Apr 26 2012: Thirty-One Monochrome Photographs from The Boys’ Book of Radio, Television and Radar (Burke Publishing, 1957)

The Boys’ Book of Radio, Television and Radar was published in 1957 as an accessible schools-level guide to the latest technology in the field mapped by the book’s title, covering everything from missile guidance systems to astronomical installations, the BBC’s outside broadcast equipment to medical imaging techniques and the gigantic installations around the country that … Continue reading

Mar 27 2012: Fourteen Colour Illustrations and Photographs From Girl Annual Number Nine (1961)

The final gallery in this series culled from the pages of Girl Annual draws together an array of colour illustrations from the 1961 annual, including the annual’s first-ever photographic cover image, as seen above, and a series of frames from the comic strips Belle of the Ballet and Susan of St Bride’s. Accompanied by a … Continue reading

Mar 26 2012: Fifty-One Monochrome Illustrations From Girl Annual Number Nine (1961)

As can be seen below, the differences between the illustrations featured in Girl Annual in 1958 and those of three years later, in 1961, are fairly minimal, considering the social changes that were happening during the same period. True, the girl above is now on holiday in Amalfi rather than Cornwall, but the same escapades … Continue reading

Mar 6 2012: Six Photographs of Grottoes, Canyons and Other Rock Formations (from Unknown Encyclopedia, 1930s)

The interiors of bodies and geological formations have been fused together in a few of the visual equations of Robert Holcombe before now, and occur again (several times) in a series of poems I’ve been writing under the working title A Cycle of Songs for the Body’s Interior, modelled somewhat obliquely on the rather compelling seasonal songs produced … Continue reading

Feb 26 2012: Monochrome Photograph of Six Businessmen With Flowers (October 31st 1957)

Much of the dissatisfaction with the world of business in 2012 comes less from a critique of the capitalist system itself as a sense that the motives of those running it have changed: there’s a real case to answer, since following the deregulation of the City in 1986 financial engineering of various kinds tended to … Continue reading

Feb 21 2012: The Cimex Invasion: Top Secret (Cimex Industrial Marketing 45, 1960s)

I don’t know if the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (or, at least, one of its associates) was involved in the making of the various electronic sounds that feature on this undated (probably mid to late 1960s) promotional 45 for an industrial cleaning company, but the sounds it uses certainly fit the template established by the likes … Continue reading

Feb 18 2012: Two Webley Paper Targets for Competitive Pellet Gun Shooting (Date Unknown)

The target has become something of a design icon during the twentieth century though its origins – which seem largely mysterious – probably pre-date Modernism by several centuries, given that the form it takes (a series of roundels or circles of descending size) is likely to have evolved naturally from its purpose: that being to offer … Continue reading

Jan 27 2012: Colour Photograph of an Unknown Woman in a Caravan with a Portable Television (c.1970s)

I’m not sure what it is, exactly, about photographs in which televisions appear that seems so compelling: perhaps it’s the conjunction of different layers of reality inside the single frame, as everyday life can be seen coming into collision with something fantastical or other or – as here – where the woman making tea coincides … Continue reading

Jan 7 2012: Twenty Five Maps Showing Layouts and Exhibits at The Festival of Britain (South Bank Exhibition Programme, 1951)

Following yesterday’s introductory miscellany of drawings, models and photographs, today presents what is, I suppose, the meat of the Festival of Britain programme, in the form of 25 maps guiding visitors through the various themed exhibitions that made up the South Bank Site in 1951. Ordered as in the programme itself, beginning in The Land … Continue reading

Jan 6 2012: Six Photographs and a Map from The Festival of Britain (South Bank Exhibition Programme, 1951)

Last year saw the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Festival of Britain and, by coincidence, I happened during 2011 to find a copy of the South Bank Exhibition’s official souvenir programme, featuring a huge amount of information on the exhibits and general context in which the Festival took place. Between today and Monday I’ll be posting galleries … Continue reading