The Thrum Plates

This is a collection of old glass plate negatives that were discovered during the restoration of Thrum Mill in Rothbury.

They had been stored for as much as 100 years, and some were in an unsalvageable condition. However, with care and patience, 10 of the glass plates were cleaned, restored, scanned and retouched. Despite this work, some plates still had little visible image on them, but there was at least something, and these are included here.

Of particular interest was plate number 8, a fragment of which shows a sign saying "RAT PIT" and possibly a man leaning over, resting on the sign (perhaps a little clearer in the enlarged version). This is the first indication I can find that Rothbury had a rat pit, where rats and a Rothbury Terrier would be thrown together in a pit, with the aim of killing as many rats in as short a time as possible.

Another plate that was of interest was plate 6, a group of ladies and a dog. The image that remains is of very good quality (shown clearly in the enlarged section), but it required an unusual approach to restore it.

The photographic layer on the plate was curling and peeling, and each piece was removed, gently wetted in purified water, placed on a piece of clean glass and scanned. There were about a dozen pieces, some of which were badly distorted, and these were adjusted and re-assembled in Photoshop.