News archive holds magical pictures of the past

More than a decade ago, the Express & StarUniversity of Wolverhampton and City of Wolverhampton Council archives service joined forces to digitise historic photos from the newspaper archive, writes Osborn director Chris Leggett.

The Express & Star photo archive has been described as one of the most important regional photograph collections in the country, as it includes photographs of royal visits and speeches by Prime Ministers, through to images of local ways of everyday life which have been replaced in the modern world.

On Thursday (Feb 4), a digital talk brought the story up to date as part of the University’s ArtsFest.
The panel included some of the leading participants in the project, which was backed by hundreds of days of volunteer work, including Heidi McIntosh and Scott Knight – and me.

Around 3,000 images of the history of the industrial past of the Black Country and its surrounding areas were initially preserved for future generations and published on the website: photo-archive.expressandstar.co.uk

After several years of work, the Express & Star Photographic Collection partnership received a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to produce a website and digitise photographs dating back over the past century.

The work realises the partnership’s ambition of making the photographs available through a single web portal, allowing free online public access to the unrivalled images of local events – momentous and everyday – for the first time.

If you missed the Artsfest webinar, covering the progress in preserving iconic news images from the past including the 1980s visit by “the Greatest” Muhammad Ali to the West Midlands, you can watch the video now.