Highlights of the British Collection:

Aerial Photographs - Archive of Major George Allen

The George Allen Archive comprises material collated together after his death and contains very few personal papers.

The papers include annotated copies of lectures given by Allen on 'Air-Photography and Archaeology' which were delivered between 1935 and 1939 to various archaeological groups and societies, including the Ashmolean Museum and the Dorset Archaeological Society.

There are also two blank Christmas cards designed by Allen showing photographs of his brother, Cullimore, and himself on the 'Brighton Run' in 1937 and 1938.

The papers also include alphabetical indexes of photographs taken, recording dates, times and places. These indexes appear to have been begun in 1933 and are compiled in different hands. It is thought that one of these hands may indeed by that of Allen.

The remainder of the archive includes catalogues and indexes of photographs taken by Allen which have been compiled at a later date by unknown authors. For example, the 'Catalogue of negatives of air photographs of Ancient sites taken by Major GWG Allen, 1932-9. With an alphabetical index, geographical index, subject index and chronological list of flights', compiled 31 May 1941.

There is a significant amount of printed material from a much later date (1950s to 1980s) which includes articles written using Allen's photographs or commenting on his work. There are also offprints of articles written by Allen and handbooks to exhibitions compiled by Allen.

A large part of the archive is made from draft plates, photographs, notes and descriptions of sites for the book on Allen's work, 'Discovery from the Air' (published 1984). These have been compiled by the editiors O.S.G. Crawford and J.S.P Bradford, and include draft typescripts of their forewards for the said publication. The papers also include correspondence to Bradford from 1952 to 1955 and correspondence between Crawford and Cullimore Allen in 1942.

Of course the archive also includes around 2000 aerial photographs taken by Major Allen.

Allen Christmas Card from 1937 (Ashmolean Museum Archive)

Allen Christmas Card from 1938 with George and his brother, Cullimore (Ashmolean Museum Archive)

Chronological List of Flights

Chronological list of Allen's flights with archaeological photographs (Ashmolean Museum Archive)

Further Information


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Christine Edbury
January 2012