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History of the Hardmans’ House

Framed photographs at The Hardmans' House, 59 Rodney Street, Liverpool.
Framed photographs at The Hardmans' House | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Many famous faces passed through this studio to have their portraits taken, as well as thousands of ordinary folk. Discover the people who made this possible and the legacy they left behind.

Understanding how the house was used

The house was both a photographic studio and home for E. Chambré Hardman and his wife Margaret. The majority of the house provided space for clients to wait, change their clothing and sit for photographs.

Behind the scenes, the staff would be busy developing prints in the cellar and then preparing them to be sent to clients in the retouching room and mounting office.

Edward Hardman

Renowned portrait and landscape photographer Edward Chambré Hardman lived and worked at 59 Rodney Street for 40 years. The photographic archive he left behind contains hundreds of thousands of photographs, prints, negatives, letters and business records.

Margaret Hardman

Although Edward was the better known half of the couple, Margaret was a gifted photographer in her own right. Acknowledged as the brains behind the business, he often said that he 'could not have done it without her'.

They made the perfect match. She was sparky; he was quiet. Their shared passion for photography drove the business and gave them many happy years together.

Portrait, Edward Chambre Hardman, 1920s
A portrait of Edward Chambre Hardman dating from the 1920s | © ©National Trust Images/Edward Chambré Hardman Collection

Kenneth Burrell

Burrell and Hardman served in the army together in India. Looking for a profession beyond their military careers, they established a photography business in Liverpool in the early 1920s.

Burrell left the business within five years of its establishment but the two remained friends and the business name Burrell & Hardman remained.

British Army officers, India, 1918-1922 with Hardman third from right on the back row and Burrell fourth from the left on the back row
British Army officers, India, 1918-1922 with Hardman third from right on the back row and Burrell fourth from the left on the back row | © ©National Trust Images/Edward Chambré Hardman Collection.

Did you know?

  • Building work on the street began in 1782
  • Rodney Street is named after Admiral George Rodney
  • The houses have been used by doctors and consultants since the 1800s
  • Prime Minister William Gladstone was born just over the road at No.62
  • Rodney Street has always been a very prestigious address
  • Rodney Street is part of Liverpool's beautiful and historic Georgian Quarter. Why not explore the surrounding streets after a visit to the Hardmans' House?
Studio and equipment, the Hardmans House, Liverpool

Discover more at Hardmans' House

Find out when Hardmans' House is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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Things to see and do at the Hardmans’ House 

Discover the people behind the Hardmans’ House photographic studio and the thousands of prints and negatives they left behind.

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Caring for the Hardmans’ House collection 

Find out about the important conservation work that takes place behind closed doors every winter to ensure the Hardmans’ collection can continue to stand the test of time.

Visitor, reception, Hardmans House, Liverpool

Shopping at the Hardmans’ House 

Whilst waiting for your tour to begin, you can relax in the garden in the garden and browse the gift shop with a selection of Hardman inspired souvenirs and gifts.

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From landscape gardeners to LGBTQ+ campaigners and suffragettes to famous writers, many people have had their impact on the places we care for. Discover their stories and the lasting legacies they’ve left behind.