British photographic history

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Digitisation: Architectural Association lantern slide collection

Ed Bottoms has posted on Twitter that the first phase of the digitisation of the Architectural Association lantern slide collection has been completed.

He writes... Pleased to announce completion of the first phase of digitising the historic Architectural Association Lantern Slide Collection. One of the most important surviving holdings of architectural lantern slides in the UK. 20,000+ glorious slides built up between 1890s-1940s...

The collection was at the heart of AA teaching and also operated as a hub for the loan of slides to numerous institutions and architecture schools across the UK- including Cambridge, Birmingham, Aberdeen and, closer to home, Bartlett, LCC School of Building, and the Courtauld...

The collection's original order and classification system (invented 1923 by AA Principal + couple of tutors) has also survived, revealing the intellectual framework, biases and categorisation behind construction (and transmission) of a British inter-war architectural canon...

The provenance records embedded in the collection provide a wealth of information on the networks of architects, artists, archaeologists, students and travellers engaged in architectural photography or slide collecting during this period...

In 2019 we begun making this remarkable collection fully accessible once more to researchers. A team of volunteers started cleaning, re-housing and digitising the collection - and over the last 12 months Lexi Frost overseen the completion of the first phase of the project...

As the slides are now being re-catalogued, the original order, inter-war categorisation, toponymy and terminology is also being preserved alongside - as evidence of the linguistic and classification structure underpinning the collection. 

See: @EdBottoms

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