This Is Winter: Manx Press Pictures 1960s-1970s Search of iMuseum

This Is Winter: Manx Press Pictures 1960s-1970s

Posted on 04.10.2019

Library staff member Sarah Christian sheds light on the process of selecting images to digitise for a new exhibition and iMuseum resource

Following the success of the 2016 exhibition This is Summer at the House of Manannan, Peel and the release of digitised press photographs onto the iMuseum website, this year we celebrate This is Winter in a similar way. If you are a Manx resident, you will be well aware that lots of things happen on the Isle of Man – even when the sun isn’t shining!

Curator of the exhibition Katie King (MNH Community Outreach & Learning Support Officer) selected the first 700 images using our database and the basic descriptions there as a guide.

My colleague Kim Holden and I were given the task of finding the 6cm square negatives from their envelopes and preparing them for digitisation. We donned cotton gloves and used a light-box to spot the ones we were after. It was an eerie experience to view those amateur Santas with big black beards in the negative!

Often it was difficult to differentiate between one image of an organisation’s festive Christmas dinner and another. We did, over time, get a feel for the different wacky hotel interiors, particularly carpet and chandeliers – I always found the tartan-clad Caledonian Society easy to spot.

With 700 images already picked, Kim and I were asked to choose some of our own which was a pleasure. In particular I enjoyed finding images of winter sports, particularly motorcycle scrambling and trails. Any image of a new digger arriving on the island or farmers at work appealed to me.

Although I am not old enough to remember myself, I became very conscious of some of the demolitions and regeneration going on at that time and how awful some of the so called “slum” areas looked. However, some of the replacement buildings such as the Sea Terminal we look on today with a national pride – other areas perhaps less so?

We drafted in the voluntary services of recent history graduate Chloe Love, who did a superb job trawling through the local papers to see if the images had been used in the press. Staff were delighted that she diligently found so many – what a pleasure to know the individual stories behind those little negatives.

Knowing the appetite for nostalgic photographs on social media, I hope that the Manx public come to the House of Manannan in the cold weather to see what was going on back in the day. I also hope you spot some familiar faces – please do let us know.

Manx Press Pictures and Peters Photography Ltd were owned and run by William George (Bill) Peters and based at 32 Prospect Hill, Douglas, Isle of Man.  Bill and his staff at Manx Press Pictures and Peters Photography Ltd photographed thousands of events on the Isle of Man, anything from Tynwald Day, sporting events, visiting celebrities, news and social events to weddings.  The office closed in 1980 when Prospect Hill was redeveloped for offices and the company was dissolved in 1981.

Explore This is Winter on iMuseum. Or visit our free exhibition at the House of Manannan, Peel, from 5 October 2019 to 1 March 2020. Images are also available to buy on Magnolia Box.

Sarah L Christian (Library and Archives Assistant)

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