Thousands of incredible early photos that give a glimpse of Victorian life in the industrial north of England have been saved by a museum.
The haul of over 2,600 “magic lantern” slides showing Bradford, West Yorks., in the late 1800s and early 1900s has been acquired by the National Science and Media Museum.
The stunning photos shot on an early camera, reveal what life was like for local people after industrialization when the city became the ‘Wool capital of the world.’
The images were produced by posing models, who were either volunteers or the photographer’s family and friends, with props or in real-life settings.
They show several landmarks around Bradford that still exist today – including the former banking hall on Hustlergate Street.
The magic lantern is an early type of projector that uses artificial light, from a bulb or candle flame, to show hand-painted images, prints or photographs on a glass slide.
They were first developed in the 17th century but were commonly used until the mid-20th century as a popular form of entertainment and precursor to film technologies.
The newly acquired collection is now being documented, photographed, treated, rehoused, and stored by the museum.
And they will later be added to its extensive collection of magic lantern slides.
Vanessa Torres, the conservator at the National Science and Media Museum, said she was thrilled that the museum was preserving this unique snapshot of history.
“Our collections are constantly growing, and new acquisitions can take on many different shapes and sizes,” said Torres.
“When we acquired this large collection of magic lantern slides, it was a truly a cross-department effort to document, conserve, and digitize the objects to ensure that these fascinating images can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone,” said Torres.
The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, opened in 1983 and has since become one of the most visited UK museums outside London.
It draws on more than three million objects from its national collection to explore the science and culture of image and sound technologies and their impact on our lives.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager