Miles Dell: Historypinner in Residence at English Heritage

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Hi, I’m Miles and I’m a Historypin Assistant. I spend my days looking at new content, researching institutional partners and manning our social media streams. At the beginning of the year I started as a Historypinner with the English Heritage Archives. This involves me working directly with EH at their archives in Swindon, where I get to search through their collection and curate content for Historypin. Every so often I will be posting updates on my progress and giving you a sneak peak at some of the great photography that English Heritage has to offer.

My first few weeks involved me getting to grips with the cataloguing and archive systems they have in place here and, of course, getting a tour of the archive itself.

14km of shelving, approximately 12 million items. Copyrighted © All Rights Reserved English Heritage Archives

12 million photos is rather a lot to be getting through on my own so the cataloguing team, led by Helen Shalders, gave the names of a number of photographers’ work they’d like to see on the site. One of those, and the first collection that I chose to look at for the site, was John Maltby.

In the 1930s Maltby was commissioned to take photographs of Odeon cinemas across the country by Oscar Deutsch, the founder of the chain. The collection reflects the architectural and social trends of the period. The boom of the movie theatre meant that every large town boasted its own art-deco behemoth, where patrons could enjoy visual news as well as light entertainment. Sadly many of these theatres are now no longer in use, many have been demolished, while others have been reincarnated as bingo halls, or in one case a furniture showroom. Here is one of my highlights from the collection:

Odeon Colwyn Bay. Copyrighted © All Rights Reserved English Heritage Archives

Look out for images from the John Maltby collection and more when we upload later this month. If you just can’t wait to see this collection then you can view it on English Heritage’s site here.

Look out for more posts from myself over the coming months for more English Heritage related photographyness.