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Our Day Out

Our Day Out was a Heritage Lottery funded project led by Liverpool Screen School in partnership with LJMU’s Special Archives and Collections Unit and the ICC. The project explored the cultural heritage value of the Keith Medley Archive, which was donated to LJMU’s Special Archives and Collections by the Medley Family in 2005. The Our Day Out project sought to investigate cultural memory through the use of the segment of the archive which documents day-trippers to the seaside resort of New Brighton post-1964.

Keith Medley was a commercial and press photographer who worked in and around Merseyside for most of his career. Born in South Africa in 1915, he attended school in the United Kingdom and then spent a period in the merchant navy before taking a photographic apprenticeship in Liverpool at Dorondo Mills, Lime Street. Whilst working here, he photographed the spectacular opening of the Queensway Mersey Tunnel by King George V on July 18th 1934, from a unique vantage point on top of St. George’s Hall. Soon afterwards, he moved to London, working for an advertising agency, then subsequently as assistant to Howard Coster, the celebrated society portrait photographer. (His portrait of Howard Coster is in the National Portrait Gallery.)

After his war service, Keith returned to Merseyside and set up a photographic business on King Street, Wallasey, in partnership with his colleague Bob Bird. The business was very successful, including work on weddings, studio portraits, commercial work and press work for both local and national newspapers. In 1964, Keith became sole owner of the business and continued working until his retirement in 1987.

Keith also carried out cinema newsreel assignments for Movietone News, covering amongst many other items, the funeral of Winston Churchill, the Investiture of the Prince of Wales, and Donald Campbell’s water speed record trials on Lake Coniston. Keith’s film at Coniston recorded the tragic accident in which Donald Campbell lost his life when his craft, Bluebird, crashed.

Our Day Out was led by Screen School Lecturer Ian Bradley and was supported by then third-year students Rebecca Gleave,  Robert Hayes,  Daldeep Poonia, Michael Priest, Lee Reid and Alex Stevenson. The ICC’s Sue Potts evaluated the effectiveness of the project in preserving cultural memory and the use of Photovoice as an effective tool for working with older people’s groups.

Workshops were held at the Poppies Centre, Age Concern Liverpool and at Kensington Fields Community Association. The project was carried out in full consultation with the Medley family. An exhibition which shares the images and related content was hosted by the Museum of Liverpool from November 2014 to September 2015. The exhibition was also hosted by Brighton Library during September 2015.

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