August News from the Archive

Would you like to view the web page version of this email? Click here

the keep banner image

August 2020

Spotlight on an Eastbourne landscape photographer, plus insights into a past pandemic 

We're open to the public again - welcome back!

Photograph of entrance to The Keep, with archive assistant Drew Boulton

The Keep reopened to the public on 28 July, and we're delighted to be back in the building, providing some limited access to our archives once again. To ensure social distancing, we are currently limiting the number of people per day in our Reading Room, all documents must be ordered at least 2 working days in advance and we're operating with reduced opening hours. The Reference Room remains closed, but our  Research services are up and running again. There's more information on our website about the measures we've put in place to make our building Covid-secure and how you can access services, so please do take a look if you are planning to visit, or drop us a line at 

Archive of the Month, Frederick Bourne, Eastbourne photographer (1860-1921)

Photograph showing renovation of Frederick Bourne’s Rembrandt Studio, c1910

The Keep's holdings include some wonderful photographic collections, and our Archive of the Month for August is a case in point. In 2008, East Sussex Record Office purchased a batch of glass negatives (ACC 9945) at auction. The name of the photographer, Frederick Bourne, was found on a few of the negatives. The majority are full-plate negatives showing landscapes and were probably produced for postcards. Most date from around 1930; but one box of negatives (ACC 9945/7) was significantly earlier and, presumably, a fragment of a former extensive collection. We wondered what had happened to the rest. Then, in 2017, we transferred many glass negatives from Eastbourne Library to The Keep and were delighted to find that a batch of around 450 of them included work by Frederick Bourne. We'll be sharing some of our favourites this month on Twitter and Facebook, so do follow us if you'd like to see more!


Pictured above: a photograph of Bourne’s Rembrandt Studio at 19 Langney Road, Eastbourne undergoing restoration, c1910 (R/L 41/6).

Spanish Flu - insights from our archives

Extract from Brighton’s Health Report for 1919, showing age groups affected by Spanish Flu in 1918 and 1919

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted us to reflect on the way past health crises are represented in our collections. Our latest blog explores the impact on Brighton & Hove and East Sussex of Spanish Flu, which emerged in 1918 and infected millions of people around the world. The archives in our care offer both official statistics and records of people's personal experiences, through letters, diaries and local newspapers, among other things. They paint a vivid and moving picture of what life must have been like at the time, which resonates all the more in the current climate. 


Pictured above: extract from Brighton’s Health Report for 1919, showing age groups affected by Spanish Flu in 1918 and 1919

A celebration of Cassette Culture

photograph of cassette tape

The Keep is the South East Hub for the British Library's Unlocking Our Sound Heritage (UOSH) project, which aims to preserve and provide access to the nation's sound recordings. Visitors to our audio preservation studio are often surprised to see tape collections playing, but for a time, cassettes were a key part of many of our lives. If you'd like to read more about 'these little vessels of audio and cultural history', check out sound engineer Duncan Harrison's post on the UOSH blog.