The preservation element of the MBTG project has finally been completed.
During the Great War, it became the practice at CCB to memorialise the death of an ‘old boy’ by placing their photograph in a glass-fronted frame in a recess in the wooden paneling of the College’s Central Hall (hence the Men Behind the Glass name). These original images were removed last year (2017) and sent to the Public Record Office for Northern Ireland (PRONI) for permanent conservation as many had become faded and damaged by time, some in danger of being lost forever.
The original images were replaced with temporary colour photocopies while the PRONI Digitisation Studio created digitally enhanced facsimiles, based on the original photographs, to create new images which would aim to resemble the originals as they may have appeared a century ago. Last week, the last facsimiles, on new mounts, were positioned in Central Hall, replacing all of the colour photocopies.
Altogether, 106 digitally restored facsimiles have been reinstated to Central Hall of 105 individuals (James Porter, for some reason, has two images). Though the 126 former pupils and one staff member from the College were killed in the First World War, 20 ‘old boys’ do not have photographs. The reason for this omission is unknown and is the subject of ongoing research.