The exhibition Soldiers and Suffragettes: The Photography of Christina Broom created a unique opportunity to use Broom’s original glass plate negatives and recommission the museum’s darkroom and long-forgotten equipment.
The fight for female voting rights was a long and difficult one – even once a national campaign began in the 1870s (after a woman was allowed to vote by mistake), it would take another 60 years for all adult women to be allowed to vote. Political posters were used heavily to enlist support at rallies and counteract the negative caricatures of suffragists being used in the press.
The London that Christina Broom knew and embraced as she embarked on her ventures with photography in 1903 would profoundly shape her ambitions, subject matter and way of working. Tradition, pageantry and ceremony, in keeping with the era, interweave Broom’s work. This might be deemed fairly conventional. Yet her compositions, approach and the access she determinedly obtained, indicative of this photographer’s strength of character, define and distinguish her images from the work of her contemporaries. Read the full post
Against the leading Edwardian women photographers, Broom’s entrée to postcard production stood out as a unique business venture. She turned to producing picture postcards just as they were becoming a popular cultural phenomenon. Although pre-stamped official government postcards had been available for sending messages in Britain since 1870, the picture postcard offered a product that was original, functional and commercial. Read the full post
Photography has played an important part in shaping public understanding of the world’s armed forces since the mid-nineteenth century. John McCosh (1805–85), a Scottish surgeon and amateur photographer serving with the East India Company’s Bengal Army, created what are currently believed to be the earliest photographs of British soldiers between 1843 and 1856, a period which included the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848–9). Elsewhere, an unknown daguerreotypist photographed American troops during the American–Mexican war of 1846–8. Despite the obvious constraints of early technology, both photographers captured the combination of ceremony and soldiering that forms the essence of military life. Read the full post
Mrs Albert Broom took some of the best photographs of the brave women who campaigned for the vote in London in the years up to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. One of the earliest of these images in the Museum of London’s collection is of the Suffragettes, members of the militant Women’s Social and Political Union, at their ‘monster’ meeting in Hyde Park on ‘Women’s Sunday’, 21 June 1908. Her last suffrage photograph captures the arrival of the Cumberland suffragists, members of the moderate National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, ‘Women’s Pilgrimage’ to the capital on 26 July 1913.
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In 1903, Christina Broom – Mrs Albert Broom, to use her professional name – propelled herself into the field of photography as a business venture to support her family. Rising from self-taught novice to a semi-official photographer for the Household Brigade, she emerged as a pioneer for women press photographers in the UK.
Today is International Archives Day! Though you might not know it, the Museum of London is home to several archives. Each contains a section of our mass of collections – stored for research and future displays. Much of it is stored inside quite plain looking boxes like this one, but looks can be deceiving…
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Fridays have traditionally been synonymous with fish, thanks in most part to the Christian tradition of abstaining from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays, but it seems this Friday in particular has been dubbed (on Twitter at least) ‘National Fish and Chip Day’. Well, Londoners love a chippy and as a river city it’s no surprise that there are literally hundreds of fishy objects in the Museum of London’s collection. In a nod to today’s new Fish and Chip Day holiday, here are some of our favourites…
This week is one of my favourite weeks at the Museum of London, the 1-7th June is Volunteers’ Week, a celebration up and down the country of all those who give up their time to work for free. This week is all about sharing the hard work and achievements of volunteers as well as celebrating the contribution that we make to different organisations.