Reach launches Memory Lane

Reach Labs, the recently formed innovations hub at Reach plc, is launching its first standalone product, Memory Lane, powered by AI.

Reach launches Memory Lane
Professor Kate Williams: “Photographs are one of the most important social documents we have access to.”

The free picture archive tool from the owners of The Mirror and The Express is being bolstered by a content campaign fronted by broadcaster, author and historian Professor Kate Williams. It also follows a specially commissioned nostalgia survey which shows that the majority of the UK haven’t digitised their past (80%).

Memory Lane lets the public preserve and share their role in history by uploading historical images that matter to them which could otherwise be lost forever. The tool, which uses open source AI, even allows people to colourise images for free.

The content features diverse images from the Reach picture archives including Guy Fawkes, Remembrance Sunday, the NHS, multicultural Britain, celebrations, migration, Windrush and street parties.

A freshly commissioned YouGov survey carried out for Memory Lane suggests that the past is in danger of being lost because 80% of Brits haven’t digitised all their photos. Other key insights from the poll include:

  • 67% of the population are looking for something that brings them comfort
  • More than half of UK adults (55%) are thinking about what we did before the pandemic
  • Almost a third of the population (33%) are looking at old photographs to get themselves through these strange times.

Darren Sher, Product and Innovation Director for Reach Labs said, “As most events for Fireworks Night and Remembrance Sunday are cancelled, Memory Lane presents the perfect opportunity to relive and share your past.”

Maureen McDonagh, Chief Customer Officer at Reach plc said, “Memory Lane is just one of the exciting ways we will be deepening our relationship with our customers through things they cherish and love.”

Professor Kate Williams, who is passionate about the preservation of memories said, “Photographs are one of the most important social documents we have access to, allowing us to understand society and communities from different generations. We learn so much more about our past when we look at the photographs of everyday people as opposed to royalty and aristocracy. If important images languish in the loft, there is a real danger they may be lost forever.”