Going back in time on the web

A young girl asleep in the aftermath of the Great Timber Yard Fire of 1922.
A young girl asleep in the aftermath of the Great Timber Yard Fire of 1922.

PEOPLE can now take a walk down memory lane without leaving the comfort of their own home.

An archive of old photos is being put online by Hartlepool Borough Council that anyone can browse for free.

With just a couple of clicks, people can go back as far as the 19th Century thanks to the council’s cultural services section.

The images have been put on photosharing website Flickr Commons and can be downloaded and used for private use – with people from all over the world logging on to see the town’s past.

So far 170 photographs have been put online, and more are being added each week.

Jean-Philippe Stienne, the council’s collections access officer, said: “Flickr Commons is a great avenue for providing access to our rich collection of photographs.

“We are delighted with the response so far, we have even had people from as far afield as Australia and Nepal logging on and leaving comments.”

The photos cover the 19th and 20th centuries and show historic events as well as views of the town and general aspects of daily life.

So far, they include a man holding shell fragments found in Girvan Terrace after the German bombardment of 1914 and a young girl asleep on a salvaged settee following the 1922 Great Timber Yard Fire, which destroyed many homes in the town’s Middleton area.

The website is already proving a big hit and received 21,000 visits on its first day alone.

Visitors can also leave comments about the photographs, which in turn have triggered lots of on-line discussions about aspects of the town’s history.

To see the photographs, visit www.flickr.com/photos/hartlepool_museum/