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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 daguerrotypes and calotypes from the dawn of the medium. We hold a collection of cameras, magic lanters, and photographic equipment, dating from the 1850s onwards.

Searchable list of collections

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If no image shows this may be due to copyright restrictions. Please contact picture.library@nmni.com who will be happy to help.
Photograph

Photograph

Railway accident on B.C.D.R. line near Ballymacarrett Halt....

Photograph

Photograph

Machines for primers for naval guns....

35mm slide

35mm slide

Agnes Street Youth Club. Children rollerskating....

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph, Harland and Wolff glass plate negative. subject :First class reading and writing room after refitting....

Silent Night

Silent Night

subject : Royal Avenue Hotel. Interior....

Co Antrim Portballintrae

Co Antrim Portballintrae

A view of the harbour...

Arboe Cross, Co. Tyrone

Arboe Cross, Co. Tyrone

West face of High Cross. (Ireland's Eye, pl.127)....

PHOTOGRAPH; Lantern slide

PHOTOGRAPH; Lantern slide

subject : series of slides relating to the Presbyterian Mission Overseas; mission map of Manchuria....

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph, Harland and Wolff glass plate negative. subject : Boilers in course of construction. Ship No: 317. Name: Oceanic. Type: Passenger Ship. To...

photographic negative

photographic negative

subject : Messrs W. Turner, Fruiterer, Nos. 1-3. Window dressing competition....

Sentry Hill, Hugh Giffen McKinney, Sydney, Australia, and daughter Lorna, Tom McKinney, M. A. C. McKinney, Elsie McKinney, Bessie and Jack Dundee

Sentry Hill, Hugh Giffen McKinney, Sydney, Australia, and daughter Lorna, Tom McKinney, M. A. C. McKinney, Elsie McKinney, Bessie and Jack Dundee

Photograph, Dundee / McKinney glass plate negative. Subject : Sentry Hill, Hugh Giffen McKinney, Sydney, Australia, and daughter Lorna, Tom McKinney, ...

Photographic print

Photographic print

subject : View of Sport (Motor Cycling) Ulster Grand Prix 1964.;Condition : good...

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph, Harland and Wolff glass plate negative. subject :Engine Works drawing office interior...

Photograph

Photograph

subject : View of 600-ton crane in Harland & Wolff shipyard;Condition : good...

photographic negative

photographic negative

subject : to Parliament Buildings from inside main gates....

Industry ( Transport ) Antrim Red Bay Ferry

Industry ( Transport ) Antrim Red Bay Ferry

View of the Red Bay ferry ship leaving harbour the east coast of Co. Antrim...

Strabane

Strabane

Aerial view of Strabane...

DONEGAL AND THE R. EASKE

DONEGAL AND THE R. EASKE

a view of Donegal town from over the river with a boat to the left...

Photograph

Photograph

A model for an improved layout of Belfast city centre. (Used in the Living in the Cities exhibition in the Ulster Museum)....

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph, Harland and Wolff glass plate negative. subject :First class smoke room after refitting....

Photographic negative : photographic print

Photographic negative : photographic print

Ruinous, but apparently inhabited cabin in the Mournes....

Photographic negative : photographic print

Photographic negative : photographic print

National Library from Kildare Street....

BELLEVUE, BELFAST

BELLEVUE, BELFAST

an elevated view looking down on Bellevue House and Hazelwood parklands...

PHOTOGRAPH; Lantern slide

PHOTOGRAPH; Lantern slide

subject : Lantern slide series 'Ulster and its Industries'; Fisheries: Barrels of cured herring on the jetty at Ardglass. date : 1925-08;condition : g...

GARRON POINT FROM CUSHENDALL

GARRON POINT FROM CUSHENDALL

a view from a beach over the bay to Garron Point...

Photographic print

Photographic print

subject : View of fields and cottages.;Condition : good...

PHOTOGRAPH; Lantern slide

PHOTOGRAPH; Lantern slide

Black and white photograph of bust of W. H. Patterson by R. Praeger, no.88 in catalogue. From miscellaneous portraits from photographs, prints and ori...

Photograph

Photograph

Turkeys on McGaults farm, Ballyeaston....

Photographic Pint and film negative

Photographic Pint and film negative

One of collection of images of Ulster mill villages related to Phd research by Dennis MacNiece, later Director of the Ulster American Folk Park in Oma...

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph, Harland and Wolff glass plate negative. subject : First class two berth cabin. Ship No: 430 Name: Abosso. Type: Passenger/Cargo Ship. Tonn...

Photograph

Photograph

Donaghadee. Aerial Photograph....

Conservatory at Mornington, London

Conservatory at Mornington, London

Photograph, Dundee / McKinney glass plate negative. Subject : Conservatory at Mornington, London...

Photographic negative : photographic print

Photographic negative : photographic print

Exterior view of Dun Aengus, with a group of people on the ramparts....

Photograph

Photograph

Botanic Gardens with a view of the palm house....

UNTITLED

UNTITLED

a view of the North Star Dyke, Ballycastle, taken in Aug. 1907, with lady for scale...

Photographic Print

Photographic Print

digital repint of original colour photograph showing woman on Royal Avenue in 1988, with Post Office opposite...

Opening of B.K.S. Air Transport Service

Opening of B.K.S. Air Transport Service

A man and a woman standing talking...

Miss Thoburn (born 1843 - ?)

Miss Thoburn (born 1843 - ?)

Photograph, Dundee / McKinney glass plate negative. Subject : Miss Thoburn (born 1843 - ?)...

photographic negative

photographic negative

subject : Linenhall Street Presbyterian Church: oblique view, showing also building on south side (Nos. 7 & 9). c.1888. For R.A.Caldwell...

Photograph

Photograph

A man and three women packing herrings into barrels ....

Portrush

Portrush

General view of town showing east strand....

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph; glass plate negative

Photograph, Harland and Wolff glass plate negative. subject : Adam-style stateroom of above first class cabine de luxe. Ship No: 372. Name: Amazon. Ty...

photographic film negative

photographic film negative

Subject : barefoot boy in lane holding stick....

HORN HEAD FROM ROSGUILL

HORN HEAD FROM ROSGUILL

a view of a turbulent coastline...

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