Press Release - HLF Project, 17th January 2011

Press Release - 17th January 2011

Heritage Lottery Fund Development Grant Awarded to Expanding Community Archive -

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a Heritage Grant to the Plymouth Barbican Association (PBA) South West Image Bank (SWiB) following a successful round two application. The award marks the culmination of 21 months concentrated research, planning and consultancy work on the project bid.

The project, which will run for two years, will see the relocation of Image Bank from the ground floor of a small sixteenth-century town house, situated in a quiet area of the Barbican, to a larger three-storey property owned by the Association located in the very heart of the Barbican at 25 The Parade, next to the former studio of the late artist Robert Lenkiewicz.

The move will enable the Image Bank to meet increasing public demand and will also provide significantly improved access to and interpretation of the region’s visual heritage. A major part of the project will be the creation of a large communal research facility, a formal onsite gallery and visual interpretation area, and the establishment of a fixed-term outreach assistant to deliver an extensive programme of community learning and participation based activities in collaboration with other heritage and educational establishments.

SWiB has grown remarkably since being set up by the Plymouth Barbican Association in 2007 after the Association took custody of over 2 million photographic negatives from the Western Morning News picture library. Heritage Lottery Funding was first acquired at that time specifically to digitise over 20,000 of the Western Morning News negatives. A qualified Archivist was appointed to manage the archive and with the support of a dedicated team of volunteers SWiB has worked to develop public access to the collection. Funded entirely by the Association with some income generated by copy orders; and through a series of small external community grants to support specific exhibition projects - SWiB has subsequently acquired over one hundred other photographic collections. Furthermore it has delivered some thirty illustrated, external talks; dealt with hundreds of research enquiries and offered learning opportunities to thirty volunteers including college and university students and individuals with learning difficulties.

Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: “These photographic collections provide an incredible record of Plymouth and the local area. The scale and scope of subjects are remarkable, and is important that everyone has the chance to explore and enjoy these wonderful collections, whilst ensuring they are preserved for future generations to come.”

Duncan Godefroy, Chairman, Plymouth Barbican Association said: “The PBA’s record of acquiring, preserving and protecting many of the Barbican’s historic properties has long been recognised by the Civic Trust and others as being very successful, but protecting Plymouth’s heritage is not just about old buildings. When the PBA learned that much of the photographic evidence of Plymouth’s past in the form of the WMN negatives was threatened with destruction, it established SWiB to preserve and protect these valuable records and to make them available to the general public. We now have 132 photographic collections on board. Such has been its success over the last three years with an ever increasing demand for its services, it became apparent that SWiB needed to expand thereby ensuring that it is able to further preserve and protect the Region’s rich visual heritage and to make it available to the public. It is great that SWiB has been put under tremendous scrutiny by the HLF and subsequently deemed to be worthy of a second and even more substantial grant award.”

Chris Robinson, a long-serving Director of the Association said: ”This latest grant is fantastic news. The Plymouth Barbican Association set up SWIB as a way of marking the first 50 years of the Association and it was an initiative our sole surviving founding member, Peter Stedman, was particularly pleased with, sadly he’s no longer with us, but he would have been enormously proud of the progress that has been made already. This grant enables SWIB to take another huge step forward and put it at the forefront of visual archiving in the south west.”

Stacey Dyer, Archivist/Manager, SWiB said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help us undertake this project. It’s fantastic that a community based organisation like SWiB is being recognised for the good work we have already undertaken in and around the City, and furthermore, enormously satisfying to know that, through this funding award, the benefits of that ongoing work and the interpretive value of all the collections in our care will now be fully realised.”

BBC Radio Devon's Gordon Sparks is one of the existing regular contributors to the living archive section of the South West Image Bank and is delighted at the news: "I think it's wonderful that the massive collections that record the history of the city will be made even more accessible. Anyone that has an interest in Plymouth and the South West will be amazed at the memories that can be revived by choosing to see the area in which they live or particular events that have taken place over hundreds of years."

Alan Qualtrough, Editor of Western Morning News said: “Well done SWiB, it is a remarkable collection which needs to be preserved for the region.”

For further information about the SWiB project please contact: Stacey Dyer, Archivist/Manager of the South West Image Bank, (01752) 665445 / email: moc.tcennoctb|knabegamiWS#moc.tcennoctb|knabegamiWS / Image Building Project Page (SWiB website):

Note for editors:

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms our heritage. Through their grant making, HLF aims to conserve the UK’s diverse heritage for present and future generations to experience and enjoy; help more people, and a wider range of people, to take an active part in and make decisions about their heritage; and help people to learn about their own and other people’s heritage. HLF has supported more than 28,800 projects, allocating over £4.3 billion across the UK, including over £410 million to the South West alone.

Further Links:

HLF Project - Background & Overview
HLF Pre-Project Delivery, Planning & Development
HLF Project Delivery - Further Development Work
Press Release (HLF Project) - 30th March 2010
News feature - 22nd January 2011


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