2017  News from the Heritage Trust

Our gleaming, anatomised 403 is now safely tucked away in a very large box as part of Aerospace Bristol, inside the 1911 Belfast Hangar at Filton,  where it will have pride of place in the 1950s timeline of the Bristol Aeroplane Company.

The wooden box is to prevent other “Large  Objects”, as the planes and missiles being shifted about in there are  referred to, bumping into it while they are being  trundled behind tractors or on top of  the heroic Aero Collection forklift (which is strictly banned from approaching  anywhere near our lovely, shiny  403).

Concorde has now been unwrapped, display cabinets are being built, and an opening date is still un announced. August? September?

We will have our Heritage Trust first inaugural lecture day on November 11th. The program is still under wraps, but we are once again expecting to have two or three speakers very relevant to the world of the Bristol Car and its heritage – with, perhaps, due reference (and reverence) paid to its aeronautical links.  Most of the Trustees’ spare energies  will be taken up for the rest of the year by writing,  as the  Heritage Trust Is now under contract to  a certain high-end publisher to provide text, and hundreds of very high-quality images for a very special new book about Bristols.

Our images are being selected  from the Heritage Trust archive,  which contains thousands of large glass slides taken by Ted Ashman when he was works photographer for the Bristol Aeroplane Company.

We don’t believe such a complete archive exists for any other British carmaker. Ted’s job was to photograph  to the highest quality everything  that went on in the Aeroplane works. This could be in the design department, in the boardroom,  on the shopfloor, on the engine assembly line or during testing and  sales flights. He approached photographing the Car Division of  the Bristol Aeroplane Company, as it was then called, in the same spirit , so we have engineering, coachbuilding,  assembly, press and racing photographs of super quality for our selection.

Many of these have never seen before. Understandably, at the publishers request  we won’t be releasing any of these new images until he has made his own selection.

Digitising our collection archives is now well underway thanks to some very generous anonymous donors. Due to the discovery  of asbestos in the mighty Brabazon hangar, we have now shifted our archives to their fourth set of premises. We’re renting a very secure room, courtesy of Bristol photographic Society, and digitisation of  our photographic archives has been carried out by Brittney,our long suffering Curator.

We are now starting on our collection of 548 magazines, dating back to the1940s. All of these contain reviews, road tests and news items about Bristol cars. Sadly,  we cannot at present publish  or circulate copies of these without obtaining Rights permission from each publisher (or their heirs) .

UK Copyright law, although overlooked by certain motoring publications, is no laughing matter.  However , it does allow us to make  one copy of a document for research or educational purposes, and these will now be stored in our electronic archive.  Fearful of flood, fire or theft, we have backed all of this data up on to our faithful Macbook Air as well as  two separate external hard drives, and are also uploading them (very slowly…) to the Cloud (at the moment we have over 100 GB queueing up to get onto the Cloud. Even with a the fastest  high-speed domestic connection this will take a Very long time.)

Camera techies will rejoice in some details, others please look aside for a moment.

We have been using a Nikon D7100, and today a D5500 on a copystand , with a venerable MicroNikkor 55 mm  Macro lens, controlled by a Nikon programme on our Macbook Air – ideal for  checking contrast and focus on the large screen.

Sensor size means our 55 mm lens becomes a 75, hence the long lens to subject distance. We shoot in RAW and jpeg simultaneously, (the latter files small enough to email in groups ).

Image quality is less crucial for the newsprint, though we still achieve pinsharp results.

Most of the magazines are about A4 size, though a few of the older ones are smaller. We also have objects like postcards and even postage stamps in the collection, which will need the full macro treatment.

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