A project to save thousands of photos depicting life in the borough in Edwardian times has been boosted by crucial lottery funding.

The two year scheme which aims to preserve photographs taken in the 19th century by a Sutton resident will continue because of a £95,000 donation by The Heritage Lottery Fund.

11,000 glass plate negatives taken between 1904 and 1917 by David Knights-Whittome who lived in the borough and ran a shop on Sutton High Street will be cleaned, researched digitized, researched, catalogued and made available to the public because of the funding announced this week.

Councillor Jill Whitehead, chairwoman of Sutton Council’s environmental and neighbourhoods committee, said: "This is an exciting project which will involve local people learning new skills and playing an important role in preserving Sutton’s rich heritage. I hope as many people as possible get involved and I look forward to seeing the vast collection being made available to the public."

The pictures depict Sutton residents as well as stately homes throughout the UK and Europe.

There are also images of three generations of the Royal family, local and regional schools, colleges and theatre groups and weddings.

Sutton Archives is recruiting a team of volunteers who will be trained to handle, digitize, catalogue and research the images. Volunteers will also contribute to a blog which will record the project.

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Residents and historians will also be able to use the photos to trace their World War One ancestry and learn how to care for their own photo collections.

The project will also work with Sutton Mencap involving people with learning disabilities using the images as an inspiration for their own artwork.



The photo collection was discovered in the basement of 18 High Street, Sutton in 1978, that is now home to shop Shoe Repairs.

The Heritage Lottery Fund is also keen to fund other projects in Sutton that preserve the borough’s heritage. Local organisations are encouraged to contact Helen Greer at the Heritage Lottery Fund for more information: Helen.greer@hlf.org.uk.

Anyone who would like to volunteer on the project should contact Kath Shawcross Borough Archivist k.shawcross@sutton.gov.uk

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