Christina Broom, who died in 1939, was Britain's first female photojournalist and the documenter of life before, during and after World War I. She also got a late start, the Museum of London's Anna Sparham wrote Friday.
It was with the fast approaching centenary of the First World War that we considered this acquisition for the museum. Broom photographed between 1904 and 1939 and saw the war through her photography of the soldiers going to and returning from the Front as well as documenting London before, during and after that time. From the outset however I also wanted to focus on this work of a woman photographer; a woman who was unique, intriguing, skilled and largely underappreciated, her story not yet being widely told. That Broom was 40 when she taught herself photography, and that her daughter Winifred made all the prints, is in itself a great story opener.On Friday, April 4, the Museum of London opened a small display of Broom's photography, with a bigger display planned for the future. Broom's images include one of Rudyard Kipling's son, Jack, who died in the war and inspired the poem "My Boy Jack," Mark Brown reported in The Guardian, as well as images of the royal family and soldiers with their families.
The collection shows that Broom was a witness to the key moments of early 20th century life in London including being one of only two people allowed to photograph Edward VII lying in state. Her photographs were used extensively by newspapers including the Daily Sketch, Sunday Herald and Evening News, always with the credit Mrs Alfred Broom. Sparham said the images had strength and relevance in their own right but "it is the photographer's own fascinating story of determination and entrepreneurialism that makes them truly come alive".(more...)