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12201133072?profile=originalBeing There is a new publication from Michael Hallett. It consists of fragments of biographies that collectively follow the progress of picture journalism from the advent of the miniature camera through to the arrival and impact of the digital age. It covers a ninety-year period from c1923 to 2012 and provides a critical compilation of encounters with influential photographers and their visual icons.

It introduces snatches of life; the individual photographer’s biographies, the biography of the subject of the photographer’s gaze and to some extent the biography of the observer who intercepts the photographer and extends the story. This is not a history of modern photojournalism but a meander through the media’s past, just stopping at strategic points to mark in the detail and paint in the colour.

The predominant narrative to this book relates to the photographic documentary in Europe and America and the individual interviews reflect this. Many of these interviews have been published in the photographic press and are reproduced here in edited or expanded form, while others have been interviewed specifically for this book.They cover five periods:

  • 1923-1940 with the emergence of the picture magazine;
  • 1940-1975 the golden age of photojournalism and the arrival of the ‘colour supplements’;
  • 1975-2000 which provides new thinking and looking;
  • 2000-2010 that sees the arrival of the democracy of photography; while
  • 2011-2012 reviews concerns and queries, outcomes and polarities of Armageddon and renewal.

Mike Hallett’s publication has evolved over a thirty year period and is now presented from a 2019 perspective. His conversations with such photographers as Tim Gidal, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Carl Mydans, Sebastiāo Salgado as well as more recent practitioners all reflect the time of their particular interview.

Further information from

Published by CrabApple Publications, Worcester, UK
Softback Economy Edition available via Amazon
ISBN 9781714312023
260 pages, 96,000 words with pictures

The book is available from Amazon for £27.40 with free delivery

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12201132683?profile=originalThe latest issue of the free, online, Science Museum Journal (Spring 2020, issue 13) includes two articles of particular interest to British photography. Jeffrey Sturchio writes about Kenneth Mees, Eastman Kodak and the challenges of diversification and Jason Bate writes about Projecting soldiers’ repair: the ‘Great War’ lantern and the Royal Society of Medicine. 

The rest of the issue and past volumes are worth checking out too. 


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Online exhibition: Cecil Beaton

12201124256?profile=originalHuxley-Parlour has launched an exhibition of over 40 vintage and early Cecil Beaton photographs in its dedicated online viewing room. The site is populated with in-depth essays and a range of detailed imagery, bringing context and information to each work. The photographs survey Beaton's career, ranging from portraits of the 'Bright Young Things' in the 1920s, to his innovative fashion work and portraiture in the 1930s and 1950s.


Image: Cecil Beaton, Lady Loughborough Under a Bell Jar, 1927

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12201122862?profile=originalJames Hyman Gallery presents an online exhibition of largely unseen photographs by Shirley Baker selected from the British photographer’s estate. The exhibition, which goes live from 22 June to 24 July via the Gallery’s website , includes her rare colour work as well as a selection of iconic black and white images.

Focusing on Shirley Baker’s celebrated street scenes photographed around Manchester and Salford in the north of England, this exhibition explores her depiction of older people. Shirley Baker’s daughter, Nan Levy, who co-curated the show with James Hyman, explains: “We are now starting to see the easing of the lockdown and with that we can begin to step outside, enjoy the sunshine and play sport. Sadly our elderly folk are still advised to stay safe at home; unable to see their loved ones or enjoy simple pleasures such as going to the park. I have gathered together a collection of Shirley’s photographs taken from the mid 60s to the mid 80s; these show older people enjoying their daily lives in the community in a way that is not possible at the moment.”

Shirley Baker, once writing of her motivations, expressed a world of street life that seems like a distant memory: “I love the immediacy of unposed, spontaneous photographs and the ability of the camera to capture the serious, the funny, the sublime and the ridiculous. Despite the many wonderful pictures of the great and famous, I feel that less formal, quotidian images can often convey more of the life and spirit of the time.”

All works are for sale, subject to availability with prices starting at £1,800+VAT


12201123101?profile=originalAbout Shirley Baker

Shirley Baker (1932, Kersal, Salford–2014, Wilmslow, Chesire) is today recognised as one of the preeminent British photographers of the post war period, and one of a very small number of women street photographers in post-war England. Beginning her work in the late 1950s her pictures reveal the legacy of Bill Brandt's pioneering study of The English at Home (1938) and the Picture Post magazine photo stories of Bert Hardy, Grace Robertson, Thurston Hopkins and others. Based in the streets of Manchester and Salford,

Baker's photographs also provide a northern counterpart for the type of street photography practised in London at the same period by Roger Mayne, which also saw a focus on children. However Baker's photography has a particular, individual quality that distinguishes her work and her sensitivity to her subjects.

Baker's humanist documentary work allows an intimate look on the daily life of working class communities during the 1960s and up to the late 1970s. The black and white images find their visual power in the layers of their composition. The juxtaposition between the half-demolished grim backgrounds and the subject matter, mostly children playing and women daily life, allow an emphatic engagement. Through her devotion to a rightful representation of her subjects, allowing a level of humour in her images, Baker's photography grants visibility to the resilience of human spirit at a time of radical change for working-class communities in Northern England.

Hampered by the denial of a role for women in a man-lead industry, Baker's contribution to photography was not recognised until recent years. Her work was exhibited in multiple group exhibitions such as the Observers: British Photography and the British Scene , at the Serviço Social da Ind(SESI), SPaulo in 2012; Looking Outwards at the Oldham Gallery in Manchester in 2013; and the major exhibition: Shirley Baker. Women, Children and Loitering Men, The Photographers' Gallery, London 2015 (and tour). In 2019, a monograph of her work was published by MACK.

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12201136885?profile=originalDrawing: The Muse of Photography is a webinar from Drawing America and presents a conversation on the relationship between drawing and photography with Hans P. Kraus Jr., Malcolm Daniel, Curator of Photography at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and moderated by Allison Wucher, Director of Master Drawings New York. 

The talk will include a presentation on the early photographs and drawings by the pioneers of photography in Kraus’s current gallery exhibition, Drawing: The Muse of Photography. It will explore the techniques and innovations of early photographic artists, as well as how these new technologies were received by their contemporaries. Following the presentation, the panel will discuss the continued exchange and intersection between photography and drawing from the time William Henry Fox Talbot published The Pencil of Nature (1844-46) up to today.

To join this special free webinar via Zoom on Sunday May 31st at 1400 (EST) (1900 BST) please register here

Image: Oscar Gustave Rejlander, The First Negative, 1857, coated salt print. Musée d’Orsay, Paris


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12201136096?profile=originalBonhams is to auction a collection of material, including cameras, tripods, workbench and woodworking tools, and the sign from the Gandolfi camera makers workshop in Borland Road, London, in a single lot on 29 July 2020. The property was originally offered by Christie's by private treaty in 1994 and is offered by that buyer, a Swiss collector. The collection is estimated by Bonhams at £3000-5000. 

Read the full description here:! 

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12201135060?profile=originalLai Fong (c.1839-1890): Photographer of China is the first exhibition devoted to a nineteenth-century Chinese photographer. Unfortunately, the exhibition at Cornell University's Johnson Museum of Art is inaccessible due to current circumstances. To share a view of the exhibition, Stephan Loewentheil, one of the principal supporters of the exhibition, has put together this short video with a selection of important photographs by the early Chinese master. The video is best viewed in full screen by following this link:

12201135665?profile=originalThe official exhibition page can be found here:

The exhibition was curated by Kate Addleman-Frankel, the Gary and Ellen Davis Curator of Photography at the Johnson, and Stacey Lambrow, curator of the Loewentheil Photography of China Collection, with the assistance of Yuhua Ding, curatorial assistant for Asian art at the Johnson. It is supported in part by the Helen and Robert J. Appel Exhibition Endowment.

The Loewentheil Collection consists of more than 21,000 original photographs, most dating to the late Qing Dynasty. The Collection includes countless masterpieces, in superb condition, by the artistic giants of early photography of China. It presents a stunning visual record of China’s landscape, people, and culture. 

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Hello, I am doing some research on UK photographic studios and am trying to find information on the studio of W (William ?) Lynden of 11 Union Street, Plymouth.  Is there a free centralised searchable site where I might be able to find details of all UK studios? Any advice or help is greatly appreciated. I am located in Melbourne, Australia.


John Campbell. 

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Dr Richard Sadler FRPS, one of British photography's important post-war figures, has died aged 92 years after a short illness. Originally from Coventry, Sadler was in his home city during the Coventry Blitz of 1940 and later documented the reconstruction of the city and the iconic Coventry Cathedral, becoming its official photographer. He was also the heavily involved with the city's Belgrade Theatre from 1958 until 1994 and part of his work there has now been digitised. 

He began teaching photography at Derby College of Art (later University of Derby) and was appointed course leader of the BA course in the 1980s. Derby University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2006.

12201132083?profile=originalSadler's best known image is of the famous American photographer, Arthur Fellig -  Weegee the Famous - photographed when he visited Coventry in 1963. His photographs are held in several international collections, including The Royal Photographic Society Collection,the Centre for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

He joined the Royal Photographic Society in 1960 and was a former chairman of its Contemporary Group, editing its journal for many years The RPS awarded him its Fenton Medal in 2005. He was profiled by Mike Hallett in the Society's publication Portfolio Two (2010). 

In 2007 he moved to Monmouthshire where he died on Saturday. BPH's condolences go to his partner, Sue, his daughters and family. 


With thanks to John Blakemore and Paul Hill. 

More to follow.  

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12201129893?profile=originalThe John Rylands Library in Manchester has a wonderful collection of historic and contemporary photography. Tony Richards from its imaging team is using COVID-19 lockdown as an opportunity to experiment with very modern imaging techniques to visualise spaces and objects from its collection. One of the objects visualised is a daguerreotype which presents its own challenges in showing the surface and characteristic transition between the 'negative' and 'positive'. These techniques have the potential to open up spaces and the collection for those unable to visit in person.   

Read the full blog here:  

Image: Tony Richards, Daguerreotype of Catherine Hannah Dunkerley. John Rylands Library, Manchester.

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12201129284?profile=originalJames Hyman Gallery presents a specially curated online exhibition that addresses physical and mental well-being entitled In Sickness and in Health: Heather Agyepong, Anna Fox and Jo Spence. Originally, conceived for the cancelled Paris Photo New York fair in New York in March, the themes of this three person exhibition have taken on a new resonance in the present global health crisis.

The exhibition includes Jo Spence’s seminal “Phototherapy” work made in the 1980s when Spence used photography as a psychological tool to navigate her diagnosis with cancer. Anna Fox presents one of her most celebrated, powerful and intimate bodies of work, My Mother's Cupboards and my Father's Words, a recording of her ill father’s outbursts that were mainly directed at the female members of his family. It is the first time the series has been made commercially  available with the publication of a limited edition. The exhibition is also the premiere for Heather Agyepong's latest series, Wish You Were Here (2020), a new body of work focusing on the life of Aida Overton Walker, the celebrated African American vaudeville performer

The exhibition opening is timed to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week and 10% of sales will go to MIND, the mental health charity,

Heather Agyepong
The exhibition is the world premiere for Heather Agyepong's latest series, Wish You Were Here (2020). Following the success of her earlier series Too Many Blackamoors, Agyepong’s new body of work focuses on the life of Aida Overton Walker, the celebrated African American vaudeville performer. Known as the Queen of the Cake-Walk – in reference to a dance craze that swept America & Europe in the early 1900s – Walker challenged the rigid and problematic narratives of black performers. Originally performed by slaves who mocked and mimicked the slave owners and high society by the early twentieth century the dance had become so fashionable that postcards depicting Cake-Walk dancers were distributed around Europe. These postcards were often grotesque and offensive with the allure of spectacle where the performers lacked agency. Agyepong echoes these postcards but re-imagines the subject not as one of oppression but of self-care with a mandate for people of Afro-Caribbean descent to take up space. The images explore the concepts of ownership, entitlement and mental well-being. The series was commissioned by THE HYMAN COLLECTION and Agyepong has just been announced as one of the winners of a grant from Firecracker.

Anna Fox
Anna Fox presents one of her most celebrated, powerful and intimate bodies of work My Mother's Cupboards and my Father's Words. This is the first time the series has been made commercially available with the publication of a limited edition. Originally conceived as a miniature limited edition book that paired images and text. While her father was ill for many years, Fox kept a notebook recording his outbursts that were mainly directed at the female members of his family. Her father’s words are paired with a series of claustrophobic images of her mothers' neatly kept cupboards to reveal a couple struggling to keep an even keel in the wake of a rapidly debilitating disease. The series presently features in the provocative exhibition Masculinities. Liberation through Photography (Barbican Centre, London and tour to Rencontres Arles, and the Gropius Bau, Berlin) where the series has met with particular critical acclaim. The book has also long been out of print and this presentation coincides with the launch of a newly conceived publication of the work in a special edition of 500 copies.

Jo Spence
Jo Spence who died in 1992 remains one of the major influences on contemporary British photography in the way in which she placed herself at the centre of her work and in the performative nature of these images. The exhibition includes rare and unique examples of her seminal “Phototherapy” work made in the 1980s. In 1981 Spence was diagnosed with cancer and much of her subsequent work was a response to her treatment by the medical establishment and her attempt to navigate its authority through alternative therapies. Subsequently Spence used photo narrative, montage and performative re-staging of personal trauma, using photography as a psychological tool. In 'Phototherapy' sessions Spence and collaborators such as Rosy Martin adopted techniques from co-counselling. The considerable achievement of Photo-Therapy was to invert the traditional relationship between the photographer and the subject. Whereas previously the photographic subject had little control over their own representation, Phototherapy shifts this dynamic. The subject is able to act out personal narratives and claim agency for their own biography. Spence was recently the subject of a major exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London.

In Sickness and in Health

18 May - 19 June 2020
Heather Agyepong, Anna Fox and Jo Spence


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12201130096?profile=originalIn a post to this blog on 18 April 2020, the author described differences in the titles of three Roger Fenton images in Crimean War photographic collections at the Library of Congress (LoC) and the Royal Collection Trust (RTC). This is still unresolved because of ‘lockdowns’ caused by the coronavirus, but Micah Messenheimer at LoC informs me that he is continuing to work on it because of its importance to him and the collection. He is waiting to hear back from the RCT at the moment.

In this post, mistakes in online information provided by the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Centre in Los Angeles for images in its collection taken by James Robertson/Felice Beato photographic team are detailed. The Getty Museum has a collection of 177 images taken by James Robertson/Beato. A photograph of Robertson is shown on the right. Of these 177 images, 76 are of the Crimea taken at the time of the Crimean conflict of 1854-56. Each has a title and a brief description of the image. Of the 76 Crimean images, 49 are not available to view. The actual images of only 27 are available to view and download.

Many of the titles given to the 27 visually available Robertson/Beato Crimean War images in the Getty Museum are not the same as those in the Royal Collection Trust. However, when analysing the titles, differences in wording was ignored by the author if the title was still appropriate for the visual image. Nevertheless, despite this being taken into consideration, the images associated with 13 of the 27 (48%) did not match their titles and descriptions.

Those accessions found with an image not matching the title and description follow: -

Image entitled French Works and Batteries (Acc. No. 84.XM.475.15) should have the more appropriate title View of the Malakoff Battery taken from the Mamelon Vert.

Image entitled Balaklava (Acc. No. 84.XA.619.77) should have the more appropriate title Village and Harbour of Sevastopol with the Huts of the Guards.

Image entitled The End of Balaklava Harbour (Acc. No. 84.XA.886.51) should have the more appropriate title Village and Harbour of Sevastopol with the Huts of the Guards.

Image entitled Interior of the Redan (Acc. No. 84.XA.886.57) should have the more appropriate title Breach in the Redan. Where the great struggle took place on 8th September 1855.

Image entitled Interior of the Redan (Acc. No. 84.XO.1375.24) should have the more appropriate title Bomb Proof Hut of the Russian General in the Redan.

Image entitled Bomb Proof Hut of the Russian General in the Redan (Acc. No. 84.XO.1375.25) should have the more appropriate title View of Sebastopol from the Right of the Redan.

Image entitled Interior of the Mamelon Vert (Acc. No. 84.X0.1375.31) should have the more appropriate title Corner of the Malakoff Battery, Mamelon Vert in the distance.

Image entitled Corner of the Malakoff Battery, Mamelon Vert in the distance (Acc. No. 84.XO.1375.34) should have the more appropriate title Bomb Proof Magazines in the Malakoff Battery.

Image entitled Panorama of Sebastopol from the Malakoff Tower (Acc. No. 84.XO.1375.38) should have the more appropriate title View of Russian hospitals from Fort Paul.

Image entitled View of the Arsenal and Docks (Acc. No. 84.XO.1375.39) should have the more appropriate title Chapman’s Battery, left Attack.

Image entitled View of the Russian Hospitals (Acc. No. 84.XO.1375.40) should have the more appropriate title Chapman’s Battery, Left Attack showing part of the Redan.

Image entitled Chapman’s Battery, Left Attack (Acc. No. 84.40.1375.42) should have the more appropriate title Creek Battery from the Garden Battery

Image entitled Sebastopol. From the Left Attack (Acc. No. 84.40.1375.49) should have the more appropriate title Headquarters at Sebastopol. The Getty Museum's website image of Sebastopol. From the Left attack is shown below. It has the description: - Elevated view of Pivdenna Bay, off Sevastopol Bay. Ruined buildings, from both the city of Sevastopol and Russian military fortifications, cover the hilly landscape around the bay. This is one that was clearly not correct.


In the above cases, a mix-up in images, possibly when they were transferred to the website, may be the cause of the errors. The titles suggested as being more appropriate above were found associated with other photographs in the Crimean War collection of Robertson/Beato in the Getty Museum. Some were those of images that were available for view and others from images that were not shown. This strongly suggests that some images not available to view also have the wrong titles. A thorough re-appraisal of all the 76 images and their titles/descriptions needs to be undertaken to resolve this issue.

The author refers those interested to the Getty Museum’s website: -

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12201130067?profile=originalQueen Victoria's accession to the throne in 1837 coincided almost exactly with the invention of photography. She would be the first woman in the world to live both her private and public lives in front of the camera.

At first, photography was a private pleasure, a way of capturing images of herself and her family for their own personal amusement. But during the course of her 64-year reign, Queen Victoria began to use the camera as a political weapon. The new art of photography was a vital tool in Victoria's battle to safeguard the British throne. It was a means to quell the forces of republicanism, a way to win the affection and sympathy of her people and an opportunity to establish her as the defining symbol of British imperial power.

By the time Queen Victoria died in 1901, photography had transformed the relationship between the monarchy and the people. The private life of the monarch was more visible to more people than ever before. But Victoria still managed to take one photographic secret to the grave.

On BBC4 and then online

Details of the rest of the series can be seen here: 

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12201126482?profile=originalThis is a device that is new to me, I don't even know what to call it. 6 x 6" box, it has a concave mirror and slots to fit photos. Not at all like a Graphoscope. You position yourself behind the photo and view the enlarged image in the mirror. Rather clever, as you can see both the front and back of a CDV at the same time.

Does anyone know what this is called?12201127090?profile=original12201126886?profile=original12201127891?profile=original

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12201121687?profile=originalHistoric Environment Scotland (HES) has asked the public to help identify over 5,000 archive images which are now available online for the first time. In 2019-20, over 170,000 archive items from the HES archives were digitised, with the images now being added to Canmore – the online catalogue of HES archives. The new online records include digitised copies of photographic negatives and printed photographs from the Scottish Development Department (SDD) which was formed in 1962.

The archives showcase rural and urban Scotland in the 1970s and 1980s, from crofts in the Highlands and farms in Orkney to large estates in Fife and tenements in Glasgow. 

The collection gives a rare insight into what life was like throughout Scotland at that time with pub interiors, fashion trends and interior design choices all documented. There are also extensive records of Glasgow and Edinburgh and nearby locales, as well as Scotland’s new towns.

Over 5,000 images of locations and building exterior and interiors are currently unidentified as part of this collection, with HES aiming to identify as many as possible with the help of the public.

Also digitised this year were prints relating to significant archaeological digs including images of excavations at historic sites such as Skara Brae in Orkney and Edinburgh Castle. Approximately 14,000 prints were also digitised from personal research and work by prominent archaeologists such as Dr Euan Mackie, Roger Mercer and Vere Gordon Childe, with the oldest image dating from around 1927.

Lesley Ferguson, Head of Archives at HES, said: “These archives give a unique perspective on civic planning in the 20th century including the development and growth of Scotland’s new towns, while the images of excavations showcase the sites that helped archaeologists unlock the secrets of Scotland’s past – from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages."

“Unfortunately, we don’t know where some of these historic photographs were taken and that’s why we are asking for the public’s help. Perhaps there’s a photo of your street, or your local pub, or even the flat you lived in as a student."

Help us discover more of Scotland’s past by visiting Canmore and letting us know if you recognise any of the places documented in these archives.”Over 1 million archives documenting Scotland’s archaeological sites, buildings, industry and maritime heritage are currently available on Canmore."

See more and identify images here:

See Canmore here:

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12201128874?profile=originalThe British Museum has revamped its website and made 1.9 million images of, and from, its collection - including photographs - available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. Commercial use requires permission and payment of a fee. Reasonably sized files may be downloaded directly from the website. 

12201129071?profile=originalSuch initiatives are not without their pitfalls. An 1858 photograph described as a stereoscopic daguerreotype on paper (!) is clearly not and a second image is also described as a daguerreotype on paper. However these are minor issues compared with the overall availability of images.

A highlight (shown left) s described as a Calotype c.1868 presented by Rev. J Inglis of a Ni-Vanuatu man, Williamu, posing in front of a neutral studio backdrop, seated in a chair next to a table; he wears a suit and tie.  Elsewhere there is work by Roger Fenton, the London Stereoscopic Company and many others, alongside field photography by museum staff. In addition there some random photography books and periodicals including Geijutsu shashin 芸術写真: The Pictorial Photography Magazine for Photographers (Art Photography. A group of photographs from Jabez Hughes studio in Ryde, IoW.  

See more and explore here:

Images: © The Trustees of the British Museum

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12201125099?profile=originalFor a number of reasons the 1851 Great Exhibition and the Crystal Palace hold a particular interest for photographic historians for whom it is familiar through the photographs of T R Williams, Negretti and Zambra, P H Delamotte and others. For the first time, visitors can take a 360 tour around The Crystal Palace, the venue of the formidable 1851 Great Exhibition held in Hyde Park.  The Royal Parks, the charity which manages London’s eight Royal Parks has partnered with educational virtual reality company, Seymour & Lerhn, to create the first virtual tour of the historic building, on location in Hyde Park.

The Crystal Palace was a marvel of its time when it opened in Hyde Park on May 1st 1851. It was an enormous structure constructed from glass and cast iron, measuring around 563m by 138m, and 39m high. The giant building hosted the thousands of global exhibits of The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, the brainchild of Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, to celebrate the industrial technology and design of the Victorian age, showcased to more than six million people.

Today visitors can step back in time and explore the building once again, using their phone, tablet or PC. A combination of CGI and 360 photography which overlays the historic building onto the present-day site, allows visitors to switch between then and now. Users can marvel at the huge scale of the site. People can discover intriguing stories as they navigate: you can find out about the first ever public toilets and the lady who walked from Cornwall to attend, becoming a celebrity in the process.

The building was regenerated digitally using The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851’s archive of plans and images, as well as The Royal Parks’ historical documents such as old maps.

The Royal Parks was the winning entry to a competition set by Seymour & Lerhn which invited organisations to put forward proposals for a virtual reality education resource and built the virtual reality tour of The Crystal Palace as the competition prize.

Ledy Leyssen, Head of Learning at The Royal Parks, said: “The Great Exhibition opened on 1st May 1851 in London’s Hyde Park to showcase the arts, science and technology of the day, yet nothing remains of the structure now. So, 169 years later we’ve harnessed today’s technology to bring the Royal Parks’ heritage to life, uncovering the park’s past for everyone to enjoy, especially those who aren’t able to visit in person.”

The Royal Parks will seek funding to further develop the project by populating The Crystal Palace with the artefacts of The Great Exhibition.

Charlie Power, Head Honcho, Seymour & Lerhn, said: “The Great Exhibition of 1851 'Crystal Palace' was a truly incredible feat of engineering, and we're delighted to see it brought to life on its 169th  anniversary! With the lockdown continuing, the virtual tour offers a unique way for people to ‘get out of the house’ and explore the history hidden within Hyde Park - all without actually having to leave their homes.

Click to experience the Great Exhibition Virtual Tour

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12201124286?profile=originalOver the years searching for online digital copies of images taken by the James Robertson/Felice Beato photographic team in the Crimea in 1855-56, I have come to the conclusion that there must be many in private collections that are not available to people like me who would find them useful historically. I first became aware of this when I found three under Item 10 on page 193 of Alastair Massie’s Crimean War book entitled A Most Desperate Undertaking. They were landscapes in a six- image panorama taken from the eastern slopes of Frenchman’s Hill near Kadikoi. While three of these images, which appear second, fourth and fifth in the panorama and have the titles in the Royal Collection Trust given as Russian Church, Kadikoi, Kadikoi (see top left) and Huts of the Royal Artillery respectively, are readily available, the other three that appear first, third and sixth are not. I do not even know the titles of these images. I learnt that the panorama had been auctioned many years ago and Alastair Massie, who worked for the National Army Museum in London, was given access to the panorama before sale by the auctioneers. Hence they were reproduced in his book, but only in virtually postage stamp size which does not allow a study of details.

Since then, I have come across a rare image by Robertson/Beato of the British cavalry camp west of Kadikoi (see below) that was being auctioned on ebay in 2019. I had not been aware of its existence until then. I was not the successful bidder.

This post is an appeal to those private collectors who have rare Crimean War photographs, which are valuable for historical research, to make high-definition digital copies available to specialists of the conflict like myself. I would most likely be able to give the owners details of their images that may be of great interest. I can be contacted at

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V-E Night Impression

12201122873?profile=originalThis week sees the 75th Anniversary of VE, so I thought I would just post this picture called “ V-E Night Impression” which was taken by my Grandfather in a West End pub on VE night. The picture was subsequently displayed at The London Salon.

In his notes, he writes :- “ Created by ‘time and flash’ exposure. The camera held in one hand with the shutter momentarily in the ‘open’ position. Small aperture (F 12.5) used. Flash bulb triggered off with the other hand. Thus a sharp image has been superimposed over a ‘blurred’ one, producing an impressionistic view, which appears to have captured the mood of the moment”


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12201136461?profile=originalIn the light of the closure of The National Archives at Kew due to COVID-19 the decision has been taken to provide free access to digital records available on its website for as long as TNA remains closed to visitors. Registered users can now order and download up to 10 items at a time, up to a maximum of 50 items over a rolling 30 day period. The limits are there to help ensure the availability of our digital services for everyone. 

Digitised records are mainly census and genealogical in nature but also include Victorian prisoners’ photograph albums 1872-1873. 

You can read more about what is available to download on the TNA website.

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