Friends of Herefordshire Archives

Glass plate cleaning and repacking project

The Bustin Collection (now online here):

The Bustin family of photographers set up in Hereford in 1853 and were an active business until the 1960s. This collection is of commissions for studio portraits, landed estates and their livestock, (particularly Hereford bulls), family gatherings and important county events and dates from c1880 – c1920.

There are 7,396 glass plates in the Bustin collection which was worked on by 11 volunteers. Started in October 2105 and completed in July 2017 the total number of good plates were 6,933. There were 463 broken plates which were placed into specially design sink mats. The conservation jobs included:

  • Cutting 4-flap folders from sheets of archival photo paper in the required sizes. (2 volunteers)
  • Cleaning each plate with isopropyl alcohol, firstly in solution with water, then pure. (6 volunteers)
  • Placing each plate in new 4-flap folder & put into new archival box.
  • Updating the catalogue entry for that box with any information extra to the listing, or of plates missing or damaged.
  • Broken plates were kept separate and bespoke sink mats were made for each of those plates. (1 volunteer)
  • Creating a paper index and spreadsheet catalogue of the photographic plates

Other collections treated during the project:

Foster & Skeffington: 2,670 plates reference CL3

This was a photographic studio in Hereford. Derek Foster was also official photographer for the Hereford Times, and many of the plates in this collection are from the 1940s & 50s and are of the newspaper kind – important visitors, ceremonial and social events, pop concerts.


Vivian of Hereford: 1436 plates reference DB6

Also a photographic studio in Hereford, active in the 1940s-60s. A very mixed collection of subjects – studio portraits, special events. Indications of the use of colour in printing these plates is an interesting feature of this collection.


Jenkin’s collection: 820 plates reference CK18

Dick Jenkins was a farmer in Michaelchurch Escley in the early 20th century. He was far more interested in his photographic hobby though. We have a good glimpse of life, work and society in the Longtown area from c1890 to the 1930s through this collection. Nine other smaller collections to finish will add another c750 plates. Total number of Glass Plates cleaned, packaged, and re-boxed will be in the region of 12,700. The project will have taken 3 years from Oct 2015

the Reuben Stone Farm Day Book

The Reuben Stone Farm Day Book was deposited at Herefordshire Archives Service by Fownhope Local History Group and Community Archive (FLHG&CA). Now online here

It is an object of humble origins, and therein lies its importance, for Herefordshire is noted nationally for its long-lasting tradition of yeomanry farms but there is a scarcity of evidence for the activities that took place. This account book and diary of a smallholding covers the years 1906 to 1928, a period that features rapid changes in the rural economy and includes WW1. Reuben Stone was combining farming with a milk round, cider production, and building work, all recorded here. The book was used regularly; the economy of the entries suggests a busy man who yet made sure he captured the essentials of every day’s key events and transactions.

The crumbling pages have barely survived the multiple perils of poor quality materials, frequent use, mould, insects and a spillage of undetermined origin but definite destructiveness:

After washing and re-sizing, the pages were supported with moistenable tissue on a vacuum suction table. Holes were infilled with Japanese paper adhered with wheat starch paste .Following digitization the manuscript was rebound in a functional and sympathetic style and is now available for consultation.

The Archive Service invited FLHG&AC visitors during the conservation treatment, who included direct descendants of Reuben Stone. Volunteers from FLHG&CA were trained to digitize and index the manuscript, which is available at Herefordshire History