and equally enjoyable talk from Dr Michael Pritchard of The Royal Photographic Society. His talk covers the history of photography through the lens of Derby’s involvement.

The talked was filmed by Dr Mark Hall (senior lecturer in commercial photography at Derby University). We are grateful to both Michael and Mark for allowing us to share the video on our blog.

If you like what you see, please consider becoming a member of The W W Winter Heritage Trust, or a heritage volunteer, to ensure the conservation of our archive continues. Contact us on friends@wwwinter.co.uk or phone W W Winter Photographers on +44 1332 345224.

Please note this talk is copyrighted to Dr Michael Pritchard – please contact us if you would like to host the talk on your own platform.

https://derby.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?tid=b8ed8f4b-7268-4358-8563-a9b401815351

Dr Michael Pritchard Talk 12 December 2018
Dr Michael Pritchard of The Royal Photographic Society gives a talk for The W W Winter Heritage Trust on Wednesday 12 December 2018 at Derby University. Image thanks to Dr Mark Hall.