Smile project: Thanks for the memories

The Reporter’s photographic history continues to turn up forgotten pieces of Tameside history and is transporting volunteers back in time as they look to the public for memories about the pictures.

A project to digitise the Tameside Reporter’s photographic history continues to turn up forgotten pieces of Tameside History.

The Tameside SMILE! Project, which is a partnership including Tameside Council, the Reporter and Jigsaw Homes Group, is working through our back catalogue of images to give everyone a view of the past.

While their progress has been slowed by the pandemic, with volunteers unable to access the film archive, around 18,000 glass plate images have been digitised professionally. Now, the volunteers are making their way through the images, captioning them and uploading them to a dedicated website.

Jane Donaldson, Project Coordinator at the SMILE! Project, says that it’s been exciting discovering plenty about Tameside’s past.

“We’ve already had the glass plates digitised, so that’s nearly 18,000 images that have been digitised. Because we have those files back we’ve been able to send those to volunteers so they can work remotely, adding information where they can.

“We also haven’t been able to look at the digitised newspapers so some of the information we don’t have yet. Another task we can do when we are able to go back on site is to look retrospectively at the newspapers and add information such as what’s happening and the location. Until then we’re asking for anybody to have a look at the images we’re putting on Flickr and if they’re able to add any more information or give some stories, because we’ve had a lovely couple of stories.”

Many of their posts have been a hit on social media, particularly those around an old car showroom and the Black Knight pageant.

“Recently we’ve been able to put more information from the last pageant queen from the Black Knight. We’ve also been able to give more information about the locations. People have identified football teams and footballers, which we’ve been able to share on social media, and also the archive catalogue.

“We put a picture up of Monks Car Showroom and that brought back many memories of the high street, not just the car showroom, but places that were nearby that we used to visit so it was really nice to see those places that people used to visit on social media. Hopefully we can use some of the comments and information.”

The project’s Flickr page currently contains more than 1,300 images of life across Tameside.

You can view the work and leave comments on their website at https://smiletameside.wordpress.com

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