Smile! – Reporter archive pictures Tameside’s rich heritage

A window to Tameside’s past is being opened as thousands of photographs are brought back to life for the very first time in decades.
Capturing the borough’s rich heritage, they are all part of the Tameside Reporter’s photographic archive and are now going online for everyone to enjoy.
‘SMILE! Reporting Tameside’s Social History Project’ has been working for the past year to achieve the digitisation of 26,000 photographic negatives and glass plates from the newspaper’s archive. They cover pictures taken from the 1940’s all the way up to the 2000s and will be available to view on one of the world’s largest imaging sites for everyone
to see.

The project has been made possible thanks to National Lottery Heritage Funding. Now, the volunteers behind the project are asking for people’s help to identify places, people and events. They want anyone with an interest in local history to view the images once they’re uploaded to help build a visual history of Tameside.
Jane Donaldson, Project Coordinator, says she has been excited to find out more about the images she and other volunteers have been scanning for the past year.
She said: “The digitisation of the photographs has been very exciting and as we look at events that have happened in the past, we are discovering new stories and rediscovering old ones. “It’s a fantastic resource that covers lots of stories, and lots of themes, so it’s really interesting as we get that available and accessible.

“We’re now starting to get some of the images onto the site. We’ve had a few for a while and they will be added to as we’re able to catalogue and put information on them.”

Images will be continually uploaded from now until the end of June. Jane explained: “We’ve got some images from 1949 and we’ve just put some images on from January 1973 so we’ll be putting on a lot more images covering different years, mainly from the 1940’s to the early 2000s.

“We only have the images for a lot of these glass plates, some of them do have a little information like the titles on envelopes, but we’re asking people, if they can, to add information and give us more information about these images whilst we can’t access the newspapers to get that information.
“If people know where the location is, if they know more about the events, the names of people, the names of football teams, then that can be really useful to us.
“You can use the ‘contact us’ page to provide information, to tell stories, to add information to the images and people have also been using our social media.
“We’re on twitter, instagram and Facebook and you can also leave comments there too. Links can all be found on our website.

Jane added: “Looking at these images is going to engage people in conversation and I think that’s the biggest part of it. You show people these images and somebody recognised a place and it gives you a bit more information about what happened when they were young.

“There may be stories in there that were once told but haven’t been told again. There’s so many different stories and so many photographs.”
To view images already uploaded and to view the Flickr album, plus watch a video about the digitisation, visit
You can also stay up to date with the latest news from the Smile project in the Tameside Reporter.