Aberdeen Harbour Board and the University of Aberdeen hosted an event last week (Thursday 22 April) to announce the port’s £170,000 sponsorship of the new Photography Archive Room, within the Special Collections Centre of the University’s new library.
Chairman of Aberdeen Harbour Board, Keith Allan and former principal of the University of Aberdeen, Professor Sir Duncan Rice spoke at the event, which took place at King’s College Conference Centre at the University of Aberdeen.
The investment will allow the new university library, which is due to open in autumn 2011, to house and preserve photographic collections and make them accessible to local, national and international audiences for the first time.
The Aberdeen Harbour Photographic Collection includes more than 6,000 glass plate negatives dating from the 1880s to 1930s. The images offer a unique perspective on the city’s economic and social history over a key period that saw the launch of the first steam trawler in 1883, the dawning of the deep sea fishing industry, the economic impact of World War I and the infrastructure developments that laid the shape of today’s harbour.
Chris Banks, University librarian and director of Library and Historic Collections, is delighted with the major funding from Aberdeen Harbour Board. She said: “The Aberdeen Harbour Photographic Collection offers a fascinating insight of the city during this period. The University is extremely grateful to Aberdeen Harbour Board for the significant sponsorship of £170,000 which will enable us to house and preserve the photographic collections for the benefit of all.”
Mr Allan said: “We are delighted to be part of the University’s ambitious project. The photography archive room is very important to us because it houses a record of Aberdeen Harbour during what was a key period in our history that spans almost 900 years and it is important for us to preserve the collection for future generations, which our donation will help to achieve.
“Many of the photographs that have not been seen before can be properly documented and will be available for members of the public to view electronically. We believe it is important for the people of Aberdeen and beyond to both share in the history of the Harbour and to recognise the key strategic role it continues to play in the economy of Aberdeen and the North-east.”