Page last updated at 06:32 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Industry images kept for nation

Joe Collier (pic courtesy of University of Chester)
Joe Collier captured thousands of images of factories

Over 40,000 photographs of industrial sites have been deemed so important that the British Library is to store them permanently in its archive.

The images of factories, foundries and mines were taken by University of Chester student Joe Collier as part of a project to record sites under threat.

The 23-year-old, from Rustington in West Sussex, graduates from the university on Wednesday.

He said it was a "personal crusade" to capture the disappearing sites.

A number of the shots assembled by the 23-year-old have been uploaded to his website,, and the site has been permanently logged in the British Library's digital archive.

The archive will be regularly updated to reflect his new work.

"Historical importance"

Mr Collier said: "I became interested in the deindustrialisation that has been taking place across the UK and mainland Europe over the last 20 years.

"It has become a bit of a personal crusade, as I think these changes are significant culturally and historically.

"To be permanently archived in the British Library is a great vindication of the work."

Working with fellow photographer David Williams, Mr Collier is continuing with the project alongside his regular job. His long-term aim is to become a professional photographer.

The university's photography programme leader, Daniel Boetker-Smith, said: "For a student to have amassed such an array of important images is one thing, but to be archived by the British Library at this stage in his young career shows that his images are not only of national historical importance, but are produced by a serious and thoughtful artist."

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