Ripon Re-Viewed is an exciting new project to preserve and digitise over 7,000 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.
With support from Ripon Civic Society, the Heritage Lottery Fund and North Yorkshire County Council, a small group of volunteers have 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.
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 over 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, Mr. Douglas Atkinson, who was a great supporter of the project, deposited a significant number of glass plates, dating from the latter years of the 19th century, and covering a period 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.
However, the collections are currently inaccessible, held in a variety of negative formats, from glass to acetate, and in need of conservation. By undertaking vital work on the fragile original materials, we will ensure the long-term preservation of the collections, as well as creating new opportunities for everyone to access the collections.
When the community project closed in 1988, the collections and information were handed over 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.