December 2017

The Archive runs a very busy photographic service, regularly supplying images for articles, books and private research. In this month's blog we take a look at some of our more unusual photo requests from 2017.

 Tyburn Road Apprentice School 50th Anniversary

In February we were contacted by the Land Rover Ex-Apprentices Association which wanted to celebrate a rather unusual anniversary, not of a car launch or a famous personality but of a training facility. The Association asked if the Archive Photographic Collections included any pictures of the Tyburn Road Apprentice Training School in Birmingham, which was set up fifty years ago in 1977 to teach Rover apprentices. We were pleased to be able to supply them with a number of contemporary images for a display board prepared specially for their annual dinner, which was held at a hotel in Solihull on 18 March. It provided a point of interest for the attendees, many of whom had passed through the school and remembered training there at the start of their careers

FondationCartier Art Book

We are used to being asked for photographs to illustrate books, but this Exhibition catalogue was something rather special. It was a 465 page glossy hard back book published in conjunction with an Exhibition entitled 'Auto Photo, Cars and Photography 1900 to Now' which was held at the 'FondationCartier Pour L'art Contemporain' in Paris from 20 April to 24 September 2017. We supplied a BMIHT archive image of the Mini, which was included because of its status as a design classic. As well as showcasing high quality photography, the book explores the relationship between cars and photography. As Marc Desportes explains: 'The automobile profoundly transformed the twentieth century in terms of spatial, economic and social organization. Film photography was the faithful witness of all these changes. The car generated new photographic themes, such as road infrastructure, the automobile industry, the development of the suburbs, and weekend trips'.

Opening of Longbridge Village by the ExtraCare Trust

After the closure of MG Rover in 2005 Longbridge had to re-invent itself and, in the decade or more since, a new town centre has been developed on the old factory site. One of the first occupants was Bournville College which moved there in 2007 quickly followed by leading stores such as Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer, extensive housing estates and various small technology businesses. In 2017 the ExtraCare Longbridge Village joined them, celebrating its official opening on 27 September. This extensive complex offers a combination of private apartments and community facilities for older people who wish to move to a more sheltered environment. The result is 260 self-contained apartments, served by a bistro, gym, shop, beauty salon, craft room, library and IT suite. The designers wished to create a space which reflected the local environment, in particular the old Longbridge factory founded by Herbert Austin which had formerly occupied the five acres on which it now stands. So when construction began in 2015, the BMIHT Archive joined an advisory team, suggested suitable names for different areas, and supplied many of the pictures which now decorate the rooms and corridors or 'streets'. And in the entrance hall, to greet visitors and residents alike, there is a splendid engraving of the Austin 'Flying Wheel' – the original logo of Herbert Austin's company, dating back to 1906.

 Springfield Road Local History Society, Blogpost

As we reported last month we have opened several Flickr albums to showcase our Archive photo collections and these have received an enthusiastic response. One of those who contacted us as a result was a small local history group, the Springfield Road Local History Society (Kings Heath, Birmingham), which had seen our Lucas album. A member of the society was researching Charles Yeoman Hopkins, a benefactor who helped develop some old people's bungalows. She had discovered that he was also involved in the development of the 'King of the Road' Headlamp with Harry Lucas and this is what led her to our Flickr pages. The Society asked for permission to reproduce this picture in a blogpost about Mr Hopkins on their website. The image shows foremen on a works outing which dates from the period when he was Works Manager for the firm. The blog telling the story of Charles Yeoman Hopkins, can be found here

 'Ferrari: Race to Immortality'(Cinema documentary) and 'Genius & Works' (Sky documentary)

As well as still images, the BMIHT archive holds a rich collection of moving film going back to the 1930s when this new technology was first used to promote the motor industry. Motor sport also has a long history as a tool for promoting car marques and so our footage includes various motor sport events mostly from the 1950s and 1960s. Footage from a Standard-Triumph film titled 'Le Mans 1955' was used in the documentary 'Ferrari: Race to Immortality' which was released in cinemas earlier this year. It tells the story of two of Ferrari's leading drivers during the 1950s - Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins – competing in one of the most dangerous eras motor sport would ever experience. 'BMC Against the Clock' and 'BMC Quality' featured in a Sky documentary about John Cooper called 'Genius and Works', telling the well-known story of the creation of the Mini Cooper.