A COLLECTION of 60,000 photos documenting Somerset from 1938 to 1979 has been saved in a race against time.

A selection of the images is on display at The Museum of Somerset, with the full collection going online at the Somerset Heritage Centre.

Wellington photographer Stanley Kenyon's remarkable collection depicts Somerset people, places and communities at a time of rapid change and includes images from schools, the food and drink sector, industrial sites and well-known buildings.

This is The West Country:

AT WORK: Kenyon in his studio, c 1945

It also captures scenes from daily life, people and their pets, and portraits of servicemen and women.

Kate Parr, of the South West Heritage Trust, which led the project to digitise the decaying photos, said: "The acetate images were suffering from vinegar syndrome and the project has been a race against time to digitise these unique photographs before it destroyed them.

"The project has saved the rich information contained in these images for future generations, opening up this hidden collection so people can learn more about Britain’s 20th Century communities and industrial past."

Stanley Kenyon started his career taking portraits and photo of local events, later branching out into business and industrial photography, schools and military installations. In 1938, he was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.

The project to save and catalogue the collection was made possible with the support of the Murless Fund of Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society and the Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society.

The free to enter World Before Yesterday: The Photography of Stanley Kenyon exhibition is at The Museum of Somerset until the end of the year.

Janet Tall, head of archives at the South West Heritage Trust, will give a talk about Kenyon’s life and work, and the project to rescue the collection on Friday, May 11, at 2.30pm. It costs £5.

Volunteer-led tours of Taunton inspired by the exhibition, costing £3.50, are taking place every Saturday from May 19 until the end of September.

Contact the Museum on 01823-255088.