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About the project and the archive

The Herefordshire Life Through a Lens project explores the huge collection of photographs and negatives of Herefordshire photographer Derek Evans, digitising the archive and creating an oral history from Herefordshire people about the memories they evoke. The collection consists of 200,000+ negatives, 790 exhibition images, hundreds of prints, scrapbooks full of newspaper cuttings, photo journals, and daily log books of the studio’s activities. 

Focusing on the 1950s-1980s, the project will uncover photographs (some never-before-exhibited, and many others unseen for over fifty years) and record oral histories, which will recount nostalgic tales of hop-picking; revel in Hereford United Football Club’s moments of glory; take a spin around the May Fair’s risqué past; stroll down memory lane with Fownhope’s Heart of Oak annual walk; and explore the Derek Evans Studio itself, a place that nurtured many talents, and which, by covering fascinating local stories, became a treasure trove of the county’s social history.

The project will result in a number of touring films, exhibitions, an accompanying suite of films made by children, education packs (for schools and dementia groups) and a media-rich website, among other things.

Working with Herefordshire Archives and Records Centre who hold the collection and Herefordshire Libraries images will be scanned and made accessible via the Herefordshire Histories website. 

"Derek was clearly passionate about Hereford and the region. His image repertoire is affectionate, humanist, liberal and well crafted.”  "The archive (…) could become a fantastic resource for a wide range of interests in social history, politics, culture, farming and rural life amongst others.” Independent report on Derek Evans’ archive by Dr Russell Roberts 2009. He also stated the archive had: ‘Valuable historical, social and cultural significance’.

Derek’s work was highly respected and wide ranging. He was a popular and well-known character, involved in local politics, with a great love of sport and jazz. He was a hard-working photo-journalist for both national and regional newspapers, and TV companies, with valuable and useful contacts across the county and surrounding areas. He even found time to produce award-winning entries to national and international exhibitions, with prestigious features in photographic magazines.

The project will involve volunteers, trainees and internships which offer clear career pathway opportunities to people recruited from across the county. The wider Herefordshire community will also be involved in the project, with specific targeted groups that include: disadvantaged young people, migrant workers, showmen, Romany travellers, students, and older people.

The project is led by Catcher Media Social CIC, a not-for-profit company in partnership in partnership with Herefordshire Council’s Archives, Libraries and Learning and Achievement Services. Funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and by The Elmley Foundation, The Beaumont Trust, Wye Valley Brewery, Ledbury, Leominster and Ross-on-Wye Town Councils and our crowd-fund supporters.