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Discovering new images from a family archive

As you may be aware when Know Your Place Worcester was launched earlier this year, it included the fantastic Community Layer, enabling local people to share material from their own collection, such as photographs, memories and knowledge. We have been delighted over the last few weeks to see a wealth of photographic material appearing, uploaded by David White, from his father Alan’s collection. Here David tells the story…

An early selfie by Alan White

“One of the products of the pandemic lockdowns in early 2020 was that many of us had time on our hands. This prompted me to start scanning, restoring and cataloguing my father’s collection of negatives and slides that he took back in the late 1950s… It has been an enormous task which is still ongoing!

My father Alan White was a Worcester citizen and when first married lived in Church Walk near Tybridge Street in St Johns, hence many of the early photographs were taken within easy walking distance including Cripplegate, the cathedral, High Street and Diglis. He later moved in the early 1960s to the Elbury Park area before a move to Northamptonshire in the late 1980s. His photograph collection continued to grow right through to the 1990s, but unfortunately few of the later ones were taken in Worcester.

An evocative image looking out onto College Green on a snowy day in the 1950s

Alan was a keen amateur photographer and he started taking photos in the 1950s. When money was tight in the post war period and having also married and started a family, he still managed to purchase a 35mm camera together with darkroom equipment for developing and printing his own pictures. He entered some of his pictures into local exhibitions and competitions.

Quite a few of the negatives and slides are in need of restoration, I seem to remember that as a child in the 1960s I was allowed to play with them and undoubtedly some damage was done with finger marks, dust and scratches. The colour slides had also deteriorated and many had lost or changed colour. So, after scanning the negatives and slides the resultant files or digital photos were opened into Photoshop where I was able to use various “tools” to sympathetically restore many of them. A few of the black and white pictures have been suitable for being “colourised” to add a bit of atmosphere and detail. A lot of hard work, but well worth it as I have been able to share these images with family members who have never seen them before and also on Know Your Place and various Facebook groups.

It is possible that Alan might be remembered by a few people still living in Worcester. As well as being a keen amateur photographer and gardener, he worked at the Post Office from his teens right through until moving to Northamptonshire. He was a City Councillor in the 1960s and was very active in the Scout Association. My father, now in his late 80s, is absolutely delighted that his photos taken over 60 years ago have been brought up to date and can bring memories, interest and delight to people of all ages.

I hope you have enjoyed finding and viewing the photos that have so far been uploaded to the Know Your Place (Worcester) website. There are many more that will be added over the next few weeks (or months?) ….as soon as they have been restored! So don’t forget to keep visiting the website and exploring the “green diamonds” on the community layer.”

A huge thankyou to David for the amazing contributions he is making to the site – everything from iconic views of the Cathedral to city parks and the Worcester Carnival. And of course a massive thankyou to Alan for his incredible photographs – we are so excited that these can be made available for all to enjoy. Explore the site to discover more!

2 replies on “Discovering new images from a family archive”

Thank you to Sheena Payne-Lunn for accepting all the photos on the KYP site. There are many hundreds of photos there… viewing them is a great way to learn lots of new things about the wonderful City of Worcester…. a couple of top tips for when you use the KYP site and the maps (of course after you’ve read the blog post above 🙂 ) 1. When on the KYP site make sure to click on ALL of the checkboxes under the word “List” in the pop out box. 2. Click on the green diamonds to see the photos (or the circles of little dots) 3. Click on the word “Search” on the same box and enter the word “White” to the the 80+ photos that I have recently uploaded. 4. Put the kettle on and make a brew, you’ll spend a happy few hours looking at all the photos and facts about “Old Worcester”.

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Great photo of the back of the newly built houses in Kirkstone Drive, we moved into Number 36 in 1960 and I’m trying to place your family David.

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