In this digital age in which we hear everyday how archives are stored and available at the touch of a button and stored in vast caverns beneath Cheshire or temperature controlled mega-warehouses, it is easy to forget that the archiving of the Railway’s records and images has, since the KWVR first came into existence and still is to this day, been undertaken by the Railway’s dedicated Archivist. Today this unglamorous and time consuming role is undertaken by Paul Brunt.
After a Facebook conversation with several members about the photographic collection of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, Paul thought it might be time to revisit one of his articles from Push & Pull, Summer 2013 which seeks to explain his work and how the archives are looked after from the office in his house in South Yorkshire. He has not updated the article in anyway apart from the opening and last two paragraphs.
If, in reading this article, you feel you have images or documents that you would like to contribute to the archive, please get in touch and send your physical material or digital on disk to Haworth Station, marked for Paul’s attention, or by email, if the combined file sizes are not too excessive.
We are grateful for all the KWVR related media sent to us to record for posterity the achievements of our wonderful railway.
I was recently looking back through the articles I have written over the last 5 or 6 years for Push and Pull and realised I relate a lot to finding items whilst sorting, cataloguing and filing for the archives. Now, whilst this may not be the most interesting part of our hobby, I think it is time to let people know how much work goes into this simple task.
I will use the photographic archive as an example of how much work has gone into its creation and maintenance. This archive catalogue has 4 separate spreadsheets, the main catalogue, Worth Valley based locomotives, visiting steam locomotives and visiting diesel locomotives. The three sub spreadsheets are basically cut and pasted lines from the main catalogue to help find individual images.
The main catalogue is made up of 13 sections, these are:
- Worth Valley General : this is for images of general images of the railway, i.e. People and events
- Worth Valley Locomotives: Locomotives currently based on the line, includes Bahamas Locomotive Society, Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Trust, Standard 4 Locomotive Society, Vintage Carriages Trust
- Worth Valley Stations: General views of our stations and associated railway buildings and also includes Ingrow East images and the railway buildings of Keighley
- Ex-Worth Valley Stock: Locomotives and rolling stock which used to be owned or based permanently on the line but have now found homes elsewhere
- Worth Valley Carriages and Wagons: includes Bahamas Locomotive Society, Lancashire and Yorkshire Trust, Standard 4 Locomotive Society, Vintage Carriages Trust
- Worth Valley Filming: this is images of any production which has taken place or involved locomotives and stock based on the Worth Valley Railway
- Pre-preservation: images of the railway (including the old GN line as far as Ingrow East) taken prior to 1965
- Visiting locomotives: includes both steam and diesel images (these are then cut and pasted into the sub spreadsheets)
- Non KWVR photographs: images donated but have no relation to the KWVR
- Negative Strips
- Board Backed: the images here seem to have been used in displays or exhibitions
- Digital Images: this is now the largest growing section of the archives where they have been supplied on disk or CD
- Other organisations: this is where images of the Worth Valley are held by other groups and organisations nationwide where known.
Each image, or CD, receives its own unique catalogue number and description before being filed into a dedicated file for each section, also in the case of 35mm slides these are also scanned into the computer for ease of looking through when required.
The details recorded for each image are: – Individual reference number, description, where the image located, date, year or era the image was taken, Print or slide, colour or black and white, size (6 x 4, 10 x 8, 35mm slide), Orientation (landscape or portrait), Photographer (where known), any other information (copyright recorded on the image etc).
Below is a standard entry of Worth Valley locomotives section from the spreadsheet as an example.
This is the catalogue entry of the Featured Image at the head of this article.
At the time of writing there is a total of 14,938 images catalogued, the following lists the amount of images in each section:
- Worth Valley General : 1792
- Worth Valley Locomotives: 6657
- Worth Valley Stations: 424
- Ex-Worth Valley Stock: 608
- Worth Valley Carriages and Wagons: 232
- Worth Valley Filming: 130
- Pre-preservation: 217
- Visiting Locomotives: 2156
- Non KWVR photographs: 914
- Negative Strips: 274
- Board Backed: 111
- Digital Images: 1423 (this is not the total figure as there are still 26 CD’s out of 87 still to catalogue)
For the rest of the archives there are catalogues covering various aspects, all of which have their own amount of detail required for cataloguing. I hope this gives people an idea of how intensive and extensive the archivist role actually is.
Since first writing this for the Summer 2013 Push & Pull the collection of photographs has now enlarged to over 17,000 images.