Royal Commonwealth Society : Boys of Elementary School doing physical drill: The Granaries, Valetta

Royal Commonwealth Society

<p> The British artist Alfred Hugh Fisher (1867-1945) was hired by the Colonial office Visual Instruction Committee (COVIC) to produce a photographic record of the landscape and the people of the British Empire to be used as educational tool for schoolchildren. During his journey, from 1907 to 1910, he took and purchased more than 4,000 photographs and created 200 paintings. From these images COVIC produced a series of illustrated lectures and textbooks which were presented as geography lessons to schoolchildren. </p><p> COVIC’s aim was to promote imperial awareness through photography. Alongside photographs depicting the economic, cultural and social life in the British colonies, Fisher also documented educational topics. This image depicts children and their teachers practicing physical activities. The boys, all wearing their uniforms, are organized in groups and are engaged in different exercises. They face their instructors who are intent in giving directions and keeping order. The photograph was taken in the Granaries of La Valletta. These pits, visible in the photograph, were dug into the ground and covered by circular stone slabs and used for the storage of grain in case of a siege. The first granaries in Malta were built by the Knights and the British authorities, having understood their importance, continued to use them. With this image, Fisher documented two aspects of the island: the educational system and the distinctive characteristic of grain storage, which would be crucial in World War II for supplying food to the starving population. </p><p>See Janus record <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='https://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0115%2FFisher%2023%2F6112'>here</a></p>


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