In 2001 the New Opportunities Fund (NOF) requested applications for funds to create a series of online multi-medium educational resources, focusing on life-long learning. Three organisations submitted bids for a grant to digitise, and make available on the internet, collections of images and objects relating to great transport undertakings. NOF suggested a consortium be formed, maximising resources and producing a cohesive group of websites. The result was a gateway, 'Three Centuries of Transport' (Transport Archive), leading to the following three websites which were created by each partner:
'Bridging the Years' (Canal Archive) – Trafford Metropolitan Borough/Salford City Council.
'The Last Main Line' (Railway Archive) – Leicestershire County Council.
'Aviation Heritage' (Aviation Archive) – South Gloucestershire Council.
The digitisation work and original website design were undertaken by De Montfort University, Leicester and the project was based at the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland.
The sites were launched in 2004.
The websites maintained their popularity over the next 15 years but it became clear that the technology, especially the software, had become outdated. The partners agreed to make separate arrangements for future access to their resources and the original sites were closed down.
In 2019 the 'Railway Archive' was redeveloped and relaunched by the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, which holds many of the original images available on this site, including the Newton Collection.
Sources and Credits
The digitised material has been sourced from various locations and collections and we would like to give acknowledgement and thanks to the following contributors, whose kind assistance helped to make this project possible:
Leicestershire County Council
The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland
London's Transport Museum
National Railway Museum
English Heritage National Monuments Record
The Main Line Steam Trust
Science and Industry Museum, Manchester
Oxfordshire Record Office
Buckinghamshire Record Office
Northamptonshire Record Office
The Keighley News
The Ivo Peters Collection
R. F. Hartley
A. J. Coulls
and many other individuals who are too numerous to name.