Our new website of Georgian and Victorian prints of Brighton is now live. It was launched at a very successful event at The Keep on 22 November 2017. This is a product of collaboration between the Regency Society and the Society of Brighton Print Collectors over the past year or so.
Our latest publication, Chroniclers of Brighton by Andy Grant and Steve Myall, was launched at the same time, with over 70 copies sold and more available. However all copies have been sold.
We are delighted to have been working with the SBPC and in particular Steve Myall, who has provided fascinating annotations to the over 450 images on the new site.
About the Society of Brighton Print Collectors
The Society of Brighton Print Collectors was the brainchild of the late Henry Smith,
an expert on Brighton & Hove’s history and a great collector of the town’s antique prints. He never managed to start the project before he died, so in honour of his name several old collector-friends of his decided to complete what he had in mind.
Membership is by having a collection and having a continuing interest in the town’s history and its engravings. The SBPC meets twice a year, spring and autumn. Members bring one or two items of interest and one member might present a short talk on a particular print. In the past we have had a meeting in the Museum looking at architectural prints/plans of the Pavilion, and members of the Museum staff often join our meetings. The object of the Society is to increase our collective knowledge of the subject and simply enjoy the prints.
If you would like to contact the SBPC you can do so here.
About the new prints website
The website provides several avenues to prints of Brighton for those seeking specific images, images of specific places or simply wanting to browse. There is an interactive map, galleries, several indexes and a 'search' facility. We want the site to be as enjoyable to use as it has been to create. There are very many charming images which reveal much about life in Brighton (alas not many of Hove!) in the nineteenth century.
The website is launched, but that does not mean it is finished. The SBPC have more images waiting to be added, and we will be very pleased to hear from users about ways in which we can improve the site.
There is a new book by Andy Grant and Steve Myall which the RS is publishing to coincide with the launch of the website. Victorian Chroniclers of Brighton tells the interesting stories of some of the key originators of these images.
How was the site developed?
The new website has been constructed at minimal cost and is the product of a great deal of voluntary labour by Steve Myall of the SBPC, Mary McKean of the Regency Society and several RS member supporters, amongst whom David Botibol, Mary Nixon, Lyn Turpin and John McKean deserve particular thanks for bringing their specialist knowledge and expertise and a great deal of their time to developing this site.
Now we've learned a lot about developing image websites, we've started eyeing the James Gray collection.
The James Gray website has proved the most popular of RS projects over the years (to judge from the number of people who use it). However, it was constructed 15 years ago and whilst it was a good site in its time, there are now opportunities to make image websites much more user friendly.
There is also an opportunity, perhaps, to integrate the Brighton Prints site with the James Gray images to create a record of historic images over time from the late 18th century through the birth of photography to the second half of the twentieth century. We'd like to try that!
We'll be looking at this project in detail in early 2018. Already we know we will need a lot of help from the people who know and love Brighton and Hove best - the people who live here and care about our heritage. This includes, of course, RS members, as well as many others. That probably means you, if you are reading this. You do not need to be a computer expert nor an expert in local history to get involved. You also do not need to commit much time!