Photography connections at our places

It's World Photography Day on 19 August. From Lacock Abbey’s role in the birth and early development of photography to the house of 20th-century professional photographer Edward Chambré Hardman, the places we care for have many a story to tell when it comes to photography.

Latest visiting update 

Our gardens, parks, cafés, shops, countryside locations and many houses are open. You no longer need to pre-book at many places. Some still require booking ahead, so please check the property webpage before you travel.​

Group portrait of staff at Erddig, 1912. Erddig, Wrexham

Erddig, Wrexham 

For nearly 200 years, Erddig’s staff were immortalised in portraits and photographs. The tradition was started in 1791 by Philip Yorke, who commissioned a set of six painted portraits. From as early as 1852 they began taking photographs instead. Staff also took their own photographs and made photographic albums of their lives that are held in Erddig’s photography collection. Nothing like this survives anywhere else in the world.

Early photograph of William Henry Fox Talbot who owned Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire

Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire 

William Henry Fox Talbot, polymath and pioneer of Victorian photography, moved to Lacock Abbey in 1827. He famously created the earliest surviving photographic negative in 1835, taken of a small window in the abbey's South Gallery. The Fox Talbot Museum is housed in Lacock’s 16th-century barn. It tells the story of the birth and early development of photography through its photographic collection.

The Hardmans House Film Rolls

The Hardmans’ House, Liverpool 

Renowned portrait photographer Edward Chambré Hardman and his wife Margaret lived and worked in the same house in Liverpool for more than 40 years. Now in our care, it's the only known British example of an intact 20th-century photographic studio. A perfect time-capsule of 1950s life, their neat, professional, spacious business rooms and the cluttered, cramped living quarters are still just as they left them.

Boatman William Hagan (right) in a boat on the jetty, Strangford Lough

Mount Stewart, County Down  

Theresa, Lady Londonderry of Mount Stewart, was a keen photographer and took many glass-plate negatives of her home and the staff who worked there. With the help of volunteers, we’ve been cataloguing, cleaning and digitising these negatives. The negatives have recently helped to shed new light on the mysterious disappearance of the 'Mountstewart' yacht, which vanished without a trace from Strangford Lough in 1895.

George Bernard Shaw sits cross-legged with a notebook

Shaw’s Corner, Hertfordshire 

When George Bernard Shaw died in November 1950, he left behind a house filled with the relics of a long and fascinating life. As well as being a writer, he was also a keen photographer and left a vast photographic collection of over 20,000 items, taken by himself and others. Shaw's pictures are now stored at the London School of Economics, which he helped to found, and work is in process to digitise them.

Barbara Wagstaff handing a photographic measure in the Great Ship Burial

Sutton Hoo, Suffolk 

The collections at Sutton Hoo include a unique set of photographs by amateur photographers Mercie Lack and Barbara Wagstaff. The images, taken in the summer of 1939, capture the dramatic excavation of the Great Ship Burial. They’re also an incredible survival from the very earliest days of the use of colour reversal film. Over the winter of 2019–20 , with help from our volunteers, we were able to digitise the collection in their entirety for the first time.

Photographs hanging up on string in the Wightwick dark room

Wightwick Manor, West Midlands 

The Mander family were so enthusiastic about the new 19th-century developments in photography that they built their own dark room. Both Theodore and Geoffrey Mander were trained chemists, so were particularly interested in the technical side of developing photographs. Their dark room still exists and many of their photographs are still in the collection at Wightwick.