Some very good news announced yesterday 21st July 2022 – The National Archives; Archives Revealed Scoping Grant has been awarded to CMHASD to assess the value and future of our Hewitt Camera Archive Collection!
Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society Dartford (CMHASD) are the authorised custodians of the Hewitt Camera Archive Collection, containing over 11,000 wide-field sky glass/plastic satellite and astronomical photographic plates. This unique collection covers a historic period of 30 years from 1965 and relates to both the Northern and Southern hemispheres (the UK and Australia). 

This Archives Revealed scoping grant is the first stage for funding the restoration, conservation, safeguarding, cataloguing, digitisation, and public sharing of this unique collection before deterioration and loss occurs. The Hewitt Camera Archive Collection is an insightful, historical and scientific resource into the UK’s part in the early days of space exploration. CMHASD is committed to sharing this valuable astronomical research archive with current and future generations as a physical and digital resource for all.

Quote from CMHASD President John Archer: “CMHASD is thrilled and grateful to The National Archives, The Pilgrim Trust, and the Wolfson Foundation for the award of this Archives Revealed scoping grant for our Hewitt Camera Archive Collection. This grant will enable our small charitable society to fund expert opinion and guidance to assess the digitisation, cataloguing, and planning towards making this unique UK space history and astronomical photographic collection safe and publicly available to the world. So…watch this space!”
The Society would like to thank Gary Hunt and team for your efforts securing the scoping grant.  Fantastic news & well done!
Gary wrote ‘This is exciting news but this is only the first step on what may be a long journey? Further substantial funding will be required to undertake the completion our objectives derived from the outcomes of the forthcoming Archives Revealed scoping report. The scoping report will determine the value (in terms of scientific, cultural and historical context) of the CMHASD Hewitt Camera Archive Collection and will also make recommendations on how to maximise exploitation and preservation of the collection. 

We are grateful for this opportunity to move the current situation on and provide future access of the Hewitt Camera Archive Collection to the world before it further degrades or suffers calamity!

We are always grateful for offers of help or ideas for achieving our objective of fulfilling our solemn commitment to keeping the Hewitt Camera Archive Collection safe and allowing full exploitation by the astronomical, scientific, historical community… and lets not forget yourself!’