The teams start work…
We are about a month and a half into our challenge of cataloguing and digitising technical shipbuilding plans from the Cook, Welton & Gemmell archive, and the response of our volunteers has been nothing short of outstanding.
We currently have a group of 21 individuals, with more places available for anyone else who would still like to Get Involved.
Whilst each volunteer has their own reasons for taking part in the challenge, whether that be an interest in maritime history, a wish to bolster the skillset on their CV, or a desire to make a contribution to the preservation and access of local community heritage; all have come together and risen to the task in hand.
Given the size of the group it was decided to divide everyone into sub-teams, comprising four volunteers for cataloguing and two for digitisation, in each sub-team. With the subject of our work being the hundreds of ships built at the Grovehill shipyard between 1901 and 1963, it’s probably no surprise that the lure of naming each sub-team after an historic vessel built in Beverley proved irresistible.
“…the experience of our volunteers, with respective backgrounds in maritime industry, administration, and academic study, has combined to produce a superb team effort…”
So it was that Teams ‘Cassio’, ‘Riskato’, ‘Varanga’, and ‘Arctic Corsair’ were born. Working on an approximate one-month rotation pattern, the volunteer teams have been coming in and tackling their allotted section of shipbuilding plans.
The cataloguing work has focused on the sorting and description of the numerous sectional plans for various vessels which, although mostly trawlers, has included other types of ship such as steam tugs and lightships. This is where the experience of our volunteers, with respective backgrounds in maritime industry, administration, and academic study, has combined to produce a superb team effort in which everyone learns from each other, be that about the processes of shipbuilding, technical aspects of engineering, or the skills and approaches involved in cataloguing an archive collection.
The same can be said for the digitisation arm of our sub-teams, which is where our planned inter-generational partnership has really taken hold and given volunteers the chance to acquire or develop skills in digitally capturing and stitching sectional images to produce single high quality representations of the original general arrangement drawings for various key vessels built by the company.
“It’s been a fantastic start to the project, and thanks to the efforts of our volunteers this is going to give us a great platform to begin delivering the various planned outreach events.”
The technical challenge is considerable, but under the guidance and supervision of Kat Saunt, our Conservator, the volunteers have been able to adapt to a process of working that allows them to capture high resolution images accurately and quickly. The editing and digital ‘stitching’ of sectional images is a laborious and painstaking process that requires a high degree of patience, but that is already producing impressive results, such as this image of the general arrangement for the ‘Yorkshire Belle’ pleasure boat (pictured).
It’s been a fantastic start to the project, and thanks to the efforts of our volunteers this is going to give us a great platform to begin delivering the various planned outreach events.
Check our ‘What’s On’ page to see what’s coming up!
Sam Bartle: Digital Archivist & Project Co-ordinator (East Riding Archives)