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Streets of Bournemouth Virtual Museum Launched

Streets of Bournemouth a new online virtual museum covering the history of Bournmouth has been launched.

Bournemouth Council and Bournemouth University created the websitesite with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The museum traces the history of the south coast sea-side town’s development through maps, photographs, videos and publications.

One of the key exhibits of the museum will be a rare collection of glass photographic plates which depict Bournemouth between the 1860s and 1880s at the height of the town’s early development as a Victorian spa resort.

The photos, held in the Heritage Zone at Bournemouth Library, are the work of father and son, Robert and W.J. Day, and feature original landscape negatives of old Bournemouth from a time when landscape photography was in its infancy.

Through ‘Streets of Bournemouth’, some 850 negatives from the Day Collection have been conserved and digitally scanned at the Dorset History Centre in Dorchester before being added to the website for all to enjoy. A number of the glass plates have broken or cracked over the years and most of the images depicted in the collection have not been seen in decades.

“By conserving and digitising these images the Day Collection will get a new lease of life,” said Carolyn Date, Service and Strategy Manager: Libraries and Arts, Bournemouth Libraries. “Those who visit the Streets of Bournemouth website when it’s launched will be able to see the town as it hasn’t been seen since the times of Robert and W.J. Day.”

In addition to the Day Collection, the ‘Streets of Bournemouth’ will feature maps and other key information to show how the town has changed over the last 200 years. Many other images, such as the Chilvers Collection of rural watercolours, currently unavailable to the public, will also be accessible on the website for the first time.

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