Revealing the Archive

Fascinating items from the Chambré Hardman collection

In 2019, the National Trust is launching a new two-year project to explore, catalogue, conserve and share the outstanding Edward Chambré Hardman Photographic Archive.

Discover the story behind our efforts to preserve this unique collection and find out how you can get involved below. Don't forget to visit us by booking a tour of The Hardmans' House or follow us on social media (@NTHardmansHouse) to join us on this exciting journey.

The Hardmans House Film Rolls

What is in the archive?

The Edward Chambré Hardman Photographic Archive is a unique survival with local, national and international artistic significance. It contains over 140,000 photographic prints and negatives dating from the 1920s to 1970s, business records and personal papers. Together, these provide unique insight into the work and personal life of Liverpool’s foremost portrait and landscape photographer, Edward Chambré Hardman, and record a fascinating social history of the mid-20th century.

Dark room at the Hardmans' House

Who is supporting the project?

The project has been primarily funded by the National Trust and the Archives Revealed programme, which is supported by The National Archives, The Pilgrim Trust and the Wolfson Foundation, to transform access to archives for a wide range of users. The project will be delivered in partnership with Liverpool Records Office, which houses the archive.

Visitors at the Hardmans' House

How can you help? 

While we have secured 80% of the funding for the project, we still need to raise around £40,000 more to make it happen. This is why we have launched the Hardmans Unpacked appeal to enable you to play a part in finally making this historically and artistically significant collection accessible. Donations of all sizes are welcome and can be made through the link below or by contacting the property directly on 0151 709 6261.

Andrew Morrison, National Trust’s Lead Curator and project sponsor, said:

“Photography is an exceptionally accessible medium, without barriers to language or culture; inspiring curiosity, discussion and exploration. We are so grateful to Archives Revealed and the National Trust for this funding which will enable us to finally catalogue and conserve this important collection and start sharing its secrets with a wider audience. We think Hardman’s work will be relevant and interesting to many people, including new audiences who will be able to use his photographs as an entry point to exploring their own links with the past.”

Black and white photograph of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral under construction.

What do we aim to achieve?

Though the archive has been kept safe and secure at Liverpool Records Office, the National Trust has lacked the resources to thoroughly explore and catalogue what we have. This makes it difficult for people to access. Yet we know that lots of people love the Hardmans’ work and we believe that the collection has tremendous engagement and academic research potential. We would love more people to use and enjoy it.

Visitors looking at photographs

The project will focus on cataloguing, digitising and conserving a significant section of this unique collection and sharing it through exhibitions, community engagement activities and online. We will make the archive accessible for local and family history study, and academic research too. Local people will be able to get involved hands-on through events, activities and volunteering as part of the project.

Meet the Hardmans