The Museum of London presents a major new acquisition – the remaining photography collections of Christina Broom – the UK’s first female press photographer.
Aged 40, Broom taught herself photography to create and sell photographic postcards – a trade which was thriving. At work between 1903 and 1939, she gained exclusive access to leading London events from suffragette processions to King George V’s coronation and became photographer to the Household Brigade, forging a unique relationship with the Guards.
Museum of London’s Curator of Photographs, Anna Sparham, said: “At over 2,500 photographs strong, this acquisition sees the museum add to its already significant collection of suffragette images by Christina Broom, with scenes documenting key moments of early 20th century London life. It also brings to light Broom’s diverse photographic oeuvre, traversing subjects such as royal celebration and occasion, the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Races, women’s work and predominantly London’s military activities before, during and in the aftermath of war. Whilst Broom’s images exude strength and relevance on their own, for me, it is the photographer’s own fascinating story of determination and entrepreneurialism that makes them truly come alive.”
The collection also includes a snapshot of Jungle Book writer, Rudyard Kipling’s son Jack, taken by Broom in 1915. Jack tragically died in the Battle of Loos later that year.
From Friday 4 April, highlights from this remarkable collection will be on show as part of a new, free display – Christina Broom. In this centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War, the display focuses on Broom’s portrayal of London’s military life. On show is a small, yet poignant selection of stills depicting soldiers in London mobilising for war and leaving for the Western Front. A major exhibition focused on Broom’s life and photography will follow in the near future.
Also from 4 April, visitors to the Museum of London Docklands will see new additions to the museum’s permanent galleries with the new display War of Words. Through propaganda posters and artefacts expressing public expressions of grief, War of Words shows that lives were not only lost on the battlefield, but right here, at the heart of the British Empire too.
Christina Broom and War of Words begin the Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands’ programme of activities marking the centenary of the First World War. Over the next few years, a programme across the two sites, including field excavations and new research, will explore the conflict’s effects on London and its people.
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- Wounded patients from King Edward VII’s Hospital for Officers visit the Royal Mews in 1915. Originally set up after the Boer War by two sisters, the hospital treated injured officers during the First World War at its premises in Grosvenor Gardens, courtesy of Christina Broom/Museum of London
- King George V and Queen Mary host a tea party for wounded soldiers and sailors at the Royal Mews in March 1916. The wounded, including many from British colonies, were brought to Buckingham Palace from nine London hospitals, courtesy of Christina Broom/Museum of London
- The ‘Bermondsey B’hoys’ from the 2nd Grenadier Guards appear at ease for this informal photograph taken inside their base at Wellington Barracks sometime during 1914 or 1915, courtesy of Christina Broom/Museum of London
- Portrait of Cambridge’s Dennis Ivor Day, 1914, by Christina Broom, courtesy of Christina Broom/Museum of London
- A lieutenant from the 1st Life Guards poses for the camera in August 1914. He was later recorded as missing presumed killed during the War. Christina Broom’s stall can be seen in the distance just beneath the clock, courtesy of Christina Broom/Museum of London
- Cambridge’s John Andrew Ritson and Philip Clermont Livingston, 1914, by Christina Broom, courtesy of Christina Broom/Museum of London