Chris Wilkinsons interest was initially aroused about five years ago when he was shown some photographs of people and events, taken in Burton Bradstock sometime in the past. He realised that there must be many such pictures in the possession of the long time inhabitants of the village, and if brought together they could form a fascinating pictorial history - but if nothing was done they might well be lost forever.
He was retired, and at the time denied his main interest sport because of temporary injury, so he took the opportunity to pursue this idea and started searching out these old photographs. As Chris and his wife, Andrea, have lived in the village for many years and have been very much involved in all aspects of the communities activities, word soon spread of his project and the pictures came flooding in, along with many accounts of times past in Burton. Many villagers were caught up in Chriss enthusiasm and came forward with information, postcards, albums and the like to assist him in identifying places and people. He was particularly helped by Elizabeth Gale, Geoffrey Fowler, Greta Heal, Steve Northover, John Tillman, Colin Sibley and David McDermot.
He had sold his London printing machinery business in 1995 but had brought with him into retirement some sophisticated printing and enlarging equipment. He was thus able to copy the small photographs as larger enhanced pictures and make them suitable for showing to a much wider audience. Along with this work went the task of identifying, collating and cataloguing the many images available to him.
All the many hours of painstaking effort involved in bringing this collection together came to fruition in the splendid exhibition Chris staged in the W.I. Hall as part of the Burton Bradstock Millennium Festival Week 9th 15th July 2000. This show deservedly attracted widespread interest because together these photographs form a remarkable record of how the village has developed over the last century. This collection, which Chris has presented to the village, will be a unique and permanent archive for the village to enjoy and wonder at for many years to come.