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Photographs taken across the East of England enter the Historic England Archive following exceptional response to public call out

02 Jun Photographs taken across the East of England enter the Historic England Archive following exceptional response to public call out

Today, Historic England reveals the eleven images from across the East of England that have been added to the Historic England Archive as part of the Picturing Lockdown Collection, now freely accessible online.

This follows a national week-long call out where the public were asked to share images that document their experience of seven days in “lockdown” from 29 April – 5 May, which resulted in nearly 3,000 submissions from across England.

The final Collection of 200 images consists of 100 public submissions, alongside more than 50 newly commissioned works by ten contemporary artists, including five from Southend on Sea-based award-winning artist, writer and broadcaster Scottee, and the remainder from Historic England’s photographers.

The call-out was the first time the public have been asked to capture photographs for the Archive since the Second World War. The unique responses have formed a visual record in Historic England’s Archive, the nation’s archive for records of England’s historic buildings, archaeology and social history, which will help us shape what we remember about this time.

An exceptional public response

The public call out received an overwhelming reception from across England, with 2,984 submissions received over the course of seven days. 360 submissions were received from across the East of England.

The submissions give a fascinating insight into people’s experiences in this unprecedented time. Images sent in by people across the East of England featured deserted seaside towns and instructions to keep away from well-known beauty spots, home schooling, home entertainment, including Morris dancing at dawn, living room camping and a return to traditional play with pavement-chalked hopscotch.

The frustration and loneliness of lockdown living came across strongly with photographs of waving to loved ones from a distance and peering out of windows into an unrecognisable world. A photograph of the postmark to commemorate Captain Tom Moore’s 100th birthday captures his remarkable achievements.

Artists’ responses

Alongside the public call out, ten contemporary artists from across England were also asked to produce images documenting lockdown during the seven days.

The artists were each asked to select their favourite public submission from their region and Scottee chose ‘Normal for Norfolk’ by Martin Guppy saying “…I think this is a really interesting moment where towns like mine are convincing people to stay away for the first time.”

Claudia Kenyatta, Director of Regions at Historic England said: “The fascinating response to our Picturing Lockdown call-out sheds light on our collective and individual experiences of lockdown and provides a snapshot into this unusual time that will be accessible for future generations to see and learn from. Our thanks go out to all who submitted their work, to our 10 contemporary artists, and to our photography team who have produced an inspiring range of images.”