The Last Family Portrait: The Polhills & A Lost Generation

The Past on Glass photographic collection dates between 1904-1918, and portraits from it depict lives on the verge, or in the midst of, vast change. The single group portrait we have of the Polhill family, taken in December 1910, was one of those glass plate negatives repaired by our conservator, and digitised in the second…

How did we do?

  After four amazing years, the funded work of the Past on Glass project is finally drawing to a close. We’ve scanned over 10,600 glass plates, nearly 3000 were sent to a wonderful conservator, researched several hundred lives, and matched up families with photos of relatives they had never seen.  Work will carry on as…

Treasure in a skip

As digitising our main collection of plates has slowly but surely come to an end, we have lastly come to look at a lovely surprise we were gifted with earlier in the year, thanks to Rob Williams and Janet Rice. Below they have kindly put together an introduction to the plates and their history… We are…

Ellen Munday: Life as an independent servant

Research today, comes from our wonderful volunteer Elizabeth, who has worked hard to track down information about a lady from the collection, Ellen Munday, as well as the family for whom she worked for during the time the photograph was taken.  The story leaves many questions still to be answered but certainly gives a fascinating…

The Story of Hampton Lea: Uncovering Hidden Histories

Today’s post is a wonderful piece of research by our dedicated project volunteer Kathy Nichols, who has an aptitude for historical research and always seems able to find a good story among our plates. Again, it is an example of how sometimes something which has a seemingly quite indirect connection to the subject of your research, leads you down…

Work Experience: Why Local Heritage Matters

We are really pleased to be able to offer work placements to local students here at The Past on Glass. Everyone who works on the Knights-Whittome collection feels quite passionately about the importance of our Edwardian glass plate negative collection – indeed about the Local Studies and Archives collection as a whole, without which none of the research on…

“…the sort of thing a library is for…”

At the risk of boring those of our followers who also follow our Facebook and Twitter feeds, there are just 5 days left to visit our project exhibition here at Sutton Central Library.  We have been overwhelmed by some of the feedback and comments we have received and are sad that we have to take the boards…

Projecting the Past: Somme Commemorations in Sutton

Recently we had the honour of being involved in the Borough’s Somme commemorations. A creative team made up of projectionist and video editor Kieron Brannan coordinated by Samia Tassio of SamiArt, took images of WW1 soldiers from our glass plate collection to create a poignant and moving slideshow of soldiers that was projected onto the facade of…