Bloody Old Britain
O. G. S. Crawford (1886-1957) thought history held the answers to everything. A field archaeologist, he later became a photographer flying over the Western Front during the First World War – an experience that made him a pioneer of aerial archaeology. An impassioned Marxist, it seemed to him that 1930s Britain would soon disappear, conquered by history’s inevitable march to world socialism, and he made a photographic study of everyday things – churches and advertising hoardings – as future evidence of how unenlightened British society had once been. Later there came angry disillusionment and a book, too bitter to be published, called Bloody Old Britain. In recounting Crawford’s extraordinary story, Kitty Hauser uses many of his photographs and penetrates neglected but fascinating aspects of British life and belief that have themselves become history.