A few years ago radio producer Mark Vernon bought a hoard of old reel-to-reel audio tapes in a car boot sale in Derby, as a job lot with an elderly and very heavy tape recorder. Coaxing the old machine back to life, he realised he had rescued the jettisoned archive of the Derby Tape Club—a group of amateurs who made, played and swapped recordings in the 1960s and 70s, when domestic tape-recording was in its infancy and before the audio cassette had conquered the world. A radiophonic elegy to an anonymous group of people and their forgotten enthusiasm: domestic tape recording and amateur radio in the 1960s and '70s.Over the years, Vernon has acquired other archives and put together radio shows, oral histories, and a compilation CD. Listen to the lost sound-scapes of The Leicester tape recording club; the Nottingham Cooperative tape recording club; and the London tape recording club [Breakdown here]. [more inside]
"Now it is instructive to go into, eg, one of the big old boozers in the East End of London and imagine them not as they are, just one room, frequently, if they’ve been hipstered up, with unplastered brick walls and big, clear windows, but as they were 50, 60, 80, 100 years ago, carved into three, four or more separate spaces by mahogany and etched glass barriers, each section with its own hermetic, exclusive group of customers, who would rather walk into the wrong lavatory than the wrong bar, and served, often, by its own separate door to the streets outside." -- Martyn Cornell dives into the diverse varieties of British bar one could encounter until recently
The Brixton Fairies and the South London Gay Community Centre, Brixton 1974-6 "This fascinating story about Brixton’s legendary gay community of the 1970s was posted up on the urban75 bulletin boards, and thanks to the author Ian Townson, I’m now able to repost an illustrated version, giving a wonderful insight into a long lost part of Brixton life."
Lisa Eldridge, make-up artist and blogger met up with the historian Madeleine Marsh to discuss the history of cosmetics, which is also a history of women, society, and culture. The resulting videos are just fascinating, Part 1: Victorian Era to 1930s & Part 1: 1940s to 1970s.
(via Beauty is a sleeping cat)
(via Beauty is a sleeping cat)
High Society Mini-site to accompany an exhibition at the Wellcome Collection on the history and culture of mind-altering drugs. Includes image galleries, essays and a quiz.
Pentecostal minister Clovis Salmon, known in Brixton as "Sam The Wheels" due to his wheel-making skills, came to Britain from Jamaica in the 1950s. From the 1960s to the 1980s he used his Super-8 camera to film Brixton daily life and church scenes, including the aftermath of the 1981 riots.
Envisioning Chinese Society in the Late Nineteenth Century: Words and Images from the Dianshizhai Pictorial Very nice online presentation of translated content from the famed nineteenth century Shanghai pictorial journal (China's first); Dianshizhai (点石斋画报) was modelled on Britain's Punch and produced as a supplement for Shen Bao subscribers. Flash is used so elements in the cartoons can be clicked for further information: a young woman repels a thief with martial derring-do; a customer bilks on the bill in a street eatery in Hangzhou; small-town society and politics with the muddle-headed magistrate; a non-performing temple bell offers a chance for sceptical commentary on religion; the gentlemanly pastime of cricket-fighting.
His photographs recorded life along the Scotswood Road, the working class district in the West End of Newcastle made famous in Geordie song. James (Jimmy) Forsyth had come to make his home there having volunteered for war work as a fitter in one of the local factories, moving up to Newcastle from his native South Wales. In 1954, aware that change was coming and no longer working having lost an eye in an industrial accident, Forsyth began to document his community and surroundings. A self-taught photographer, Jimmy "picked up a cheap folding camera in one of the pawn shops. There wasn’t much to adjust, just as well, because I’ve never known what to do...I’m just an amateur...just capturing what I knew was going to disappear." Jimmy died last Saturday, aged 95.
Two galleries of photos of China in 1957 and 1978 by Robert Carl Cohen, "the first American to film China since the 1949 Communist victory." My personal favourite set is these street scenes from 1957, but Cohen captured a diverse range of images from Chinese lives. His (? I presume) site Radical Images has plenty of other interesting stuff too.
Worktown Between 1937 and 1938 Humphrey Spender took over 900 pictures of Bolton as part of the Mass Observation [Previously] project. Spender's "Worktown" photographs offer a fascinating insight into the lives of ordinary people living and working in a British pre-War industrial town.
Behind The Rent Strike [YouTube playlist; six parts of 50ish min. documentary] Nick Broomfield's graduation piece, a documentary on the 14-month rent strike by the people of Kirkby New Town, near Liverpool, which began in late 1973 in response (it wasn't the only one) to the Heath government's Housing Finance Act. Broomfield gets plenty of insight from local people and examines the social conditions behind the events. Great viewing of good film-making and an opportunity for a bit of nostalgia if you're a viewer from round that way.
Kamal Chunchie charts the history of the black and Asian community in Canning Town, east London, in the 1920s and 1930s. It tells the story of the Coloured Men's Institute and its founder, Kamal Chunchie, a man who can rightly be called east London's first black and Asian community leader. One of the many excellent East London history projects at Hidden Histories.
Drawing from 175 digital collections and growing, American Social History Online pulls together primary sources documenting our past as a people. A project of the Digital Library Federation. [more inside]
Last Days of the Old North (of England). A fascinating selection of photographs - mostly from the late sixties/early seventies documenting an era when it truly was grim up north. Made all the more interesting by the erudite and comprehensive commentary by the photographer.
Welcome to the Blackout History Project. With all the hub-bub today, josh m. marshall of talkingpointsmemo posted a link to an associates history of two other nyc blackouts. marshall says:
- The Blackout History Project...which covers the social history of these events, what happened, people's reminiscences in written and recorded formats, and so forth. The site also has a great deal of information about just how blackouts happen, what these 'grids' are that folks are talking about, and how various forms of electricity deregulation which have taking place over recent years have made an event like we've seen today much more likely.