Today the #WFJAlbum project draws to a close. Over the last few months we have been following the travels of William Fulton Jackson across Scotland in 1914, whose extensive photo albums with detailed captions allow us to know the exact day and place that photos were taken. Therefore we have been able to upload pictures that were taken precisely one hundred years ago, giving us a glimpse into the past. For example on this day in 1914 we know that William Fulton Jackson and his family were at their holiday home in Gullane, Faussetthill House.
The year 1914 has obvious connotations but these photos are far removed from what was about to happen; they document family life that is quite detached from the politics of the day. It’s easy to imagine that in 1914 the impending war dominated everything but these albums demonstrate that everyday life remained much the same during the build-up. Jackson continued to go on day trips, play golf in his garden and enjoy the beach. This provides an interesting contrast to the bleak images of soldiers marching to war that so often characterises 1914.
One of the most touching aspects of the albums are just how similar Edwardian life is when compared to life today. Whilst the First World War is said to have heralded the real beginning of the twentieth century, the time just before it is seen as more distant than these photos suggest. It’s easy to fall back on the Mary Poppins family stereotypes of the stern Edwardian, uninterested in family life but Jackson’s photos make it clear that the Edwardians enjoyed spending time with their families much in the way we do today; photos show the family taking the dog for a walk and paddling at the beach. The very existence of the photo albums was a family effort; it was not just Jackson taking the photos but other people too, furthermore it is likely that one of his nieces wrote the captions for the photos.
There certainly is much left to learn about the Edwardians from the albums of William Fulton Jackson. Have a look at Historypin and Flickr to see the summer of 1914 or visit Archive Services to look at the other albums in the collection.
Categories: Archive Services