There’s something wrong with this picture of Old Hunstanton Church:
Old Hunstanton Church as viewed on the 1986 Domesday Disc
Can you spot it?
OK, let’s try an easier one. How about the obvious mistake in this otherwise innocuous 1986 image of the A2 near Dartford in Kent?
A2 near Dartford from 1986 Disc
(And it’s not true that in 1986 cars in the UK all drove on the right hand side of the road…)
But it is true that both of these photographs on the 1986 Domesday disc are reversed left to right. And it turns out they were not alone.
Several dozen of you have been in touch to let us know of similar sightings on the Domesday Reloaded site. We’ve been wondering what to do about them. As more and more have come to light I think we’ve uncovered something quite interesting about Domesday.
The original images for the Community Disc were sent to the BBC as 35mm colour photographic slides. After selection and ordering all 24,000 were scanned individually onto 1-inch video tape, 1 frame at a time.
But the thing with photographic slides (as anybody who has uncovered a forgotten box of them in the loft can probably testify) is that it’s not always obvious which way round they should go in the projector. And even if the plastic mount round the edges purports to have a front and a back, if they were mounted originally by hand then there’s plenty of room for human error in a programme as massive as Domesday.
So it seems that for one reason or another, or probably several different reasons, some of those pictures on the iconic 1986 laser discs are a mirror image of reality.
But during all the time I’ve spent using the 1986 Domesday system, during all the conversations I’ve had with those originally involved, gearing up for Domesday Reloaded, nobody ever mentioned this.
Perhaps it’s testament to the power of local knowledge and to the intrinsically crowd-sourced nature of Domesday that these few have only come to light this time round? (Domesday HQ could have spotted the cars of course, but realistically not the church…)
But of all the subtle insights Domesday Reloaded is gathering into our changing spaces and lifestyles, of all the things we’re cataloguing about shifting trends and behaviours over the last quarter of a century in our corner of the planet, it’s odd that we might also learn something as simple as this:
It’s comparatively quite hard to accidentally flip a digital photograph back-to-front.
So thanks to all those who’ve pointed these oddities out. We’re going through and submitting reversed (corrected) 1986 pictures as 2011 submissions… do please let us know of any more you spot in your travels…