Photographs

Photographs

Photographs

National Museums NI holds a wide range of historic photographs—almost 500,000 topographical, portrait and record images. Most are in black and white and kept in print and negative format. The collection dates from around 1870 and mostly relates to the northern parts of Ireland. Other regions are also covered, especially the west. They describe:

  • commercial and social life
  • industrial and economic activity
  • street scenes and townscapes
  • land, sea, air, and road transport
  • political and social events

Signature collections include:

  • The natural history photography, and The Harland and Wolff Collection of shipyard photographs, taken by RJ Welch (1859—1936)
  • W.A. Green (1870—1958) photography of rural industry
  • The social realism of A.R. Hogg (1870—1939)
  • Photographs taken by the Ulster Tourist Development Association, and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, between 1940 and 1980.
  • The Dundee Collection, chronicling farm life in Sentry Hill, County Antrim.
  • The Hackney Collection, charting the recruitment and training of the 36th Ulster Division in the First World War, and their journey to the Battle of the Somme and beyond.

Other important collections include the work of:

  • Cecil Newman, describing local urban and road development in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Bob Martin, a shipyard worker whose images reflect life in Belfast and output at Harland and Wolff's in the1950s and 1960s.
  • The Garland collection, which records the aftermath of the Belfast Blitz, 1941, and the work of local home defence agencies.
  • The Browne collection of photographs relating to civil engineering projects post 1945
  • The Glass Album relating to the Land War in Gweedore, County Donegal, in the 1880s.
  • The Douglas Sobey Collection relating to the LGBT movement in Northern Ireland in the 1970s
  • Photojournalism from 1970 by Martin Nangle, Bill Kirk and Frankie Quinn

The museum maintains a large collection of lantern slides—for use in magic lanterns, a 19th century forerunner of the slide projector—depicting social, economic, and industrial life in Ireland in the late 1800s and 1900s. We also hold a large photographic archive which includes copies of major collections held elsewhere, such as the Annesly, Young, and Langham collections.

The photographic collections also chart the development of photography itself. Our oldest photographs are daguerreotypes and calotypes from the dawn of the medium. We hold a collection of cameras, magic lanterns, and photographic equipment, dating from the 1850s onwards.

Searchable list of collections

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photographic negative

photographic negative

subject : Belfast Savings Bank, nos. 25-39....

photographic negative

photographic negative

subject : St. Anne's Cathedral...

Castleton Lanterns

Castleton Lanterns

Lantern slide produced by Hogg for an exhibition in 1918 ‘of our men at the front.' This slide shows two separate images of two soldiers. Both images ...

photographic negative

photographic negative

subject : Murray's Terrace....

photographic negative

photographic negative

subject : The Carlton Cafe, no. 25 - 27....

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph, Harland and Wolff glass plate negative. subject : Hydraulic riveting of centre plate, including riveters and portable furnace. Ship No: 40...

photographic negative

photographic negative

subject : Austin Reed. Hairdressing Salon....

Silent Night

Silent Night

subject : Thomas Cook and Sons Ltd....

Photographic print

Photographic print

subject : View of sheep in a field.;Condition : good...

BASKET WEAVING ON THE SHORES OF LOUGH NEAGH, CO. ANTRIM

BASKET WEAVING ON THE SHORES OF LOUGH NEAGH, CO. ANTRIM

a view of Mrs Celina Mulholland and a boy basket weaving outside a building...

Photograph

Photograph

Bradbury Place from University Road, showing the toll house, Belfast...

Photograph

Photograph

Glenarm. Aerial Photograph....

PORTSTEWART CASTLE

PORTSTEWART CASTLE

a view across the rocks and sea to the castle above. Thatched cottages can be seen below the castle....

photographic negative

photographic negative

subject : Civil Defence Display. date : 1941-07-22;condition : good....

Photographic Print

Photographic Print

Fotostop colour print, faded, one of a group of 'snapshot' images trialling themes and perspectives for documentary work: view of security barriers,...

Irish Dancing Glens Of Antrim

Irish Dancing Glens Of Antrim

A group of Irish Dancers dancing outside with a number of people watcing them also being filmed...

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph, Harland and Wolff glass plate negative. subject : First class oak panelled state room. Ship No: 382. Name: Avon. Type: Passenger Ship. Ton...

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph, Harland and Wolff glass plate negative. subject : Three views of builder's half model OLYMPIC/TITANIC, different to above. Ship No: 400. N...

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph, Harland and Wolff glass plate negative. subject : Starboard bow 3/4 profile on No. 2 slip, North Yard, prior to launch. Ship No: 352. Name...

Photographic Print

Photographic Print

subject : view of Blaney Bay and Ross Point from height at Carrickreagh;platinotype print. Condition : good...

LOUGH GILL, CO. SLIGO

LOUGH GILL, CO. SLIGO

a view from the waters edge of a lough and the mountains beyond, in mist...

BRIDES BRIDGE ON THE MAINE, RANDALSTOWN

BRIDES BRIDGE ON THE MAINE, RANDALSTOWN

a view of a stump of a derelict bridge...

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