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Friday, February 27, 1998 Published at 08:32 GMT



Sci/Tech

England's past looks into future
image: [ Schoolchildren everywhere can learn about England's historic buildings ]
Schoolchildren everywhere can learn about England's historic buildings

Thousands of photographs and drawings related to England's historic buildings and archaeological sites could soon be available on the Internet.


[ image: At the moment, millions of images are filed away, taking up vast amounts of space]
At the moment, millions of images are filed away, taking up vast amounts of space
The National Monuments Record Centre in Swindon has begun digitising its collection of more than 7m images so anyone with a computer and modem can view it.

The photographs, maps, plans and drawings relate to England's historic buildings and archaeological sites.


[ image: This photo of a baker's cart outside a shop in Buckinghamshire was taken in 1900 ..]
This photo of a baker's cart outside a shop in Buckinghamshire was taken in 1900 ..
The delicate images, some 150 years old, are carefully preserved at low temperatures in the Record Centre's vaults - not easily available to the public, but that is about to change.

Already, 1,000 photographs showing scenes from everyday life in Victorian England have been digitised. They will be used by primary school children as part of their national curriculum activities in history, geography and art.


[ image: Images scanned into computers are instantly accessible around the world]
Images scanned into computers are instantly accessible around the world
If the project is a success thousands more from the national archive will go online.

One teacher, Carol Rainbow, of Manor Country Primary School, gave it the thumbs up. She told the BBC: "It would be lovely for primary age children.

"Whereas before in a book there was page after page of text, and they had a problem accessing that information, now they can just look at a picture and see everything that's happened in history without ever really having to read."






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