Clapham Wind Tunnel One area where being able to talk to the people who worked for John Laing is really helpful is unravelling the odd mystery. I have noticed that in a number of photographs from the 1950s there is one or two individuals who had a large L on their jacket. I speculated on what this might be and thought that most likely it was to designate the leader of a team of workers. I was able to put a short piece in John Laing's Retired Employees' News asking for any information on the mystery L and several people kindly wrote to explain the mystery - which was no real mystery at all. The L simply stood for Laing but only new employees would be given a jacket with the logotype and so this took a long time to permeate through the organisation. A case of applying Occam's razor and not overthinking things for me.
The PHRC conference at De Montfort was tremendous and provided a lot of insights for me to go away and think about. In particular there was a lot of discussion about what is missing from an archive and what that tells us - sometimes as much as the extant material. Things for me to think about include: How colour photography creates a new sensory experience - maybe tying this into the work that Lynda Nead has done Who are the keepers of corporate memory - the business or the people who work in it? How posed are the images - are they pictures of work in progress or staged Do the images sanction and "testify" to a particular (curated?) history I was also pointed at other work that I need to read - the pile keeps getting higher!