Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Albert Beaney at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

Nicki Western, Marketing, Events and Premises Manager at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, arrived at the Swindon Heritage History Day weighed down with some extremely heavy bags. Among the museum artefacts she had brought with her was a selection of the ever popular Alfred Beaney photographs. Here's a blogpost I published in December 2012 about the Beaney archive.

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery has possibly the largest family album ever - and they want to know the names of everyone pictured in it.

The albums contain 40,000 photographs taken in the 1940s-70s by local man Albert Beaney.  Alongside his commissioned work Albert would travel the streets of Swindon on his motorbike, taking photographs of the children at play.  He would then return with his prints in the hope of selling them to the childrens' parents. Consequently only addresses and street names were recorded in his notebooks - the names of those pictured remain unknown.

In 1998 the collection, a priceless piece of Swindon's social history, was purchased by the Museum with help from the Swindon Society, and last year formed the basis of the Back to Black ...and White project.

Meanwhile the Museum and the Swindon Society continue their quest to reveal the names of those pictured, and last night the museum opened its doors to visitors to do just that. For some there were surprises - Maggie felt sure she had discovered a photo of her niece - but for others the search continued. One former Penhill resident remembered having his photograph taken in front of the block of flats where he and some friends were playing football - no luck last night though.

For more information on the Beaney collection contact the Swindon Society. 

18 & 23 Wilcot Avenue 1959

25 Oxford Street, Railway Village 1951 

42 The Circle, Pinehurst 1951

You might also like to read

Albert Beaney's Photographs

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