Since starting in my Digitisation Assistant role in September 2014, one of the projects I have inherited and continued to work on has been to research a collection of four 19th century scrapbooks. These scrapbooks were handpicked by Elizabeth Carter after a visit to King's Manor Special Collections, which are now housed in the Raymond Burton Library. Although each of the scrapbooks has a different compiler, they are connected by common themes such as architecture, travel and York history. The Digital York team is pleased to present these scrapbooks to you in a new digital showcase:
The first scrapbook, entitled 'Scrapbooks of architectural photographs from various countries', is an impressive collection of photographs of cathedral architecture. These images were collected and compiled by George Wilson, about whom we know very little. You can read the detective work that went into working out who he was and why he had such an large collection of images of mostly French cathedrals, each one annotated and organised into groups of architectural features. Captured within the scrapbook are hundreds of cathedral interiors and exteriors, and even a handful of images that capture the effects of wartime bombardments on these buildings.
|Reims Cathedral west front after a bombardment|
|York Minster architectural features|
The scrapbook that we have in our Special Collections contains some of his intricate drawings from his work in York, as well as a written description of his observations.
Also featured in our showcase is a scrapbook compiled by William Wilberforce Morrell. This scrapbook contains an eclectic mixture of images, including photographs from around York, cathedral architecture and illustrations collected from travels abroad. Kath Webb, archivist at the Borthwick Institute for Archives and researcher into the Morrell family, reflects on the historical value of scrapbooks and why this scrapbook in particular interests her.
Through photographs and sketches, they managed to capture places of archaeological significance in Egypt, Israel and Jordan before the effects of commercial travel became visible. These include images of the pyramids at Giza, the Valley of Jordan and the streets of Jerusalem.
Within the pages there is a great sense of the authors exploring the unknown, not just because of the ground they managed to cover, but in the way they have recorded cultural differences such as dress, as well as architectural styles and street scenes.
|The complete travelling group outside their tents in Beirut|
For more information:The Digital Showcase not only lets you browse the scrapbooks, but also provides the background of each in far more detail:
You can also view these image collections, and a host of other resources, on our Digital Library: