Developing History

Undeveloped rolls of historic Kodak film from the Hardmans' House collection

In 2015, a chance discovery in the Hardmans’ cluttered darkroom unearthed a box containing 23 rolls of film, five of which featured pictures that had never been developed. This year will be the first time we’ll be revealing what’s on these films.

Incredibly, despite having been left in a cardboard box for all that time, 38 photos were able to be developed from the film rolls. Photos ranged from an example of formal portraiture to shots taken from the house’s windows and street scenes of the roads surrounding Rodney Street. The photos give us a fascinating insight into how the Hardmans worked - playing with light and exposure, taking multiple images of the same composition to guarantee perfection and exploring their surroundings.

A test shot of Rodney Street taken by Hardman
A test shot of Rodney Street taken by Edward Chambre Hardman
A test shot of Rodney Street taken by Hardman

Thanks to a generous donation from the Southport and Formby National Trust Association, in 2019 these photos will be on display at the Hardmans' House for the first time, giving visitors an insight into the processes used by Hardman, his photography techniques and how much of Hardman’s artistry we have at our fingertips today. Pay us a visit from March onwards and discover these never-before-seen photographs for yourself.