Percy Evans’ Family Photographs – The Magic Lantern Slide Collection

This is not a commercial website! It’s for all family and friends who appear in these slides to enjoy memories and to explain our roots to the younger generation.

The above is just a small sample of the slide images you’ll see here.
This website contains the full archive of Percy Evans’ Magic Lantern Slide Collection in the Slide Trays. Selected slides have been collected in the new “Stories” section based on people, and the “Blog” section covers other topics

The slides archived here span across both World Wars to the early 1960s, when Percy and Maud moved from their home in Willis Avenue, Carshlaton Beeches, to live close to their daughter Margaret in a newly built bungalow in Byfleet, Surrey. They end when Percy passed away at the age of 73 in Johannesburg.

Percy had himself inherited Magic Lantern Slides from his father which I believe date back to the 1880s or possibly earlier. None of the slides are more recent than 1964.

Percy Evans was my Grandfather on my Mother’s side of the family.

I grew up with these slides, some of which depict me as a child.

How I Made this Website

I took each 3 inch square glass “slide” cleaned it and I scanned them all to make a digital archive of all the slides.

When I scanned each image originally in 2008 I found that the wooden trays they were stored in were hopelessly mixed up.

Although I did some sorting, there was a lot of scanning to be done. I decided that time would run out if I tried to do a full job on sorting first. So, I just numbered them tray by tray as I scanned them in, and built the first website in 2008 (you can still see it here – but it’s not recommended).

That’s how it remained until now (Easter 2020), and that’s how you can still view the slide archive in this website by using the drop-down tray-by-tray menus at the top left.

New “Stories” Created and a Blog Section!

This time I was determined to make the site much more user-friendly.

Each “Story” is based upon a “people” based topic, and shows relevant images (as far as I can work-out) in chronological order.

I am the first to admit that I will have made many errors. So, if you see mistakes please let me know about it! I’ll be pleased to put them right. In fact:

Please Give Me Feedback

I hope you will comment with suggestions.

Please don’t be shy! Interact and comment. email me and chase me if I don’t reply to comments!

Now go on and enjoy this website!

WARNING: Only Read-on if You Like Reading Techie Stuff…

Dirt on Slides

I cleaned each slide (itself a time consuming process) before scanning, but some dust and dirt remains where I thought further cleaning would cause damage.

There are still slides where dust and fingerprints remain visible. Those proved impossible to clean. Dirt had found it’s way into the tiny space between the two pieces of glass. Fingerprints which remain were also, it seemed to me, imprinted between the two pieces of glass.

What Happened to the Original Box of Magic Lantern Slides

A slide tray
Each of the slide trays was stored in a wooden cabinet.

After scanning in 2008, the trays were returned to the original hand-made cabinet Percy made for them.

But not long after that, I entered the garage at Rothley Close, Shrewsbury one day, to find that the cabinet had literally fallen apart under the weight of the slides.

Many slides had fallen and had been damaged. It was a complete mess.

I decided that the whole lot had to go, and sadly took them to our local recycling centre, as little more than a sack of glass.

However, they live on in digital form!

Website History

This is the second incarnation of this website. The first was coded directly in html, and was made before mobile phone and tablets became common. Hopefully, as I think most of you will view these slides on a phone, this version will provide a much better experience than the original website.

The following is the original introduction:

Introduction (2008 version)

From: Steve Last (Grandson of Percy)
Date:  Easter Holiday 2008Click here! We need help!

Welcome to the initial version of this new archive. I will be developing this web site over a period of time, when I get time. To get the site this far has taken a lot of time.

I am hoping that you will each tell me something about a few of the pictures, and I will add this information to the site progressively, so do please participate.

I hope that the older generation of the family will assist me to put a name and date to the images, and generally develop this site.

I think it is important that now the images have been digitised they are kept for future generations and not lost.

The purpose of this web site is to:-

“Provide digital access to Percy’s Slides ( and those he inherited from his father ) for all those in the family that are interested to see them.”

This is me while digitizing each slide into my computer in 2008, using my employer’s best scanner which I borrowed from the office over that Easter Break. My canine assistant “Eric” is also shown.

I hope that at least one other person, will help me with this and that they will look after copies of these files and possibly also help fund the storage of reliable back-ups for this site. I am not sure how this should be done, but having converted these images into digital form I would like to think that this family and social history will not be lost. (I have paid for the current domain name for 1 year to start with.)

The advent of the internet, and now fast broadband connections, has created a fabulous opportunity for this web site which for the first time allows access whenever we wish, and from wherever we are.

The offspring of Maud and Percy have spread far and wide, between the UK, Australia and South Africa (and now into New Zealand as well), which in the past meant that we could only share family history on those occasions when we would visit each other.

Now we can use a web site instead of a “Magic Lantern”, and we can now all see this archive, and use it when we want. From the oldest to the youngest this can be a resource to help us remember our “roots” better.

In addition this web site information might also be used to provide images and information for those who will be researching their genealogy and family trees.

Please comment and add to this website when you visit by commenting. Tell me what you like, and about the mistakes I’ve made!

Current Site Content and Future Improvements

I inherited the family cabinet of Percy Evans’ slides, plus a further box of negatives in the late 1970s.

As far as I know this cabinet is the full collection.

Initially, I plan to import just the slides, of which there are 6 trays. One tray contains negatives which I do hope to digitize once I have completed the 3 inch square slides. Therefore there are 5 trays of glass mounted slides, each of which hold 60 to 75 slides which have been included here, with 5 images per page.

The total site content holds about 350 slides.

The exercise of scanning in each tray has been time-consuming. I do carefully clean each slide with a dampened chamois leather and then dry them. Each tray of 60 or more slides will take 4 hours to scan and import onto my hard disk.

The dust, (and some fingerprints) which can be seen on the slides sometimes, are inside between the two sheets of glass between which the photographic film surface is protected. The fingerprints, where you see them, are I presume actually probably Percy’s!

Some of the oldest were Percy’s father’s work I believe.

The slides were originally displayed by using a projector with a large (and very hot) high-intensity lamp.

Original picture of website creater dating from the early 2000s
Original picture of yours truly from the early 2000s!

We always knew these slides as the Magic Lantern Slides, so I will call them as such here.

Initially, I will structure the site according to the Trays I found them in, just as the slides came out of the cabinet in which they have been housed for so long.

Over time I hope that I will find time to sort each image into subject and date order and to make the site easier to use.

I hope that you enjoy this website, and that you will also give me your comments, corrections, additional information and general encouragement.

Best wishes

Steve Last

 (The original slides have been scanned at a much higher definition than shown here. If you would like a copy of the CD which contains them all, use the Feedback feature to contact me, or just email me direct, and I will send you the full CD of images, as currently available, by post.)

Please tell a Family Relation or Friend of the Family about this site.

Please, download this page as an ebook and keep it for the memory.

If after 30 minutes the email has not arrived please check in your email spam, and if it’s not there Facebook Message me, or email me, and I’ll gladly send you the link myself – Steve (

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    • Chrissy
    • April 17, 2020

    Thanks Steve, enjoy looking through these. I don’t think I have any additional knowledge to add, but will let you know if I have any ‘light bulb’ moments.

    1. Reply

      Thanks for the feedback.

      We’ll keep it a secret that you’ve already told me about one mistake. I’ve no doubt there must be many more – just hoping nobody minds if I’ve mistaken them for someone else!

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