Two new online collections, funded by the JISC Digitisation programme, launched yesterday giving global access to thousand of images ranging from polar expeditions to theatre and entertainment in the East End of London.
Freeze Frame: Historic Polar Images features an archive of 20,000 images depicting the history of polar exploration, inlcuding the adventures of famous explorers such as Captain Scott, Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton and, more recently, Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
The Scott Polar Research Institute in the University of Cambridge holds a world-class collection of photographic negatives illustrating polar exploration from the nineteenth century onwards. Freeze Frame is the result of a two-year digitisation project that brings together photographs from both Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. Here you can discover the polar regions through the eyes of those explorers and scientists who dared to go into the last great wildernesses on earth.
The East London Theatre Archive (ELTA) website brings together selections of material from a variety of theatre collections, including the V&A Theatre Collections, Hackney empire, Half Moon Young People’s Theatre, Hoxton Hall, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Theatre Venture and Wilton’s Music Hall.
The collections can be searched or browsed and a number of thematic essays contextualise the material, exploring issues such as East London immigration, black characters in theatre, crime and punshment and nautical drama, among others.
ELTA represents an innovative step towards unlocking the theatrical past of East London for academics and historians on a national and international basis. While the theatre of the West End has been subject to a notable amount of research, less attention to date has been paid to the East End, despite its significant contribution to performing arts in the 19th to 21st centuries. This resource will help to address this and enrich researchers’ knowledge of East London’s pivotal role in theatre.