Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)YMCA/K/1
TitlePhotographs illustrating war emergency work of the YMCA
Extent4290 items in 23 volumes
DescriptionThis sequence comprises a large collection of photographs which record and illustrate the YMCA's wide-ranging war emergency work at home and overseas. In addition to original photographs, the material also includes postcards, maps and some printed illustrations used in publications.

These photographs illustrate, for example, the provision of the YMCA huts which were erected in cities, villages and railway stations and in the major training camps in England and also with the British Expeditionary Force at the great bases at Le Havre, Rouen, Calais, Boulogne, Etaples and Abbeville, and subsequently at the frontline. They include numerous images of exteriors and interiors of these huts, many of them featuring the facilities and activities provided by the YMCA and incorporating both troops and YMCA workers in the images. The facilities and activities shown in the photographs range from the provision of comforts such as canteens and refreshment centres, of forms of recreational and entertainment such as concerts, libraries, gramophones and games, and of sporting activities such as boxing and football matches and competitions and tug of war events. Cinemas were also established in large huts in military training camps and at the overseas bases and these are also pictured.

Other aspects of the YMCA's work at home which are illustrated include the provision of overnight hostels in London and a motor transport service for men on leave; the establishment of employment bureaus to assist discharged soldiers and sailors to find suitable employment; and the association's pioneering work in providing training schemes for disabled service men which gave a lead to the public authorities. Its overseas work represented in these volumes include its work with prisoners of war, the hostels at hospital bases which provided accommodation and comfort for relatives visiting wounded soldiers.

The crucial role of women in the YMCA's war work, particularly in the association's kitchens and canteens in its centres at home and at the front, is very apparent in these photographs.

As well as recording the YMCA's work, these volumes also include photographs more broadly of the war including views of the war zones of war damage to towns, buildings and countryside, and of other general views and scenes of people, places, buildings and countryside unconnected with the First World War.

Each book was numbered by the YMCA and it is clear from this numbering that at least two of the original green books have been lost including one which would have contained photographs relating to its work in France and in particular at the bases in Abbeville, Boulogne and Calais. Some individual photographs have also been removed by YMCA staff over the years before the collection was deposited - presumably for publicity purposes - and were not replaced and are now missing.

A contemporary manuscript contents list can be found at the front of each volume which provides page number, a geographical location (eg country and place) or subject, a brief description and the YMCA's own photograph numbers (which are noted on or by the photographs). The numbers assigned by the YMCA to the books has been retained as the title for each volume but the YMCA's numbering of individual photographs has not been used in this catalogue because of duplication of numbers. The photographs in each volume have simply been given a running number in the order they appear (except in instances where there are two copies of each photograph which have been given the same number).

The majority of the photographs have been individually captioned by the YMCA and these captions have been incorporated into the title field in the catalogue and presented in inverted commas. Occasionally there is no caption but where this can be inferred from information in the contents listings or from a similar image, this has been added in square brackets. Postcards often incorporate a caption in the image and this has been used as the caption for cataloguing purposes. The caption given in the title field is always prefixed by the type of image such as photograph, postcard, printed photograph (a term which has been used to encompass all printed illustrations from publications), followed by the geographical or subject divisions used by the YMCA in the contents listings, as appropriate.
NotesThe scanner used to scan the photographs was an Epson Expression 10000XL, purchased in 2010. The settings selected were as follows: Mode: 'Professional Mode', Name: 'Current Setting', Document Type: 'Reflective', Document Source: 'Document Table', Auto Exposure Type: 'Photo', Image Type: '48-bit Colour', Resolution: '300'.

All the images in sections YMCA/K/1/1-YMCA/K/1/4 were scanned as a JPEG at 300dpi. Photographs in sections YMCA/K/1/5-YMCA/K/1/23; YMCA/K/4/1-4; and YMCA/K/8/1-2 were scanned as a TIFF at 300dpi. These TIFF images were saved as high quality master copies (on the staff R drive), and then each image was converted into a JPEG at 300dpi to be used on CALM and on our online archive catalague, CALMView.
ArrangementThese photographs were mounted on paper, paginated and filed into green binders by the YMCA. The contents of each binder were broadly arranged into alphabetical sections, mostly by country (and then by place) but also by subject. This arrangement has been maintained although the mounted photographs have been removed from the binders and placed in melinex sleeves and binders of archival quality.
Access StatusOpen