National Lottery funding to digitise more than 150 years of local history means that the archives of the historic Ross Gazette will now be available to more library users than ever before.

The award of £70,600 has been made by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to the Ross Gazette Archive Project in Ross-on-Wye to fund the digitisation of the entire newspaper archive and accompanying photographs, making it available for the public to access.

The digital archive will be available on Herefordshire library service’s Herefordshire History project website (www.herefordshirehistory.org.uk), making it accessible to a much wider audience and preserving it for future generations.

Jon Chedgzoy, Museum, Libraries and Archives Manager, said: “Herefordshire library service is delighted to work with the Ross Gazette and Heritage Lottery Fund to digitise this unique archive and host it on our Herefordshire History website. This will ensure it is freely available for the whole community to enjoy; now and in the future.”

The Herefordshire History project will now provide an even greater range of unique source material on Herefordshire for students, researchers and the wider community that will be protected against the many destructive impacts of ageing that can affect physical archives. 

The project will include an intergenerational reminiscence initiative, primary school learning programme, film project, and work with local history groups, to involve the local community and incorporate their stories into the archive. Material gathered during the project will be used as the foundation for several exhibitions on the key themes of childhood, tourism and the river, the coming of the railway, and wartime Ross.

Councillor Harry Bramer, Herefordshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Contracts and Assets said: “This funding is excellent news for our library service’s Herefordshire History project, and will help to make the website a one-stop digital platform for local history material. The income generated will contribute to the sustainability of our digitisation programme, and strengthen future funding bids.”

Vanessa Harbar, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands said: “We’re delighted to support The Ross Gazette to celebrate its heritage and preserve its significant archive of news stories and photographs digitally. Thanks to National Lottery players, local people will explore and play a part in preserving an important part of the town’s history.”

Published: Monday, 29th January 2018