Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
Some of the reaction against the move of the RPS collection could be described as wishful thinking. The argument that the cost for a Leeds family of 4, of 2 days in London to visit the V and A, limits accessibility is spurious. I have been a supported of the Media Museum and visited it twice, but on each occasion that was my sole reason to be in Bradford. People from all over the UK and abroad visit London for the sights and the many and various attractions, so to suggest that access to the RPS collection is compromised by being in London is nonsense. I understand that access to the RPS collection in Bradford has recently been less than one person per day.
Also in the 13 years since the collection was acquired, approximately 2% has been digitised. While this is not a criticism considering funding pressures, I understand that the V and A intend to digitise the whole collection and have the means to achieve this.
It seems clear that decisions were made "in camera" and no consultation took place about he decision to move the collection. However it is likely that consultations would have been expensive, would have resulted in considerable delay and may have resulted in an inconclusive result and ultimate indecision. At least we now have progress towards improved accessibility to the RPS collection.
The idea of spreading our cultural wealth outside the capital is idealistic and has met with considerable success, but the recent changes at the Science and Media Museum suggest that there may be long term problems when such a significant institution becomes isolated geographically. Don B
I agree with the argument laid out here. I live in Italy, and frequently vist London. I have managed to visit Bradford on one occasion only. It was ridiculously idealistic to site a national institution in such a remote setting. I look forward to visiting the new London museum at every future opportunity.