Collection of the week: *NEW* - The Keasbury-Gordon Lantern Slide Collection

It's taken us a little while to get round to writing this week's newsletter, only because the brand new collection we're about to introduce you too is SO brilliant, we couldn't drag ourselves away from it and had to look through all 13,500 pictures first!

The Keasbury-Gordon Photograph Archive is the result of a fifty-year passion for collecting Victorian and Edwardian glass 'magic-lantern' slides. Magic lantern shows were the visual entertainment of their day; the nineteenth century equivalent of YouTube or Tiktok; and so the pictures are as fascinating now as they were back then. For social history content, you really don't get much better than this. Subjects include school rooms, street urchins and sweet shops, fish markets and ice cream stalls, newsboys, hairdressers and dentists' surgeries. There is coal mining, early motoring, lace makers, wheelwrights and Victorian gas meter readers (yes really, they've been around that long). From bustling high streets to sleepy rural villages, the UK's changing landscape is well documented. You'll find pictures of a reed boathouse in Norfolk or a boat chugging over an aquaduct on the Manchester Ship Canal. Haworth Parsonage, home of the Brontes, is viewed from the neighbouring churchyard, a figure wearing a stove-pipe hat seated on one of the chest tombs. Elsewhere, the face of one London flower seller appears astonishingly 21st century.

Lantern slides form the core of this collection with each image of excellent quality and available in either black and white or sepia. Much care has been taken in their digitisation, with contrast improved and marks and blemishes removed. Over the years, the slides have been supplemented with postcards, chromolithographs, and maps relating to people, places and events around the world spanning the 1850s to the 1920s. There are certain subjects that can be recognised as ideal, instructive slide show content; such as sets of pictures showing the model settlements of Port Sunlight and Letchworth Garden City (where WHSmith had a bookbinding factory), or those offering views of the fantastical halls and objects on display at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889. In short, if you love history and exploring the past, this is a collection well worth wallowing in.

You can view a small, taster selection from the Keasbury-Gordon Photograph Archive here, featuring some of our favourites. We will be adding yet more from this fascinating archive in the next few weeks.

Thanks for reading our newsletter. We hope you find it useful. If we can assist with any picture research, if you'd like a quote or would simply like to learn more about the library and our service, do get in touch by emailing or calling 020 8318 0034.

Mary Evans Picture Library Ltd.  59 Tranquil Vale  Blackheath  London  SE3 0BS. United Kingdom.
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