HISTORIC ENGLAND: Picturing Lockdown Collection

© Coralie Datta

Historic England have revealed 200 new images that have been added to the Historic England Archive as the Picturing Lockdown Collection, now freely accessible online. The final Collection of 200 images consists of 100 public submissions, alongside over 50 newly commissioned works by ten contemporary artists, including Shutter Hub member Coralie Datta, and the remainder from Historic England’s photographers.

The images were obtained following a week-long call out where the public were asked to share images that document their experience of seven days in “lockdown” from 29th April – 5th May, which resulted in nearly 3,000 submissions from across England.


© Antonia Hinds

The call-out was the first time the public have been asked to capture photographs for the Archive since the Second World War. It aimed to spark conversations about identity and has now created a unique and reflective record of a week across the nation, during this extraordinary moment in history. These unique responses have formed a visual record in Historic England’s Archive, the nation’s archive for records of England’s historic buildings, archaeology and social history, which will help us shape what we remember about this time.


© Michaela Strivens

The public call out received an overwhelming reception from across England, with 2984 submissions from across the country received over the course of seven days. Common themes in the public’s submissions give a fascinating insight into people’s experiences in this unprecedented time. This include images of healthcare workers and rainbows (now synonymous with supporting the NHS), as well as leisure pursuits including baking, gardening, board games and zoom quizzes. The concept of emptiness featured strongly in submissions, especially through empty high streets, roads, public transport and skies, while the frustrations and loneliness of social distancing also came across strongly.


Images of home-made haircuts and street art sit alongside people’s pets, children and working from home. The natural world appears frequently with images of gardens, parks and wildlife in bloom during the spring months, suggesting how nature has offered us solace and a promise of hope.


© George Torode

Find out more and explore Historic England’s Picturing Lockdown Collection here.


About Historic England
We are Historic England, the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.​


Historic England Archive
Based in Swindon, Historic England Archive is the nation’s archive for records of England’s historic buildings, archaeology and social history. It includes over 12 million photographs, drawings, reports and publications from the 1850s to the present day, covering the whole country. Over a million records can be searched online.



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