Digital Scanning of Port Sunlight Village Trust archived drawings

Port Sunlight Village Trust – a digital scanning case study.

A peaceful Merseyside village, Port Sunlight houses 1,450 residents (2001) but back in 1888, it was built to house a population of 3,500 soap factory workers. Containing no less than 900 Grade II listed buildings, the village was declared a conservation area in 1978.

The Drawn Together collection came about from a desire for people to be able to use the architectural drawings to understand and manage the historic buildings in the village and to appreciate the significance and beauty of Port Sunlight’s architecture.

Cull was commissioned to digitally scan the majority of the drawings that form the collection – over 1,300 digitised architectural drawings from 29 architectural practices. These large, Victorian drawings required the largest of the scanning equipment and plenty of patience whilst the delicate A0 paper was sorted, scanned and preserved for future generations.

Cull’s team collected the precious drawings directly from Unilever Archives and Bolton Library as well as Wirral Archive Centre and within four weeks, the historical architectural drawings in digital format were ready for the Port Sunlight Village Trust’s Drawn Together exhibition. The historical drawings were returned to their relative archives where they will remain.

“We’re thrilled to do our bit to help preserve the history of our local area. William Cull, our founder, my grandfather, would have known Port Sunlight well, so we’re proud we had the opportunity to honour these roots. Cull has come a long way in 95 years; from producing original images, to digital scanning of archive images for future generations to enjoy. ” – Damian Cull

Heather McGrath-Alcock from the Port Sunlight Village Trust said, “Warren Caine and his team at Cull Paperless Solutions worked creatively and efficiently to ensure the highest standards possible were used to transport, digitise and name 100’s of original, historic drawings of Port Sunlight village for the Drawn Together project. The documents ranged in size and material and presented challenges for handling, digitisation and data storage. All of this was managed in an efficient and friendly way. The results of the digitisation project are excellent and are available on the Drawn Together website.”