Harold White and 'English Villagers'
Harold White was a professional photographer commissioned by the British Council during the 1940s to produce photographs for a propaganda pamphlet. This pamphlet called ‘English Villagers’ was used to depict an idyllic English Village and its way of life. It can be assumed that it was used to show what the country and other nations were fighting to protect. In achieving this Harold White and this pamphlet provided a snapshot of life in the village of Lacock during the war years. The photographs capture the social history of the village from depicting social events, professions of the time and portraits of residents. Photographs depict the blacksmith, wheelwright and cobbler in action, whose professions no longer exist in the village. Or the grocers shop, one of many local stores in the village at the time, which was run by Mrs Tayler but is now the Lacock bakery. The various social groups and activities that existed in the village such as the Women’s Institute (which is still running) or the Working Men’s Club which included a bowling alley but has since been destroyed. The local policeman and doctor who, at the time, lived in the village instead of being located in Chippenham. Also, the important role played by the church, St.Cyriacs, for the village which is depicted by the Harvest Festival and various church services.
The photographs also depict relatives of those who live in Lacock or notable individuals such as Matilda Talbot. In one photograph, John Tayler (now of Reybridge) is shown amid a group of children waiting for the bus. John Tayler has even provided us with copies from the original English Villager’s pamphlet which can be viewed on the community archive. With the help of residents we have been able to identify many of those captured in the photographs. However, there are still many unknown individuals and we would be delighted to hear from anybody who thinks they may be able to help identify any of the residents.
Harold White continued to be connected with Lacock as he researched the life of Henry Fox Talbot and studied the father of photography’s letters.He was also part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the birth of Henry Fox Talbot which were held at Lacock Abbey. He later moved to Great Yarmouth where he was part of the photography society. More information about Harold White and his photographs can be found at this excellent site http://www.greatyarmouthphotographic.co.uk/haroldwhite/page2.html.
A series of photographs have been selected from the collection for display on this website and arranged into suitable categories for you to view on the right hand side. We hope this gives you an idea of what the collection contains and the wonderful photographer that Harold White was.