National Museums Liverpool Stewart Bale SB 6788 262
CREDIT: National Museums Liverpool (Maritime Museum, Stewart Bale collection)

Presenting the... Stewart Bale Ltd Collection

Event info

Continuing the RPS Historical Group's series of talks looking at collections of photography:

Anne Gleave, Curator of Photographic Collections, Archives Centre, Maritime Museum, National Museums Liverpool, will be introduced by Gilly Read FRPS, chair of the RPS Historical Group. She will give an introduction to the Stewart Bale Ltd. photographic collection at National Museums Liverpool. 

Stewart Bale Ltd. began as an advertising and printing business and evolved into a commercial photographic practice from around 1913, continuing to early 1982.  Based in Liverpool with a studio in London from 1949-1970, the firm soon established itself as an exclusive commercial photographic practice, offering a high standard of quality and performance which drew significant commissions, such as the progress photography for the construction of the Queensway Mersey tunnel; part of the progress photography for the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and the Lutyens’ crypt of the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral as well the Cunard Building and numerous other architectural constructions along with shipbuilding, launches and fit-outs for some of the most prestigious shipping companies.

The collection consists of most of the surviving Bale negatives, around 200,000, principally large format glass and film, along with approximately 4,000 prints and original documentation i.e. order books or negative registers and client registers.  The date span and diverse range of Bale’s commissions has left a unique visual legacy of Liverpool’s built environment and industrial, shipping and commercial history during a major period of social change and development.  Although principally from the North West, commissions extended nationally.  The range of subject matter is particularly well represented in shipping; docks and cargo handling; engineering; architecture; industry; commerce; transport and World War II bomb damage in and around Liverpool.  The talk will aim to show a cross section of image content, some details of the firm’s history, the collection and the work that has been undertaken to date to preserve and catalogue it.

This talk is open to everyone and is free but space is limited and requires booking.

The presentation will be followed by a public Q+A. Questions will be taken by Zoom chat. Your Zoom link will be sent in PDF with your booking confirmation. 

Image: Mersey Tunnel construction, with suspended temporary roadway, 1931 (SB/6788-262). Courtesy of National Museums Liverpool (Maritime Museum, Stewart Bale collection).

Event Organiser

Michael Pritchard


Cancellation policy

This is an online event. The RPS will do its best to ensure that it keeps to the published timings and runs as planned. In the unlikely event that the event has to be cancelled all participants will be advised by email at the earliest opportunity.  No responsibility will be accepted for any consequential losses.



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