Images of lockdown England are to enter the nation’s historic archive.

Historic England has released 200 images from over 3,000 submitted.

The call-out was the first time the public have been asked to capture photographs for the Archive since the Second World War.

It aimed to spark conversations about identity and has now created a unique and reflective record of a week across the nation, during this extraordinary moment in history.

These unique responses have formed a visual record in Historic England’s Archive, the nation’s archive for records of England’s historic buildings, archaeology and social history, which will help us shape what we remember about this time.

The public call out received an overwhelming reception from across England, with 2,984 submissions from across the country received over the course of seven days.

Common themes in the public’s submissions give a fascinating insight into people’s experiences in this unprecedented time.

These include images of healthcare workers and rainbows (now synonymous with supporting the NHS), as well as leisure pursuits including baking, gardening, board games and Zoom quizzes.

The concept of emptiness featured strongly in submissions, especially through empty high streets, roads, public transport and skies, while the frustrations and loneliness of social distancing also came across strongly.

Images of home-made haircuts and street art sit alongside people’s pets, children and working from home.

The natural world appears frequently with images of gardens, parks and wildlife in bloom during the spring months, suggesting how nature has offered us solace and a promise of hope.

Alongside the public call out, 10 contemporary artists from across England were also asked to produce images documenting lockdown during the seven days. Each artist has contributed at least five images to the final collection.

Claudia Kenyatta, Director of Regions says:

“The fascinating response to our Picturing Lockdown call-out sheds light on our collective and individual experiences of lockdown and provide a snapshot into this unusual time that will be accessible for future generations to see and learn from.

Our thanks go out to all who submitted their work, to our 10 contemporary artists, and to our photography team who have produced an inspiring range of images.”


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