In 2000, at the point of the internet boom, somebody at Sheffield City Council’s Archives and Local Studies department had the foresight to start digitalising its vast collections.
Picture Sheffield turned out to be one of the first digital resource libraries in the UK, and as it celebrates its twentieth anniversary, it remains one of the country’s best photographic anthologies.
The service collects and preserves original records and printed material relating to Sheffield and its surrounding area, dating from the 12th century to the present.
In these days of lockdown, Picture Sheffield can provide hours of endless free entertainment and shows us how things used to look, how our ancestors appeared and how the city has evolved.
For historians, it is a valuable point of reference, and on a personal level, I have spent ages examining photographs of buildings and streets to check bygone information.
It is estimated there are well over 60,000 local images available to view, boosted by last year’s acquisition of over 2,000 images from the Tim Hale Photographic Collection, bought with help of public donations (£2,500 bestowed within days) and a £5,000 grant from the J.G. Graves Charitable Trust.
Picture Sheffield is a non-profit making service and income received from picture sales and donations is used to cover the cost of managing and developing the service which includes adding over 100 extra images a month.
Go to Picture Sheffield