â€œa kindly old gentleman with a hobby for photography which he utilised with so much skill and discrimination that he has gathered together a collection which is of great national and historical interest and valueâ€.Â Sir Carruthers Gould, cartoonist (1910)
Sir (John) Benjamin Stone (1838-1914) was MP for East Birmingham between 1895 and 1910. He was also a prolific amateur documentary photographer who used his access to Parliament to produce what was the first real photographic record of the Palace of Westminster.
The Parliamentary Archives is fortunate to hold 546 photographs of the Palace, parliamentarians and guests, which beautifully captures the spirit of the time.
Do read our blog "Set in Stone" to learn more about Stone and the beginnings of the Digitisation Project.
The Stone Photograph Digitisation Project
We wanted our next project to be image-based, something that we could develop in new directions to tie in with the 70th anniversary of the creation of the Parliamentary Archives, and something which would help with the conservation and preservation of records in our keeping and the Stone photographs fitted all these criteria.
The Digitisation Project
Our Digital Imaging Technicians were responsible for the photography and quality assurance of the images. If you'd like to read more about the digitisation process then do read our blog Photographing Stone.
Our collection care colleagues' blog also explains how they used the project as an opportunity to clean and re-package the photographs.
Inspiration for new photography
As part of the project we created a new set of photographs, inspired by Stone. In some cases we tried to reshoot the same locations that Stone used, but we also took the opportunity to capture new scenes, some of which Stone would not have been able to do with his glass plate negatives.
For more information on our estate photography, see our blog while some of our images can be seen in the Archives' image galleries
Seeing the old and new images
To see a selection of the images, visit our image gallery pages where we have a Stone's images alongside our modern photography shots.
We have all enjoyed this project immensely and hope you enjoy the photographs and videos too.