Exercise 3.5

Local history

This project is designed to develop your research skills. If you haven’t yet begun to generate some ideas for possible approaches to Assignment Three, then this exercise could be a good starting point.
Using the internet, local library, museum or any other resources at your disposal, conduct a short investigation into a historical aspect of the area in which you live or are currently based. This could relate to industry or other narratives in the distant past, or a more recent event. Don’t spend more than half a day investigating.
Gather some primary sources such as copies of photographs, illustrations, maps, written/oral accounts, and write a brief account (around 300 words ) describing what you’ve researched and any ideas you have about how this subject might be photographed today in a project such as Assignment Three.

LP&E, p.125

[21Feb22] It was always likely that this exercise and Assignment 3 would concern Eltham Palace. In a South East London suburb, close to the Kent border, the main tourist attraction (if we discount the minimalist Stephen Lawrence memorial and the Rusty Bucket craft beer emporium) is Eltham Palace. I described in my introduction to I&P, Assignment 5, in which the Palace moat bridge appeared, as “playground of the young Henry VIII 500 years ago and of the Courtauld dynasty 100 years ago”.

The site has a rich history, with some features remaining from the Tudor and many from the Courtaulds periods. There are some illustrations available from earlier periods and my sources for introduction to I&P, Assignment 5 offer material there. I have ordered a book (Turner, 1999) published by English Heritage, who now run the site, and that is due to arrive in the next few days.

The site has been in occupation more-or-less continuously for those 500-600 years, although the Great Hall, with its famed hammerbeam roof built for Edward IV in the 1470s (Historic England, n.d.) and now (or at least when the effects of Covid have finally receded) used for weddings, did serve as a barn for long periods.

In addition to books dealing specifically with the site, or with old and new Eltham more generally, postcards are a useful source of imagery. Starting with Exercise 3.2, which made me aware the this resource, when researching and acquiring cards for that exercise, I also sought and bought postcards of the Palace.

As regards the use of imagery for Assignment 3, this will probably build on some of my earlier assignments, combining the methods used for Assignment 4 and Assignment 5, Identity & Place, contrasting the historic and current appearance of the exterior. There is also scope for some interior contrasts, for example, the hammerbeam roof with a ceiling from the Courtauld wing and perhaps some of the furniture and furnishings to make up the target of 12 images.

It is worth noting that a significant proportion of my photography is concerned with old and new, then and now. This is likely a function of age.

LPE Exc 3.5 References

Alexander, J, Conroy, A, Hughes, A, & Lundy, G (2019) Landscape, Place and Environment [LPE]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.

Bedford, K. (2013) Eltham Through Time . Stroud: Amberley Publishing.

Eltham Society (n.d.) The Eltham Society [online]. theelthamsociety.org.uk. Available from https://theelthamsociety.org.uk/index.html [Accessed 23 August 2021].

Historic England (n.d.) Hammerbeam Roof, Eltham Palace, Greenwich, Greater London [online]. historicengland.org.uk. Available from https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/education/educational-images/hammerbeam-roof-eltham-palace-greenwich-greaterlondon-10624 [Accessed 21 February 2020].

Kennett, J. (1991) Eltham in old photographs. Stroud: Alan Sutton.

Kennett, J. (1995) Eltham: A Pictorial History. Bognor Regis: Phillimore & Co.

Sleep, D. (2004) Images of London, Eltham. Stroud: Tempus.

Turner, M. (1999) Eltham Palace. London: English Heritage Guidebooks.