Interview with Miles Dell, Historypin Assistant

Share on:


Name Miles Dell

Job Title Historypin Content Assisstant

What’s your role on Historypin?
I moderate content as it goes onto the site and research archives and institutions that might be interested in working with us. I also take photographs for any community outreach work that Historypin does, as well as leading the modern photography aspect of Historypin- this includes taking modern replicas and liaising with other photographers. Soon I will also be a Historypinner in Residence at English Heritage to help organise their archives and get their content up on the site.

How did you come to hear of the project?

I had heard only a few things about the project before I became a part of the team. I was on the dole and was shown the details about the project as part of a Government scheme called the Future Jobs Fund, which creates jobs for 18-24 year olds. History and photography are both passions of mine, and the opportunity to combine the two on a project such as this was one that I jumped at.

Describe an average work day for you

I will come in and spend time in the morning going through recently uploaded content, adding keywords and checking that details are correct. When we were running a community project in Reading, I helped out with optimising the images for web use, sometimes digitising submissions we received. I also spend some time researching institutions we can work with, this involves looking through image libraries as well as contacting curators and library directors.

What is the oddest job you’ve been asked to do in the name of Historypin?
I have done a lot of photography for the site, but spending a couple of hours on Trafalgar Square shooting a photo every minute was fun.

What excites you the most about Historypin?
Seeing the amount of content that goes up everyday shows that we are building something which can become a great resource for future generations is very rewarding, though the stories that come in show that people are having an emotional response to our content, which shows that our original aim of creating this online community is coming to fruition.

Can you show us a photo you have personally pinned on Historypin?


Checkpoint Charlie, 19 August 1963, uploaded from Wikimedia Commons

What’s your favourite photo that has been pinned to the Historypin map and why?

Mulberry Street Scene, New York City, 1900

The image itself is amazing, a black and white image from the immigrant centre of New York, where colour has been added afterwards. There is so much going on the image and the colour makes it come to life. On top of this it fits so well with the Street View, because the architecture has changed so little in the last century.

What content would you like to see more of on Historypin?
I would like to see more content from the iconic photographers of the last hundred years, such as Cartier- Bresson, on the site. Much of the content is very personal, user submitted work, and I believe that content from well known photographers will help make the site accessible to a wider audience.

Why do you think people should add their photos and stories to Historypin? Historypin is a way of writing history in your own voice. That in a few years we will have this patchwork history round the world, written by the world and not a historian or an editor is an exciting prospect. And, the more people join, the more accurate the content will become.

What do you think the future of Historypin is?
I would like to see Historypin being used as a serious educational tool. The range of modern (and personal) history that a teacher could access will provide a new way of looking at history, and provide a more interesting medium for students to work with.