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Elizabeth Edwards discusses W Jerome Harrison's photo of the Broom cottages in Warwickshire, which began the mass participation of people in defining what matters about the past.

You won't find this photograph in a glossy coffee table book. It's not art and the person who took it doesn't feature in the Photographers Hall of Fame. But this picture has had an enormous impact on the way Britain sees what has come to be known as its cultural heritage.

The man who took the photo, W. Jerome Harrison, launched a scheme for recording the country's past in which amateur photographers up and down the land took pictures of the buildings which were important them. Wiki-buildings and English Heritage do this now on a much grander scale. But Elizabeth Edwards argues that the mass participation of people in defining what matters about the past began with Harrison, and changed the way in which a nation viewed itself.

Elizabeth Edwards is Research Professor of Photographic History and Director of the Photographic History Research Centre at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Producer: Rosie Dawson.

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