Photographic Collection

About the Photographic Collection

The Photographic Collection at the National Tramway Museum contains more than 40,000 images. The collection covers the history of the tram from George Francis Train’s first horse drawn tramway at Birkenhead in 1860, to the sleek modern trams appearing in our cities today.

The collection contains both official images taken by professional photographers for the Tramway Companies as well as work by the amateur photographer.

A large part of the Photographic Collection held by the Museum has been generated by tramway enthusiasts who captured the everyday life of towns and cities during the tramway era.

It’s not just images of British trams, but a large part of the collection also covers foreign tramway systems from around the world. The Photographic Collection is a unique visual record documenting ordinary street life, cars, shops, adverts, buildings and people going about their daily life.

Digitisation and New Collections

All photographic materials are vulnerable to damage from the effects of light, heat and humidity. The Museum has a long standing digitisation programme in place to digitise all of the Photographic Collection in order to preserve this valuable material for the future. Many of the images which have been digitised already can be found on our online catalogue.

As new collections arrive they are reviewed in terms of their content and the condition of the photographs. In recent years the Museum has received photographic collections such as that of the late Roy Brook. The collection contains over 3,000 black and white film negatives. One of the main concerns when assessing a collection such as this is whether it contains any Nitrate negatives. Nitrate film is a particularly unstable type of film and can degrade very quickly. Negatives identified as being Nitrate are put at the top of list for digitising in order to create a valuable digital copy.

Work is always progressing with the Photographic Collection as more photographs are digitised or new collections arrive. Throughout the year we’ll be keeping you up to date on what’s happening with the Photographic Collection via the Curator’s Choice news feature.

Purchasing Images

Images from the National Tramway Museum Photographic Collection are available to purchase. We can provide images for personal research use, as well as for commercial purposes, i.e. use in an exhibition, use in a TV programme or book publication.

If you would like to purchase any images from the collection, please take a look at our online catalogue and complete the Curatorial Enquiry Form, providing the P_ or Pc_ reference numbers which can be found on the online catalogue.

Click here for a document containing the Library Service Charges, including image pricing.

If you would like more information before ordering please contact the Curatorial Department on 01773 854321 or complete the Curatorial Enquiry Form.

Reading Room Opening Times

The Reading Room is open by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9.30am - 4.30pm, and closed between Christmas and New Year.

Charity Number 313615

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