Locomotive Publishing Company collection of railway photographs
LPC images cover a wide range of subjects relating to railways in Britain, with particular emphasis on locomotives. All of the main line companies are represented, together with light, narrow gauge and industrial railways, and many of these images have been published since the archive was first established. Among the photographs represented in the collection are those of Major S A Forbes, who was responsible for many Scottish subjects of particularly high quality; P Caldecott's views of Scottish locomotives; R Welby King's images of moving trains of the GNR and LBSCR; W J Reynolds; B Mashiter's photographs of NER subjects in the Whitby area; F Snary's GWR scenes and F W Blauvelt's views of locomotives in the USA. There are numerous images by F E Mackay, regarded by many contemporaries as the finest images of trains in motion and extensively featured in the railway press. Negatives by R H Bleasdale and P W Pilcher were added in the inter war years. (Further references to Reynolds, Bleasdale and Pilcher may be found in other NRM collections).
The collection is listed, ordered by railway company and locomotive type. Published lists produced by Ian Allan Ltd, divided by railway company, locomotive type or location are also available.
Reference prints for many of the images are available for consultation in the Reading Room.
The Locomotive Publishing Company was established in 1900, and was probably the first organisation to make railway photographs commercially available. The LPC had sprung from the 'F Moore' trading company founded by two railway enthusiasts apprenticed to the Great Eastern Railway, A and A R Morton Bell. In 1896, joined by a third brother, W J Bell, they had commenced publication of the first popular railway periodical, Moore's Monthly Magazine, which soon changed its name to the 'Locomotive'. It drew on an archive of railway images the brothers had acquired from the steadily growing band of railway photographers, and the LPC successfully marketed these 'F Moore' photographs to a new phenomenon, groups of railway collectors and enthusiasts. The business expanded during the first decades of the twentieth century, with increasing numbers of photographers supplying negatives to the LPC or placing them on loan for copying. The LPC also used some official photographs and commissioned work, including images taken by W J Bell.
LPC initially issued its photographs as 10 x 8 and 8½ x 6½ ins prints or as 'cartes de visites' but in the early years of the twentieth century the company became involved in the new postcard-collecting hobby and sold large quantities of these cards. They included 'painted photographs' and copies of paintings by John Rudd, who signed himself 'F Moore', and both printed and genuine versions of photographs.
Having survived bombing during the Second World War at its home in Amen Corner, London and a subsequent move to Horseferry Road, the company was sold in 1951 to the publisher Ian Allan. In 1992 the archive, together with its associated rights, was acquired by the National Railway Museum, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
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