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Protecting the E. Chambré Hardman photographic collection

Conservator working on Hardmans Unpacked project at the Hardmans' House, Liverpool
Conservator working on Hardman's Unpacked project. A two-year project to catalogue and conserve the E. Chambré Hardman Photographic Collection and to make it more accessible. | © Annapurna Mellor

Discover our work to catalogue, conserve and share the E. Chambré Hardman photographic collection, making it more accessible for everyone to explore and enjoy.

What's in the photographic collection?

The Edward Chambré Hardman photographic collection is a unique survival with local, national and international artistic significance. It contains well 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.

The Hardmans Unpacked project

Though the collection has been kept safe 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, whether for research or personal enjoyment.

Thanks to funding from the Archives Revealed programme, and additional funding from the National Trust, work was able to begin in 2019 cataloguing, conserving and digitising a significant portion of the collection.

Between 2019 and 2022, the Hardmans Unpacked project conserved around 16,000 items catalogued around 5,000 items, and digitised around 4,600 items. We aim to make the digitised images available to explore online in the near future.

The project has been delivered in partnership with Liverpool Records Office and funded by the National Trust and the Archives Revealed programme, which is supported by The National Archives, The Pilgrim Trust and the Wolfson Foundation.

Beyond Hardmans Unpacked

Thanks to continued support, we're able to carry on our work cataloguing and conserving thousands more items in the collection. We've even recruited a group of enthusiastic conservation volunteers to assist in the huge task of cleaning and rehousing prints.

Most of this work is being done at the Hardmans’ House, where we've set up a photographic conservation studio on the top floor. Some of the more specialist work is being undertaken at Liverpool Record Office.

Portrait of famous Welsh actor, composer, playwright and impresario Ivor Novello with Fay Compton, 1926
Ivor Novello and Portrait of famous Welsh actor, composer, playwright and impresario Ivor Novello with Fay Compton, 1926Fay Compton | © ©National Trust Images/Edward Chambré Hardman Collection

Dive into Hardmans' images

Did you know around 2,000 of the Hardmans' photographs have already been digitised and made accessible online? From inspiring landscapes and shots of post-war Liverpool to celebrity portraits, sit back and browse through the Hardmans' iconic images.

Research the collection

Much of the collection is stored at the Liverpool Record Office, housed in Liverpool Central Library. You can make an appointment to use the search room and see many items from the collection up-close.

Follow the journey of Hardmans Unpacked

July 2019

Archives Revealed awards funding

We’re awarded £25,000 as part of the Archives Revealed programme, which is supported by the National Archives, the Wolfson Foundation and The Pilgrim Trust. This will help us to open up the Hardmans' largely-uncatalogued archive to both researchers and the public alike, meaning more people will be able to access our fascinating collection. The project has begun!

Visitors and volunteer at the Hardmans House, Liverpool 988066.jpg


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Framed photographs at The Hardmans' House, 59 Rodney Street, Liverpool.

History of the Hardmans’ House 

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

Visitors with a volunteer guide in the Studio at The Hardmans' House, 59 Rodney Street, Liverpool

Booking your visit to the Hardmans' House 

Book your place on a fascinating guided tour of the home and photographic studio of E. Chambré and Margaret Hardman. If you're planning a visit to the Hardmans' House, read this article to find out everything you need to know.

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The history of portrait photography 

Discover the history and development of portrait photography through a selection of images from the collections in our care.