English Heritage Donation

Photographic Donation to English Heritage.

In the spring of 2014 the author had the pleasure of donating a large slide collection he and Doug Sargent had assembled to the English Heritage photographic archive. The unique collection consisting of over four thousand pictures feature photographs of UK outdoor wall paintings and many other kinds of urban decorative art, the majority of which were taken in the late 1970’s. Now listed as the Art and Architecture Slide Collection at English Heritage, it is a record of the human creativity and artistic touches which make life in cities more tolerable. For the benefit of future researchers the archivist Ian Leith suggested I prepare a spreadsheet numbering the individual slides while including details on each individual example. It was the preparation of this donation and the need for a record of this material which led to the creation of this book.

Accommodated in the former GWR Works in Swindon, the English Heritage Archive contains over twelve million items. The archive holds numerous major collections of national importance including photographs and documents representing archaeology, architecture and social history. The website www.english-heritage.org.uk (see archive services section) offers free online access to their documentation. In order to preserve the film for future generations, the archive material is kept in climate controlled conditions within a purpose built warehouse. They store over ten million photographs at 6 C° in 32% humidity which means black and white negatives, and prints in good condition can be expected to last well over 100 years. As colour photographs are mostly less than 50 years old their long term stability will only be determined over the next couple of decades.

The bulk of the Art and Architecture collection consists of high quality “Kodachrome” slides which due to digitisation are no longer available and have become historic items in their own right. For reference purposes the author produced a 22 page spreadsheet organising and numbering the individual slides accordingly. The eight column spread is sorted into regional locations and recorded under the various types of artefacts. For publication purposes the author has retained and scanned 1500 slides, a selection of which are listed in the directory which follows.

For Historic England Archive see http://archive.historicengland.org.uk/

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