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27 Feb 2017

Everyday photographs reveal history

A black and white photograph of three women and a man sitting on a bench outdoors. They are having cups of tea or ice creams (Miss Toward on the far left has both!).
A photograph of Miss Toward from the Tenement House collection
A collection of photographs found in a box in the Tenement House appears, at first glance, to be an ordinary pile of family images, gathered by the lady who lived in this flat for most of her life.

However, these photos tell many more stories.

One of these is the tale of Miss Toward’s life: growing up in Glasgow, working in a shipping firm, and holidaying with friends on the coast.

The photographs also reveal the changing trends and fashions from the late 19th and 20th centuries, while providing evidence of the increased leisure time available to the expanding middle classes.

Another narrative tells of the important role that photography has played in people’s lives, from the initial marvel at being able to obtain a likeness of yourself in the 1840s (and saving up in order to visit a studio, dressed in your best clothes) to the informal holiday snaps of the 1950s.

This collection of photographs reveals how layers of social history are packed into humble family albums.

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