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Appeal launched to identify thousands of regional daily’s photos

John MeadAn appeal has been launched to identify the subjects of thousands of photographs from a regional publisher’s archive that were rescued from a skip.

The pictures in question were taken from the 1940s to 1960s by photographer Arthur Cooper, who worked for the Coventry Evening Telegraph, Midlands Daily News and Birmingham Post and Mail.

A total of 8,049 glass plates were rescued from a skip some time after Arthur’s death and were held by the Telegraph’s archive until 2012, when the office closed down.

They then spent a decade at Reach plc forerunner Trinity Mirror’s central Mirrorpix archive in Watford, but have now been returned to Coventry University.

John Mead, archive manager at Reach, told the BBC: “My understanding is the family were disposing of the archive some years ago, when someone recognised its worth and organised for its retrieval.

“We recovered about 10,000 glass plates, with the collection predominantly documenting the rebuilding of the city after the war.”

“But we couldn’t identify who was in these pictures because there was no documentation whatsoever with the archive, all we knew was it was taken by Arthur.”

The university has now digitised the collection and released it online, with the hope people will come forward to identify those featured in the photos.

Project director Dr Ben Kyneswood said: “As soon as I opened the files I thought ‘this is just marvellous’.

“There were just thousands of images with no information on.”

He added: “I’ve been involved with Coventry Cathedral since 1962 and so was at many events which Arthur covered as a freelance, so I got to know him.

“He was a lovely man, we just got on really well.”