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Burton Library has a very large collection of archival material. Most of it is comprised of collections that were freely donated to a PUBLIC archive in the hope that they would provide the best PUBLIC access. The majority were transferred from the library in Union Street to the ‘new’ library when it was opened in 1976 with no-one knowing quite what to do with them.
I, and other local historians and authors, have been denied access on the basis that many are now of unknown ownership so the copyright MAY belong to someone. Firstly however, most of the material is out of copyright simply by age since my main interest is prior to 1915. Secondly, in the worst case, it would anyway only mean payment of a nominal copyright fee or retraction of the image. They are not of high monetary value… they are simply photos of Burton!
A quick inspection of a randomly chosen box revealed large collections of incredible photos of Burton upon Trent decorated for the King George V Coronation in 1911. For many, this is within grandparent era, making them still very relevant.
The Magic Attic
The Magic Attic at Swadlincote similarly boasts over 22,000 donated historic local photos. Again however, I have been denied permission to feature any of them on this website on the basis that I may reduce revenue of image sales. With around 10,000 pageviews per month, more astute would probably be reference links to The Magic Attic, informing that “Full quality images and thousands more like it available from them”.
In both cases, collections have been freely donated (for example, JS Simnett) with instruction that images should be made available for local projects as long as:
a) They were non-commercial.
b) A website did not make hi-resolution images suitable for printing available.
The website is prepared on a completely non-profit basis (in fact, a not insignificant cost to myself). Images are strictly controlled to web-quality, which would not be suitable for printed media. The sole intention of the website is to raise local awareness and provide a quality, informative record of Burton’s local history.
These issues are slowly but very surely becoming the death of this website as I move to less resistive projects. It is a fraction of what it would have been with co-operation.
The website currently enjoys around 10000 pageviews per month (around 30000 images). It is a criminal shame that so many more images will remain locked away with hardly anyone ever seeing them as the originators would have wished, until they have deteriotated to the point where they will be thrown away, most of them unrecorded.