Today we are once again singing the praise of an archive, but one at a slight tangent to our usual interests. The Persephone Post alerted me to the existence of English Heritage’s Viewfinder, which is the online archive of their photographic collections.
The title suggests that you’re meant to put in a place and see what you can discover; I decided (unsurprisingly) to see what happened if you put in poster. It’s much more interesting.
Once you’ve got past the odd collection of turn of the century topographic posters,
And the 1970s.
As well as the numerous four poster beds (I won’t actually bother), there are a few gems, of which the best of all is this.
It’s Fortnam Road, Upper Holloway, probably facing onto the Holloway Road. I used to live round there, once upon a time, although long after this picture was taken.
These posters, meanwhile, are in Manchester in 1956.
Notably there isn’t a decent piece of design to be seen on a wall anywhere. I wish I liked earlier posters a bit more, because then I’d find this picture mesmerising.
It’s the poster and publicity storeroom at the Port Sunlight works in 1897 and its stock is probably worth hundreds of thousands of pounds today.
Although for those of us who like our graphics a bit more modern, the archive does have one intriguing piece of design.
Four CoI posters, probably designed for within the Civil Service, and photographed for a mysterious Cold War project. I would love to know more about what English Heritage was about with that, and where the rest of it is.
But there are plenty of other words to put in too. ‘Cat’ is entirely off-topic for Quad Royal really, but produced this fine trio in Shephards Market in Mayfair.
The works or office cat is something which has now entirely disappeared, but when H V Morton walked the City of London at night in the 1930s, the streets were alive with office cats, free to be wild now that the workers had gone.
While inputting the obvious place name did at least bring me this fine fireplace from 1680.
It apparently lives in the next street from us. For the next three weeks at least.