Letter revealing the Cottingley Fairies photographs as fakes, 1983.
© Glenn Hill / NMeM / Science & Society Picture Library
A composite digital image of the first page and part of the second page of a letter by Elsie Hill, nee Wright (1901-1988), to Geoffrey Crawley, dated 17 February 1983. Crawley had written in the British Journal of Photography about 'That Astonishing Affair of the Cottingley Fairies' (1982-1983) - prompting Elsie, one of the photographers, to write to him. She expressed her pleasure at Crawley's work and her desire to reveal the truth, in her own words, about how the photographs were taken - more than sixty years after the event. Her full address has been digitally removed. The story began as a practical joke in Cottingley, near Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1917. The photographs of the 'Beck Fairies', as the girls called them, went on to become one of the most famous examples of image manipulation in photography.