Firstly, a little information about the Suffolk Local History Council (SLHC) of which The Ipswich Society is a member and is represented on its Executive Committee. The SLHC is the umbrella organisation which shelters a wide range of local societies - historical, archaeological, transport, museums - for whom the Council disseminates information on their interests through its Newsletter, its Calendar of Events and its journal The Suffolk Review. Individuals as well as societies can become members and receive all these publications. Once a year it organises a weekend school at Belstead House. The work of present-day recorders is another aspect of the Council's umbrella activity - what is recorded today becomes the history of tomorrow! SLHC also has a very informative website.
And so to the project! Do you want to help? An opportunity for Ipswich Society members to be involved! Now read on....
The Suffolk Photographic Survey - well over 20,000 items and still growing - owes its existence to the work of the SLHC in the early 1950s, in encouraging people to give or loan early photographs to form a pictorial record of Suffolk life in both town and country. Through the dedicated work of organiser/collector Bob Pratt, under the aegis of the SLHC, the collection had grown to such an extent that by 1976 it was transferred into the care of the Suffolk Record Office and housed at the Ipswich branch, Gatacre Road, where it can be consulted through the use of the accompanying card index. And it is the upgrading of this card index on to a computer database that forms the SLHC's 50th anniversary project and for which volunteers are sought.
There are two sides to the work, and volunteers can be involved in both or either. Firstly, each photograph has to be viewed, described and categorised. When this has been done the results are fed into the Record Office database. When completed it will be possible, using any descriptive words you wish, to search for relevant photographs on a much wider and detailed basis than the present card index offers.
Volunteers meet once a week on Thursday mornings at the Ipswich branch of the Record Office for about two and a half hours. It is not necessary to attend every week, but it would be an advantage to attend as regularly as possible, and certainly two or three weeks running at the beginning to get used to the system, and when individual one-to-one tuition will be given.
If any member would like to help, please contact the SLHC Hon Secretary, Jonathan Abson on (01473) 725402.
RUTH SERJEANT, The Ipswich Society Representative, SLHC