Geoffrey Smith Archive is launched in celebration of village life in Stradbroke

Fire service versus young wives pancake race, February 1972. Photo: Geoffrey Smith

Fire service versus young wives pancake race, February 1972. Photo: Geoffrey Smith - Credit: Archant

Thousands of photographs shining a spotlight on life in a Suffolk village through the second half of the last century are available online for the first time.

The Geoffrey Smith Archive features thousands of images taken in Stradbroke and surrounding villages in the 1950s through to the 1980s.

Mr Smith was, for decades, at the heart of the village life and carried his camera with him everywhere he went.

When he died in 2012, Mr Smith's son, Michael, and daughter Linda, discovered more than 30,000 negatives in a box in the loft and set about transferring them into digital files.

Michael Smith has since spent two years processing the files which were housed on 1,000 reels.

Now, part of this amazing collection – documenting village fetes, local businesses, sporting events and village residents – has been passed to Stradbroke Village Digital Archive.

On Saturday, members of the village, many of whom are pictured in the archive, gathered at the Court House to reminisce as the Geoffrey Smith Archive was officially launched.

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Ann Readman, from the village archive, said: 'People love it, we have the ability now to peek deeply into the more recent past, through these beautiful photographs.

As the first raft of images from Mr Smith's personal collection are made available online, it is hoped that people will contribute to identifying the photographs.

Michael Smith said: 'We're really chuffed that people can go on the website and see them. I just hope people look at them and puts names to the faces.'

Mr Smith's daughter Linda Woodward said: 'The camera went to work with him, it went everywhere. He would've loved this and to see them being shared.

'I'm looking forward to them being online.

'People can add their own comments to each photo on the website and hopefully can tell us more about them.'

To view the archive visit www.stradbrokearchive.org.uk/gsa

The photos have been used with kind permission of Michael Smith and Linda Woodward.

Are you helping to develop a village archive? Email kate.royall@archant.co.uk