Turning Bath’s past into a digital future.

There cannot be many people – with an interest in local history – who have not heard of Bath in Time.

It’s an organisation which – since its inception in  2007 – has managed to amass an on-line collection of nearly 28,000 historical images and articles relating to Bath and its environs.

Dan checking images transferred to his online site.
Dan checking images transferred to his online site.

It was all a bit of a gamble for Dan Brown – the man who came up with the idea of a self-sustaining way of digitising the city’s amazing archives.  But one that has paid off as Bath in Time is now well respected and accessed world-wide – 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

In the last six months over 40,000 visits have been made to the www.bathintime.co.uk/ website from 132 countries around the globe.

These visitors looked at nearly 370,000 pages on the website. As each page contains a minimum of 12 images, a very conservative estimate says that over 4 million historical images were viewed at this time.

All of the original images from the library are locked away at Bath Central Library – or at one of the off-site storage locations – and direct access requires form filling and the time of a member of staff in retrieving each item – one at a time.

Online images for Bath in Time
Online images for Bath in Time

If the number of images viewed online over six months was divided by the number of hours the lib ray was open in that period, this would represent over 3,000 images per hour for every hour of every day – or nearly one per second!

You also have to reckon in that each manual request would take at best five minutes to fulfil with rarely more than a handful of requests being made per day.

Megan and Arthur are recording the details of each image.
Megan and Arthur are recording the details of each image.

Bath in Time is available to all and free to access. Its operational costs supported by the fact you can buy images online – in many different formats.

The Virtual Museum of Bath caught up with Dan – and his two part-time history student helpers from Bath Spa University –  Megan and Arthur – in the middle of on-going work they are doing to photograph and catalogue the unique Hunt Collection.

Let’s allow Dan to tell us more.

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