The World Before Yesterday: The Photography of Stanley Kenyon
A remarkable collection of 60,000 photographs that document Somerset over 40 years has been saved in a race against time.
A selection of the photographs are on display at The Museum of Somerset from Saturday 17 February.
The photographer Stanley Walter Kenyon, from Wellington, had a long career lasting from 1938 to 1979. His remarkable collection depicts Somerset people, places and communities at a time of rapid change. It includes commercial photography for schools and the food and drink sector, as well as industrial sites and well-known buildings. It also captures scenes from daily life, people and their pets, and portraits of servicemen and women. In 1938, he was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.
A race against time
The South West Heritage Trust led the project to digitise the decaying photographs. Kate Parr, Local Studies Librarian with the Trust, explained: “The acetate images were suffering from vinegar syndrome and the project has been a race against time to digitise these unique photographs before the syndrome destroyed them.
“The project has saved the rich information contained in these images for future generations, opening up this hidden collection so people can learn more about Britain’s 20th century communities and industrial past.”
The full Kenyon Collection is being made available online at the Somerset Heritage Centre.
With grateful thanks
The project to save and catalogue the collection was made possible with the support of the Murless Fund of Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society and the Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society.
Visit the exhibition
The Kenyon Photographic Exhibition is free to enter and can be seen at The Museum of Somerset until the end of the year.
Janet Tall, Head of Archives, will give a talk about Kenyon’s life and work, and the project to rescue the collection.
The talk is part of the Museum’s Talk and Tea programme and takes place on Somerset Day, Friday 11 May, at 2.30 pm. Booking is advised and costs £5.