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At last Wednesday’s Zoom monthly pub meet-up, the two topics for discussion during break-out sessions were favourite historic films and favourite libraries and archives.

First the movies. It was agreed to open this right up, so not just London. But immediately, much debate on defining a historic movie. We all agreed that the ones which followed closely the historic narrative were few: Chariots of Fire; The Elephant Man; Schindler’s List. Many had a fictional narrative placed in a largely factual historic setting, e.g. Titanic or Gladiator, neither of which was nominated by participants I’m delighted to report. We all agreed that old movies in a contemporaneous setting should be excluded.

If there was a ‘winner’, it was clearly Barry Lyndon – Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece based on the Thackeray novel. It was nominated by virtually every break-out group. Laurence Scales dissented strongly, however, arguing that it is a terribly dull film with awful acting.

lyndon

Scene from Barry Lyndon (1975)

FILM
Movies cited by our groups, in no particular order, included:

Schindler’s List
Barry Lyndon
Winstanley
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Gone with the Wind
Gunfight at OK Corral

Man for All Seasons
Chariots of Fire
The Longest Day
Duellists
Sunset Song (this being the 104th anniversary of the first day of the Somme
Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
Shakespeare in Love
Zulu
Oliver Twist (who put that there?)
Up the Junction
Hope and Glory
The Elephant Man
Everyday Except Christmas (documentary about Covent Garden Market)
The London Nobody Knows (documentary with James Mason)

Anything to add?

 

LIBRARIES AND ARCHIVES

kew national archives

LH group outing to the National Archives in Kew.

Well. This session made one realise just how lucky we are. Many obvious nominations (Kew, LMA etc.), but the diversity and richness of our treasure is here all to see. We must resist all pressure on closures etc. It’s a constant struggle keeping many of these places open and staffed.

Walsall Library (one of our Midlands members, that one)
Women’s Library aka Fawcett Library at the LSE (several mentions)
Guildhall Library (several mentions)
National Archives at Kew
London Metropolitan Archives
Westminster Reference Library (salon – gin and nudity!)
Society of Genealogists (several mentions)
Blythe House (storage facility for V&A, Science Museum, Wellcome Collection: amazing)
Tate Library, Brixton (as representative of others in South London)
Wiener Library (several mentions)
British Telecom Archive
John Harvard Library (several mentions)
Science Museum
Mortimer Wheeler House (Museum of London archaeological archive, several mentions)
National Archives at Kew
Royal Institutation
City of Westminster Library (though horrible building!)
The British Library
Sands Films Picture Library
Walthamstow Library (for its stained glass windows , wood panelling etc . You can learn about the history of Walthamstow by looking at the stained glass and the coats of arms etc)
Institute of Historical Research, IHR (comment: “interestingly we all agreed IHR was unwelcoming and a bit snooty academics” (!))
Science Museum Library (comment: “has been cut down to almost nothing  – moved stock to Wroughton”)
The Wellcome Library
National Maritime Museum
Bishopsgate Library
House of Lords Archive

Have our attendees missed anything?


Our thanks to fellow LH Member David Brown for moderating all our Zoom sessions.

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