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Salisbury Museum now has an extraordinary collection of local images as a result of the recent acquisition of the Salisbury Journal archive.

They are mostly in negative form.  These negatives are slowly being scanned and put into a computer database in high definition jpeg format.

Most of the images are just within living memory.  However the commentary with the images is very limited.  Thus as much information as possible is being collected from long-time Salisbury residents and added to the metadata within the jpeg images.   What is jpeg metadata you ask?  You used to have to keep a separate notebook describing each image.  You can now put this data within the jpeg computer file.  Thus if you have the appropriate software, all you need is the jpeg image file and not only can you see the image but also read all about it.  No longer does one have the problem of losing the index book and hence not knowing details about the image.

Museum volunteers have already scanned all the images for the years 1953-7 and 1963-6.  I thought I would show you two of these images.  There is a set showing what it was like to be on an archaeology dig in the 1950s.  My favourite is included here, called “Making tea for the workers on a dig near Stonehenge in the 1950s”.  It is the detail that has dated.  On the pint glass milk bottle you can see a triangle.  This was a red Percy Churchfields dairy symbol.  Galvanised buckets were common, no plastic.  Wooden handled garden forks rather than plastic handled.  Galvanised drinking mugs for, I suspect, tea only, no coffee.  The galvanised tin shed for storage.  No luxury of a table and chairs.

Dig at Stonehenge

The second photograph here shows the then director of the Museum, Hugh Shortt, when it was in St Ann Street in 1958, showing the Roman mosaic to a group of Russian visitors.  Note the director wore a suit with a waistcoat in those days.  The ceiling is very high with windows for light above the picture rail.  Cabinets and display cases don’t seem too different from today.  You can see one lady has her wet film camera in its leather case over her shoulder.  No iPhones or such, paper and pencils instead.

Old museum

(Editor’s comment: That archaeology site tea-making actually looks very familiar in 2016!)