Ref No770 ECH
TitlePhotographic Collection of Edward Chambré Hardman
DescriptionCollection of the photographs of Edward Chambré Hardman, one of the most prestigious portrait photographers in Liverpool of the twentieth century, and a respected and dedicated landscape photographer.

Edward Fitzmaurice Chambré Hardman was born on 25th November 1898 in Fox Rock, County Dublin, the son of a keen amateur photographer. He grew up experimenting with his father's quarter plate brass and mahogany Lancaster stand camera, processing the exposed glass plate negatives in the wine cellar and making contact prints in the apple loft. By the age of fourteen he had entered and won several photographic competitions in magazines, including "Amateur Photographer" and "Photographer and Focus". One of his early photographs is still held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

In 1917 Hardman took his Sandhurst exams, and was posted to India in 1918. There he took some of his earliest soft-focus, painting-style pictures. Despite the muddy and dusty conditions, he produced photographs to send home to his mother and sister; some of the more dramatic images were processed after his return to England.
It was during his time in India that Hardman met fellow officer Kenneth Burrell, and decided to make photography his profession. Burrell had all the right social connections to help Hardman to set up a business; so in 1922 they travelled together to Liverpool, which would become Hardman's adopted home for the rest of his life. Despite his mother's open disappointment, Hardman set up his own portrait business, with Burrell as a silent partner, based at 51a Bold Street; and "Burrell and Hardman Ltd." was born.

Margaret Mills, a young aspiring photographer, went to work for Hardman in 1926, and strong bond formed between them, which eventually resulted in their marriage in 1932, after a prolonged love affair. Margaret was a photographer in her own right, and this collection also includes some of her more notable work.

Burrell and Hardman became the fashionable choice for up and coming stars in Liverpool, including Ivor Novello, Robert Donat, Michael Redgrave, and Patricia Routledge. He also photographed local architects and artists as a member of the Sandon Studios Society, including Henry Carr (a popular portrait painter), Herbert Tyson Smith (the sculptor) and the architect Francis Xavier Verlarde

As well as photographing these more well known people, Burrell and Hardman photographed thousands of Liverpool people - at their weddings and christenings, and for standards portraits as children, turning 21, or portraits for presents. This became particularly important during the Second World War, when people needed photographs of their loved ones who they might never see again. Portrait photography was counted as a reserve occupation due to its importance to morale, so Hardman became an Air Raid Warden rather than going away to war.

In 1938, Burrell and Hardman had taken on a second studio in Chester to cope with a boom in business, and in 1948 they moved their main studio to 59, Rodney Street, which also became the Hardman's home (previously they had been living on the Wirral).

Although portraiture was Hardman's business, landscape photography had always been his passion, and he and Margaret travelled across England, Scotland and Wales, taking stunning images on their way. In the early days and at times of petrol rationing they would catch a train and then cycle out into the countryside to find the subject for their images, but as time went on they acquired a Daimler and became even more mobile. They often revisited areas a number of times - landscapes in North Wales, Scotland and parts of England, mainly Cheshire and parts of the North-East fills the collection as well as remote, picturesque villages. Hardman's use of cloud and light in his pictures makes them come to life, and his work was widely exhibited - including at the London Salon of Photography, and the Royal Photographic Society. He later became a Fellow of the Institute of British Photography, and the Royal Photographic Society.

Alongside images of the countryside, Hardman took many photographs in Liverpool itself, which document the changing face of the city over more than sixty years. These images show the overhead railway and the trams, the docks, and the changing landmarks. The later pictures show how Liverpool was starting to decay around him - the bomb damage at the docks, and derelict housing.

Hardman officially retired as a professional photographer in 1966, although he continued to take photographs and exhibit his pictures. Margaret died in 1970, and Hardman's world fell apart. Although he continued to exhibit pieces and produce some pictures, he had never been a self-publicist, and thus he faded from public view. In 1988, he died, an honoured member of the Royal Photographic Society, and a respected member of the London Salon.

The National Trust now owns the home and studio of Edward Chambré Hardman, along with his collection of prints, business records, negatives and personal records. The house is open to the public from 15 September 2004.
For more information, please see
CopyrightCopyright of the photograph belongs to The National Trust. Permission to reproduce the photograph must be obtained from The National Trust.
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