It's official: A Ripon community project is now award-winning

Mandy Whitehead, Jill Freeman, Sue Howard, Liz Barker, and Mike Howard with the award.
Mandy Whitehead, Jill Freeman, Sue Howard, Liz Barker, and Mike Howard with the award.

A project that provides a vital photographic record of Ripon's past, has been presented with a prestigious award.

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A picture taken at the launch of the Ripon Re-Viewed exhibition at Ripon Workhouse Museum.

A picture taken at the launch of the Ripon Re-Viewed exhibition at Ripon Workhouse Museum.

It was surely only a matter of time before Ripon Re-Viewed received such an honour, given the impact that it's already had - thanks to the hard work and dedication of Ripon Civic Society who have spearheaded the project, thousands of precious photographs of Ripon spanning more than 120 years are being preserved and digitised for residents to forever enjoy.

The Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies presented the Peter Spawforth Award for Excellence to Ripon Civic Society, in recognition of the innovative and forward-thinking approach of Ripon Re-Viewed - already, its photographic archives have been used to support a number of key Ripon events, and a real sense of community ownership and pride has developed around the extensive collections.

Since 2012, volunteers have been tirelessly working behind the scenes to make Ripon Re-Viewed a success, and so humble are those volunteers that many residents might not realise the full extent of their contribution to city life.

When the eyes of the world were on Ripon for its season of Remembrance last year, it was the Ripon Re-Viewed team who contributed many of the images that were movingly featured in the light show projected onto Ripon Cathedral.

Richard Taylor with the trail Board on Bedern Bank.

Richard Taylor with the trail Board on Bedern Bank.

And when Ripon took centre stage to host Yorkshire Day, it was Ripon Re-Viewed who helped fly the flag for the city by providing commemorative calendars for visiting mayors and dignitaries, which showcased some of the project's most breathtaking photographs and views of Ripon.

Project coordinator Mandy Whitehead, said: "That is a very important part of the project - we can quietly contribute to other things that are going on in the city and the community.

"I think Ripon has a real sense of itself - it's a city that is proud of where it's come from, and where it is going. Hopefully Ripon Re-Viewed is something that will support that feeling and that pride that people have."

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Boxes holding some of the collection in Ripon library, prior to the project starting.

Boxes holding some of the collection in Ripon library, prior to the project starting.

Ripon Re-Viewed was born when Ripon Civic Society formed a small task group in autumn 2012 to share knowledge and ascertain whether there was sufficient interest and enthusiasm in conserving and preserving a significant number of deteriorating photographic negatives that had been stored in Ripon Library since the late 1980s.

Since then, the Ripon Re-Viewed website has attracted huge interest from residents and visitors, who can view photographs covering a wide range of subject areas - including Ripon events, celebrations, street scenes, shops, and people - among other images that capture different aspects of everyday city life.

And as well as the website, an exhibition was held at Ripon Workhouse Museum last year to showcase some of the most striking and memorable images featured in the Ripon Re-Viewed collection.

A trail of 20 photographs placed at different locations across the city also proved to be popular. In fact, so strong was the demand and appetite for this trail which followed the route of the St Wilfrid's Procession, that a selection of the photographs can still be found on display opposite the workhouse museum.

Mandy said: "It's nice to see the intergenerational side of the project as well - children speaking to their grandparents about what it would have been like to live in Ripon years ago, and seeing the photographs spark those conversations.

"We have got a good resource here, and we have more photographs to add to the Ripon Re-Viewed website. We look forward to sharing these, and seeing what happens in terms of the projects that Ripon Re-Viewed can support in the future."

Mandy said the success of Ripon Re-Viewed is down to the hard work of many people who made the project happen, including: Sue and Mike Howard; North Yorkshire County Records Office and their volunteers Sandra and Gail; Maxine Willett and a team of volunteers who reviewed over 5,000 photographic records, and 58 people from the Ripon community who generously responded to the Ripon Re-Viewed appeal, raising £7,863 to help complete the project and sustain the website.

To view photographs from the Ripon Re-Viewed collection, click here.