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Propaganda photographs get first showing

Propaganda photographs get first showing - British Council propaganda photographs to go on display

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A series of black and white photographs depicting everyday life in the village of Lacock are to go on display for the very first time. The photographs were commissioned by the British Council in 1943 and were originally used to illustrate a promotional pamphlet, English Villagers, published in 1945.

The National Trust's "Lacock as Propaganda" exhibition will feature the photographs taken by Harold White during 1943 and 1944. Reflecting the notion of a 'Peoples War', the silver gelatine prints represent the way in which daily life continued and how members of the community contributed to the war effort.

Emma Stokes, who has helped to research the exhibition, said: "The publication date at the end of the war suggests that the photos were being used as propaganda, but in a different way. The British Council's work at this time embraced the idea of Empire and our relations with other countries, the belief was that the English identity and culture was something that other nations could learn from."

Whether this propaganda was used to promote the war effort or as a method of asserting British identity in other parts of the world remains unclear, however the exhibition does provide a unique glimpse into this period of Lacock's history.

The exhibition, which will feature audio and visual displays alongside the original photographs, is being supported by the BBC in association with its People's War Initiative. James Harrison, BBC People's War Co-ordinator for the South West said: "Through these images we are told a great deal... We hope that these pictures will inspire visitors to tell their stories to the People's War website so, like Harold White's Lacock photographs, the memories of British people in World War Two will not fade."

The exhibition takes place from the 6th August until 18th December at the Fox Talbot Museum in Lacock, Wiltshire.

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