“Magic” find for Sheffield Photographic Society as antique images restored to city
A fascinating collection of antique “magic lantern” slides showing photographs dating back to the late 1880s has been returned to Sheffield.
In March 2020 Sheffield Photographic Society were contacted by photographer Roy McAdam from Malvern, Worcestershire, as he had acquired items of antique equipment including the slides.
The magic lantern is an early type of image projector that projected pictures of paintings, prints, or photographs on transparent glass plates via one or more lenses and an artificial light source.
Because many slides were labelled Sheffield Photographic Society or “T G Hibbert, Sheffield”, Mr McAdam offered the collection to the society. Transportation had to be carefully planned due to their delicate nature and was delayed by the lockdown until September.
Gareth Morgan, then society president, took on the task of sorting, identifying, cleaning and digitising the 400 slides with other members. Research revealed TJ Hibbert was Thomas George Hibbert, a member of the family who once owned the famous Hibbert’s Art Shop (later Greaves) on Norfolk Street.
Although listed as an art dealer, T G Hibbert was also a proficient photographer, and an early member of Sheffield Photographic Society. The collection is made up of floral shots, scenic shots of landscape and beauty spots mostly in around Sheffield and north Derbyshire, slides taken by his son William, also a photographer, and people. The Society regards this find as an important addition to its archives and is considering other ways in which they could be made more widely available.