Fascinating images of Exeter's past go on display

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Fascinating images of Exeter's past go on display

Posted: 13/09/2007 20:29:13

Items from the fascinating collections of the Exeter Pictorial Record Society (EPRS) go on display next week to help publicise the continuing digitisation of the collection by the Westcountry Studies Library.

From Monday, September 17 to Sunday, September 30 two exhibitions will be on display in Exeter Central Library: one in the main entrance foyer and the other in the Westcountry Studies Library. Then both collections will be on view at the Westcountry Studies Library until Sunday, October 14.

Staff at the WSL have already put 350 images from the Society's collections online.

The wonderful collection was put together in the early 20th century to record a snapshot of all that was valuable and representative in Exeter. An enthusiastic volunteer team was charged with systematically recording material for the collection.

They photographed schools, the Cathedral, almshouses, notable civic personalities, Exeter silverware, and buildings which were set for demolition. They captured important events in the city's history such as the last tram travelling through Exeter, the opening of Rougemont Gardens and England's first summer school for children.

As well as commissioning individuals to photograph events and places in Exeter, the society accepted donations. The collection contains drawings by Alderman Widgery, sketches by the 19th century watercolour artist Arthur Glennie and drawings by Exeter surveyor Charles Bulgin. In many cases, individuals loaned pictures and the EPRS took photographic copies for their records.

Sadly, after the war money and enthusiasm ran out and the Society petered to a close. Although the collection has suffered over the years (many of the display prints show clear signs of water damage, foxing and woodworm), most of the material has survived. Perhaps most importantly, the accompanying schedules still exist which tell so much about the origins of each picture.

Devon County Council's Executive Member for Culture, Cllr Sheila Hobden, praised the work of the WSL staff in making the Society's collection easily available online.

"The images are absolutely fascinating and it is extremely timely that they have become available as we reach yet another milestone in Exeter's history with the imminent opening of the new Princesshay development next week. The Exeter Pictorial Record Society was all about valuing and recording an Exeter that was changing and being rebuilt.

"The collection also contains some wickedly sharp cartoons about local government changes which are also very topical at this time!"

Further information about the Exeter Pictorial Record Society, and links to the online images can be found on the local studies website: www.devon.gov.uk/localstudies

Permalink: http://www.thesite.co.uk/viewnewsstory.asp?newsid=2006

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