Archive Volunteer Michael

Michael has spent lockdown finalising the massive project he undertook to digitise every single record of the original Clevedon Pier Company which built the pier. This near complete set of records has been held by the Elton family since the pier was taken over by the local council – Sir Arthur Elton was the chairman of the Clevedon Pier Company. 

There are over 300 items from the Clevedon Pier Company business records already digitised but this doesn’t give a true extent of the work as some items are large ledgers with up to 100 pages – all of which have needed careful handling in order to create digital copies.

And the work doesn’t stop there.  Images are taken of each document using a tripod, remote camera control and external lighting at a 20megapixel resolution.  The best image is selected and then post processed which involves cropping the image, checking alignment, removing any marks and optimising the light balance to faithfully reflect the colours of the original document. 

Archive Vol Michael doing a great digitisation job in challenging circumstances.

Below are just three digitised pages of an extremely old and frail document held in the Clevedon Pier Company collection. We can only reproduce compressed images here but the digital originals are very high quality and ‘zoomable’ to aid with reading and transcribing.

The original documents will be returned to the private collection that holds them but this exciting development means digital copies will be available for anyone to see, read, research and enjoy. We plan for this large project to come to fruition in 2021.  Watch out for posting of more examples of Michael’s digitisation work on the Clevedon Pier Company records over the next few weeks.

An exciting discovery through digitisation of the original pier engineering plans from 1864……….on this link.

In Lockdown Michael has also, along with Bette, been getting training from the National Archive Sector Development Team in how to get our growing digital collection online – linked into our online catalogue which can be found at  Browse records of Clevedon Pier Catalogue | The National Archives  We’re delighted to report that Michael has been accepted on the joint National Archive/Digital Preservation Coalition online course ‘NoviceTo KnowHow’ – part of the National Archive’s Plugged In Powered Up Strategy which is supporting the archive sector with training in digital preservation.

Read a bit more about Digital Preservation of two lovely items on this link.

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