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Ron Bliss Bequest:    Slide collection

The collection of Ron Bliss’s 2”x2” slides consists of over 6000 images taken over a period ranging from the mid 1950s to the recent 2000s. The collection includes a wide range of subjects: caves & cavers; scenic views of the Lakes & Dales; various holidays at home and abroad (especially Turkey & Yugoslavia); the Red Rose Cave & Pothole Club (members, meetings, parties, events, walks etc.); friends & family, and all manner of natural history shots – birds, flowers & various animals. Many of the pictures reveal Ron in his prime – posing with friends or indulging in some sporting activity such as skiing, swimming or hiking.


Cataloguing and sorting the collection proved to be a difficult task. Most of the slides were generally kept in a variety of slide-storage boxes, however over the years they had become shuffled and generally mixed-up. Odd boxes of loose slides were especially difficult to sort out. About half the slides were dated (mainly the Kodak & Fuji) but unfortunately only a few were labelled with the ‘subject’. Sometimes it was possible to clearly identify the subject, however many of the slides have had to labelled in a generic fashion as ‘caver’, ‘snow scene’, ‘cave passage’ etc. Doubtless others will be able to clearly recognise these slides and so the catalogue can be updated as time goes by.


There was no ideal way to sort and classify the slides. As far as possible they have been kept in Ron’s original slide-boxes, but compressed and matched into various groups depending on date, subject etc. Many of the ‘below ground’ caving slides are grouped together, but not exclusively; some are mixed in with the ‘above ground’ shots. Inevitability there are a number of boxes which are described as just ‘mixed’ – i.e. mixed above & below ground; mixed dates & mixed film type! Its not ideal, but the idea is to facilitate the location of an individual slide so it can be easily retrieved from the collection if required.

The database catalogue

Every slide has been viewed, stored and entered on an Excel database. Slides_Database There are over 6000 entries, and if printed out, would run to 314 pages! For each slide the data includes: the number of the slide-storage box; the sequential slide number within that box; the total number of slides in the box; the type of film mount (Kodak, Agfa, Fuji, etc.); colour or B/W; above or below ground; the subject; date, if any, and a general comment. A sample of the database is printed out on the next page, but it is generally intended that it used on a computer. A few of the slides have been scanned and are available on a separate computer file.

Using the database

The catalogued can be browsed up & down without problem. The best way to search for a slide or topic is to use the ‘Ctrl. F(ind)’ and type an entry such as ‘Ease Gill’, ‘caver’, ‘Ron’ etc. A list of matching slides will appear to be searched. Make a note of the slide-box number and the slide number to locate it in the storage boxes. The slides themselves have not been numbered (the task was just too daunting), so it is good idea to keep a note of the box number etc. (or even mark the numbers on the slide) to ensure its return to its proper location. Try to avoid mixing the slides up!

The database should be ‘read-only’. Please do not try to alter it. If you can identify a person or location on the slides, then let the librarian know and she will update the database.

The slide storage system


The collection is kept in the RRCPC library. The slides are stored in a variety of slide-boxes: 28 oblong boxes with 1 or 2 magazines holding 30 to 100 slides each; there are  the small ’36 slide’ type, 4 large boxes holding 5 or 6 magazines and 118 of the small ’36-slide’ plastic boxes from Kodak, Agfa, Fuji etc.

These, in turn, are housed in 5 polythene containers, numbered I – V. Their contents are listed below with a rough guide to their content:

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Poly container I

Box 1  Few AG scenes

Box 2  Ease Gill, caves

Box 3 Walks & scenery

Box 4  Holiday shots

Box 5 Larger, 129 slides, mainly slides

Box 6  Ease Gill & good cave shots

Box 7  Scenery, Lakes


Poly container II

Box 8  Red Rose groups, walks, caves

Box 9  Mixed, caves, 1970s, Mossdale rescue 1967

Box 10            Turkey 1993

Box 11 Turkey 1981

Box12  Turkey 1993

Box 13  Slides for music

Box 14 ‘Caving with camera’

Box 15            Scenery & some caves c.1990s


Poly container III

Box 16            Scenery c.1980s

Box 17            Old glass slides, mixed subjects

Magazine box 18 Mixed subjects

Magazine box 19 Yugoslavia 1969

Magazine box 20 Yugoslavia 1969

Box 24 Mixed

Box 25 Mixed, some caves

Box 26 Mixed above ground

Box 27 Mixed some caves

Box 28 Mixed

Box 29 Above ground scenes

Box 30 Mixed

Box 31 Good caves

Box 32 Mixed


Poly container IV

Wood box 21 Mixed slides AG & UG

Wood box 22 Scenery & walks, few underground

Large black plastic box 23 Mixed, some good cave shots


Poly container V

Small black slide boxes B1 – B6

Small blue slide boxes BU1 – BU7

Small green slide boxes G1 – G39

Small orange slide boxes OR1 – OR8

Small white slide boxes W1 & W2

Small yellow slide boxes Y1 – Y56


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Ó  RRCPC 2007