A CROWDFUNDING campaign has been launched to raise funds to digitise precious photos of Weymouth's history.

The Herbert Collection, taken by Weymouth photographer Graham Herbert, is a unique record of the social history of Weymouth between 1953 and 1983.

The Dorset History Centre in Dorchester has launched the campaign because it needs to raise £8,000 to allow more of the images to be digitised. The collection contains more than 7,000 packets of photographic negatives

Graham Herbert was a professional Weymouth photographer who supplied images to the Dorset Daily Echo and was always on the scene to capture local events and daily life. He was the first photographer to be used by the Echo on a regular basis before it had its own photographic department

He captured many aspects of local life, including festivals and performances, shop displays and interiors, street scenes and every-day occurrences and agricultural and industrial work.

Graham's negatives are suffering from vinegar syndrome - an irreversible process of decay.

Over time the negatives start to bubble and decay and give off an acidic vapour that smells much like vinegar and the image is distorted.

There is no treatment to reverse or stop vinegar syndrome and without intervention to digitise the collection, it would be lost.

Archivist Cassandra Pickavance said: "We have already managed to digitise the worst affected negatives in the collection.

"Despite storing in cool and dry conditions it is only a matter of time before the rest of the negatives show visible signs of deterioration. So we are hoping to raise £8,000 to allow many more of the images to be digitised."

On these pages we're sharing some of these wonderful images.

We can see Graham Herbert's images of the surprisingly labour intensive process of transporting Portland limestone off the island in the 1960s.

Today, the process of moving, lifting and carrying quarried stone is a relatively simple affair: forklifts, conveyors and front end loaders make easy work of such things. Back in 1965 on the Isle of Portland, however, the process was a good deal more demanding. Firstly, workmen would construct a wooden cage support structure about the sides and circumference of the stone. Next commenced the Herculean task of rolling the block across craggy open land towards one of the manually operated cranes that stand sentry about Portland's coastline, a mere stone's throw from the sea.

After attaching the great lump of limestone to a crane, the men would proceed to crank and heave, until finally the block descended onto the open deck of a fishing vessel waiting patiently below.

From land to sea, and from sea to shortly land again: the block arrives at a nearby port, before it commences the rest of its journey inland - in this case to Newcastle - by road.

The Herbert Photographic collection also has images of Miss World international beauty pageant and one-time Bond girl Lesley Langley wandering around her hometown of Weymouth.

Catapulted into international limelight at the age of just 20, having won the titles of both Miss United Kingdom and Miss World in a single year, for Lesley, life in her hometown of Weymouth must have seemed extraordinarily surreal in 1965.

Miss Langley's star appeal was even capitalised upon by her local branch of Marks and Spencer!

The Dorset History Centre crowdfunder will run from tomorrow, Wednesday November 8, to December 13.

Cllr Deborah Croney, Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for economy, education, learning and skills, said: “By helping us raise funds, you are helping save these fantastic photographs for future generations."

People can donate online to help preserve the Herbert collection at crowdfunder.co.uk/save-herberts-weymouth Donations can also be taken by cheque made payable to Dorset Archives Trust, labelled Save Herbert’s Weymouth and sent to Dorset History Centre, Bridport Road, Dorchester, DT1 1RP.