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Restoring History at Drelincourt School

"Can you frame our school pictures?" Sounds like an easy request doesn't it?

Drelincourt School in Armagh wanted their group photographs framed to provide a record of their pupils over the years. So it was back to the future with a collection of photographs covering more than 20 years and a surprise shot in black and white.

It turned out to be a yellowed and faded photograph of the boys from Drelincourt School from 1902. It looked tired beside all the colourful modern school photographs covering the eighties, nineties and noughties. Rolf Lawson of Pelican Picture Framing thought that the school deserved a little bit of restoration for their historical photograph and set about bringing it back to life with a little help from a friend.

Mrs Sylvia Brooks, school principal had been instrumental in having an annual group photograph taken since she joined the school so the colour photographs, one from 1978 and the rest covering the period from 1986 to 2006 had built up over the years but had not always been framed.

The decision was taken to frame all the modern photographs in primary colours, red, yellow and blue. These seemed suitable for a primary school and would help brighten up the school foyer.

With help of some digital imaging software, the black and white photograph was scanned, repaired and enhanced and reprinted in sepia tones and framed in black and white.

Rolf Lawson said: "The point is that they are not just photographs but a record of past pupils, many of whom now have their own children at the school. They now make a striking impact as you enter the school and will no doubt become the focus of interest for parents and children alike," said Rolf. "It was great to have the opportunity to donate our time and materials to the school".

"My grandson Josh is a current pupil and both my daughters, Samantha and Alexis attended Drelincourt in their turn and to see faces from 20 years ago staring out from the photographs brought back fond memories. It was particularly interesting restoring the photograph from 1902, to see the children then. There was one lad at the front with bare feet, to think all of them were probably involved in the 1914-1918 war and to ponder on how many returned," he finished.

And what does the school think? Mrs Brooks said: "The photographs in the school foyer have always been a focal point for parents and visitors alike. Now they appear even more inviting in their colourful frames, the pupils love them as well. They delight in not only picking out their brothers and sisters but mums and dads. The framing of our photographs is greatly appreciated by all at the school," she added.

"When we started it was a simple framing job but it developed into something more thought provoking," said Rolf Lawson. "As members of the Fine Art Trade Guild, the school can be assured that our professional custom framing will now enhance and protect their photographs for years to come."

Ulster Gazette - 16th May 2007
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