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SAHGB - First Public Outing for the John Laing Research


Yesterday I presented 'The Power and the Glory: A Study of John Laing & Son Ltd through its Photographic Archive" at the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain's Architectural History Workshop in London. There was a lot of positive feedback and a number of entirely new areas to take a look at, such as the work done by William Mitchell. Mitchell was  a sculptor from the 1950s who worked extensively in Laing's concrete products - thanks to Dr. Dawn Pereira (see some of Dawn's work on Mitchell here The concrete legacy of William Mitchell) for bringing this to my attention.  Mitchell has a number of works listed including pieces in Clifton Cathedral (Cathedral Church of SS Peter and Paul, Clifton Park).

The series of presentations helped give a real sense of the amazing variety of subjects and approaches that fall loosely under the banner of architectural history and it was noticeable that photography played a part in quite a few.  To show the level of interconnectedness I would mention a talk given by Rhys Morgan on The Architecture of Neolithic Orkney: From Representation to Re-Presentation in which he drew the analogy between Magritte's "This is not a Pipe" image (actually titled The Treachery of Images) and the way in which images become the object (my understanding of his words) and for me this linked directly to a quote I was using from Robert Elwall who said ‘architectural photographs have been taken for granted, discussed as if they were the buildings themselves rather than portrayals of them at particular moments in time’.
Interesting times and food for thought for my next presentation at the Construction History Society in Aptil.


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