G'day folks,

For some 30 years, a collection of nearly 4,000 slides sat undiscovered in a university basement in Sheffield. The lost collection of photographs, found inside a forgotten pile of boxes, has since been digitised by students of the University of Sheffield.

The JR James archive is a fascinating look at developing post-war Britain, a highly criticised era, blamed for the loss of English architectural heritage at the hands of socialist urban planners. Amassed over several decades, is a notably diverse depiction of England. It contains a considerably picturesque, charming and quaint England alongside some of the most radical concrete buildings the UK has ever witnessed.

JR “Jimmy” James was chief planner at the Ministry of Housing and Local Government from 1961-1967, as well as a professor at Sheffield University before his untimely death in 1980. He was known as a “titan of post-war planning”, lumped amongst those responsible for having destroyed many post-war British towns.

After the devastation of the World War II Blitz, England was faced with chronic housing shortages. To solve the overcrowding, town planners came up with utopian experiments to build “new towns”, “streets in the sky” and “garden cities”. Influenced by Brutalist architects like Le Corbusier, more than 20 of these designated “new towns”, were built in the first 25 years after the war.

Check out some of his photographs:

Clancy's comment: Amazing shots, and no doubt some of you will recall some of these areas.

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