Old and New High Street

For the past few years, I have been collecting vintage photographs, slides and postcards of my hometown of Swanage which is on the South Coast of England.

My interest in historic photos started with our tourism website, Virtual Swanage which we started in 1996 and has a large photograph gallery www.virtualswanage.co.uk/gallery/ with over 1100 photos from the 1800s to today.

Some of the photos also have a historic family connection such as the Swanage railway opening day which one of the rail workers on the station platform and one of the Swanage football team in the early-1900s was related to my father’s side of the family.

Swanage Railway opening day

Swanage Railway opening day

Over the years I have been given old photographs and vintage postcards which have been scanned, cleaned and added to galleries which are organised by date and location.

I have also purchased many photographs and postcards from eBay with prices from a few pounds to over £50 for a single image or original slide.

Many of the vintage postcards and photographs have dates or other information written on the backs which helps to date the image, but others have been dated based on local landmarks or businesses in the images and with help from the local Swanage Museum.

I am only purchasing historic images to add to the Virtual Swanage gallery which was taken over 70 years ago. As far I understand UK copyright applies to images under 70 years old and for images less than 70 years old, I have obtained permission from the photographer or have purchased an original slide or negative which has transferred the ownership to myself.

Looking back at photos of the town and surrounding countryside in the 1800s and early 1900s you can see how much the town has expanded into the surrounding countryside in the past century and also the changing face of local businesses and shops with some familiar names still being in the town today.

1904 High Street vs 2019

1904 High Street vs 2019

1965 Swanage Railway yard compared to the same view in 2019.

1965 Swanage Railway yard

Some residents have also let me borrow their personal photo collections over the years to scan and add to the Virtual Swanage gallery and I have added credits and links to their own websites if available.