Sam Lyne

Portfolio published in ArchivoZine 18 - The Archive, In the Age of Visual Culture.

My Dearest Beatrice

Bletchley Park remains a building of immense historical note. Housing the secretive machinery deployed in the infamous code-breaking technique of the Second World War, it has long held fascination for historians and artists alike. Secrecy demanded the destruction of almost all of their records at the end of the war and the site is now a museum that relies on voluntarily gathered information on the individuals who worked inside these enigmatic walls.

A house clearing took place in 2015, alongside the unearthing of thousands of photographic slides documenting trips taken around Europe by two individuals from the 1950s to the 1980s. Alongside this discovery were a host of artefacts, including letters written during the 40s and 50s that unlocked an intimate photographic narrative. Most of these letters were written in 1943 from Bletchley and give a carefully worded glimpse into life at the ‘Office’ – an invaluable resource providing details of every day life at the time.

"My Dearest Beatrice" examines a tale of deep love and devotion of two people who met at the height of the war. The process unearthed over 300 of the 4,000 enigmatic slides documenting the artist’s Great Aunt and wife of the original photographer gazing into distant landscapes. Alongside intimate letters detailing the couple’s time at Bletchley Park, the work seeks both to reveal and maintain confidences, honouring and preserving a delicate love story.

The couple had secrets to keep for years; those secrets remain.


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