Virtual Belle Vue

About Our Project

The Project

In March 2014, Chetham's Library received a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund to help make this popular collection available for everyone to explore, study and enjoy. Virtual Belle Vue displays some of the results of that work, from the thousands of images scanned and uploaded, to the events and outcomes of the project. The project is far from complete. Material will continue to be added as it is acquired and scanned, including the new Marshall Collection of photographs and ephemera, and other gifts, deposits and loans. Watch this space!

An Interview

Development Manager Elizabeth Coulson talked with the Manchester Evening News about the project. Watch the interview here

The Volunteers

Volunteers, work-placement students and interns have made this project possible. They have written blogs, scanned photos, prepared material for off-site scanning, added metadata and sorted and listed new collections. We are looking for new volunteers all the time, please let us know if you are willing to engage with metadata enhancement. It is not difficult, but requires a familiarity with spreadsheets! We tip our hat to all current and past volunteers including:

Courtney Brombosz (pictured at left) who in three months scanned more photographs than any of us believed possible.

Emma Gill, David Thomas and Hannah Jordan who spent weeks over the summer adding metadata and uploading photos to the new website. Jon Hardisty took over where they left off, filling in time between two professional librarian positions.

Jess Purdy wins our longest serving Belle Vue Volunteer award! She has done a bit of everything from scanning and uploading photos to sorting and listing the new Marshall Collection. 

Stephen Sayers has been our 'virtual' volunteer, working from home to transcribe hard-to-read manuscript material. 

Work placement students from the MA History programme at the University of Manchester, Courtney Stickland and Jacob Roberts, have helped us bring Belle Vue into the world of Tumblr, Flickr and Twitter. 


All of our images have either been given or loaned to the library. We have done our best to attribute ownership and identify creators. If you have any comments or queries, please email us.