A British policewoman chasing after a group of naked street boys by the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London.   (Photo by Reg Speller/Getty Images)

1926: Britain through the lens

May 5, 2016 • Company News

1926: Britain through the lens opens at Getty Images Gallery, London on Wednesday 18th May 2016


It was the year when crime novelist Agatha Christie disappeared, the country was gripped by a General Strike, two land speed records were set and a future Queen was born.


1926: Britain through the lens takes us back to the year when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was born. In exploring both daily life and the events of ninety years ago, the exhibition reveals some intriguing similarities and some inevitable contrasts.


An acute shortage of housing results in a mother and her children posing for the camera in a former prison cell in Worcester which has been converted into flats. Harold Stevens, a Weymouth magistrate sleeps rough in London in an attempt to better understand the lives of the homeless.  Today, however, it is unlikely we would see a policeman provided with a rubber mat to keep his feet dry as he directs the traffic or a cow being milked on a platform at Kings Cross Station.


The images were researched from Getty Images’ world-famous Hulton Archive and hand printed in our own darkroom from the original glass plate negatives using time-honoured methods. Ninety years on, it is inevitable that there has been some damage to these fragile glass plates.  In some instances this has been cropped out or hand-retouched in order to provide the best possible print whilst remaining true to the photographer’s original vision.  Where damage is visible in the finished prints, it reminds us of their age and serves to highlight the importance of preserving this priceless visual heritage.


Described by Harold Evans as “An Aladdin’s cave of treasures… the finest in the world” the Hulton Archive is home to a wealth of original photographic material spanning the birth of photography to the present day.  Getty Images Gallery provides a window into this incredible collection and the opportunity to purchase prints from its exhibitions.


1926: Britain through the lens runs from 18th May until Saturday 2nd July and admission is free. Getty Images Gallery is situated in central London, just a stone’s throw away from Oxford Circus.  Opening hours are from 10.00am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, 12.00 to 5.30pm Saturday.


– ENDS –


Notes to editors:

Getty Images Gallery

46 Eastcastle Street



Nearest underground: Oxford Circus


About Getty Images Gallery

Getty Images Gallery is London’s largest independent photographic gallery and was founded in 1996. Located on Eastcastle Street, just a stone’s throw from Oxford Circus, Getty Images Gallery showcases stunning exhibitions on a regular basis. The majority of the imagery on display in the Gallery is taken from Getty Images’ archival and contemporary libraries and is available to buy as fine art prints in a variety of sizes and framing options.



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