Tag Archives: Holborn Community Association

A Bloomsbury Tale

Since August we’ve been working with local communities as part of a project for the Bloomsbury Festival. Our recent work with children from the 1A Arts Centre has been filmed and will be part of A Bloomsbury Tale, made by artist Elaine Duigenan. Funded by a cooperative of Bloomsbury institutions including the Charles Dickens Museum, Holborn Community Association and BPMA, the film showcases the wonderfully diverse nature of the cultural and historical experiences the community has to offer.

A scene from A Bloomsbury Tale.

A scene from A Bloomsbury Tale.

Free tickets to a screening of the film on Sunday 20th October are now available, and you can enjoy a complimentary glass of wine as you view it in the beautiful surroundings of the Art Workers’ Guild. A limited number of tickets may be booked online, or alternatively you can simply turn up on the day.

Children from 1A Arts Centre being filmed for A Bloomsbury Tale.

Children from 1A Arts Centre being filmed for A Bloomsbury Tale.

The Bloomsbury Festival runs until 20th October 2013. BPMA is part of a number events for the Festival – see our website for full details.

Mail Rail part of Our Bloomsbury

Here at the British Postal Museum and Archive, we’re always keen to engage our younger audiences with the story of the postal service – this is why we welcomed a group of local children to the archive last week to investigate the Post Office Underground Railway, aka Mail Rail. The workshop was day one of a two day mini-project, in collaboration with 1A Arts Centre.

The group began their investigatory workshop by using the wonderful resources at their (white gloved) finger tips – the archive repository. Helen Dafter, one of our archivists, led the children to where the material is stored; enabling them to explore and find out what sort of things are kept in an archive and how they are looked after.

The budding archivists next had the opportunity to use the skills they had discovered with Helen. Through investigating some original material related to Mail Rail, which they had helped to retrieve in the repository, they soon became experts on the incredible underground system!

Making notes on findings from investigating the images and material from the collection.

Making notes on findings from investigating the images and material from the collection.

The children’s detective work enabled them to find out the facts of the network, however they were just as interested to discover what life was like down in the railway. Images from the collection and the photographs displayed in our Mail Rail exhibition allowed the group to empathise with the workers and to understand how the system was operated. Original objects – such as mail bags also brought this understanding to life for the children.

The group were shocked to find the mail bags were almost as big as them!

The group were shocked to find the mail bags were almost as big as them!

Inspired by the collection and what they had discovered, the group finished the workshop by creating some collage art work.

The budding archivists at work on their collages.

The budding archivists at work on their collages.

On the following day the children made their way to the 1A Arts Centre, equipped with their new found expertise on the Post Office Underground Railway! During the creative writing workshop, ran by artist Teanne Andrews, the group developed stories exploring ‘the day in the life of’ a worker.

With Teanne at 1A Arts, working on their creative writing.

With Teanne at 1A Arts, working on their creative writing.

These workshops form part of a creative project, ‘Our Bloomsbury’, led by a group of partner organisations (Holborn Community Association, 1A Arts, Charles Dickens Museum, Elaine Duigenan, Art Workers’ Guild, October Gallery and British Postal Museum and Archive). Artist Elaine Duigenan and a team of young film makers have been filming a fantastic summer programme of workshops and events, held at the partner venues.  The final film will be screened at the Art Workers’ Guild during the Bloomsbury Festival, showcasing the diverse cultural and historical experiences on offer in the area. Keep an eye out on our website to find out more about the film and when it will be screened.

– Hannah Clipson, Community Learning Officer

Picture Post

The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) is proud to present Picture Post, an innovative community outreach project run in collaboration with Holborn Community Association, London, and Artsite Ltd, Swindon.

Family groups in both regions will work with artists and photographers to produce artistic responses to fascinating photographs from the BPMA collections.

During the 1930s-40s, the General Post Office (GPO) began using photography to support their newly established public relations activities. These promotional images were used in the Post Office magazine and on posters, travelling exhibitions and displays promoting the GPO.

Postman delivering mail to Kent hop farm, 1935 (POST 118/467)

Postman delivering mail to Kent hop farm, 1935 (POST 118/467)

The photographs show sorting clerks busy at work, fleets of motor vehicles, historic letter boxes, notable GPO buildings, engineers, travelling post offices and, of course, postmen and women delivering letters across Britain – from blitz-torn London to remote lighthouses.

In August 2010, the BPMA was one of four nationally important collections to benefit from the Designation Development Fund, administered by the Museums, Libraries and Archives (MLA) council. The BPMA received £40,000 from the fund to improve conservation of the photographs, as well as access and understanding of its collections.

Picture Post was developed to increase access to the photography collection, and enable different groups to learn more about them, and postal history in general.

The London sessions are led by the BPMA in collaboration with staff and families from the Holborn Community Association and photographer Dan Salter. So far, these have involved using the museum handling collection of uniforms to recreate favourite photographs, and arts and crafts activities using photos for inspiration.

Choosing favourite photos

Choosing favourite photos

Charlie interpreting his favourite photo

Charlie interpreting his favourite photo

Rahim models postman's uniform

Rahim models postman's uniform

Dan setting up Charlie as Moses Nobbs the mail coach man

Dan setting up Charlie as Moses Nobbs the mail coach man

The artistic responses created by the families in the sessions will form part of a new travelling display, which will tour community spaces in London and Swindon during 2011.

Archive photos and images from the project can be viewed on Flickr