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Book reviews — February 1986

INDUSTRY & THE CAMERA, Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England
HMSO £5.95
The latest offering from the RCHM is culled from photographs in the National Monuments Record and in a fascinating collection of photographs of industrial buildings with a commentary contributed by Stephen Croad, Keith Falconer and Nicholas Cooper of the RCHN. There are six main sections, Rural & Agriculture, Extractive, Metals Ceramics and Chemicals, Textiles, Public Utilities and Transport, but of course there are sub-section: within the main headings.

Some of the photographs date from the latter half of the 19th century, others are from 1930-1950, some are dated in the 1970s. Perhaps the best are those showing people at work — although the earliest of these are necessarily posed to cope with the long exposures required by early photography — rather than those which have been taken to record some remaining building. To me the best is a 195 view of timber being unloaded at Gloucester Docks — no one is posed and the blurred images here and there clearly recall the bustle of the scene.

Of an earlier volume in the series, New Building Types 1900-1939, Malcolm Tucker wrote in NL 80 "my only disappointment is that the book is not twice as long but one cannot grumble at the price". The same comment admirably sums up the present volume. BILL FIRTH

© GLIAS, 1986