Photographic Library - Negatives

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1837 DES/DCA/30/2
  • Dates of Creation
      1944-1980s
  • Physical Description
      The negative collection numbers approximately 10,000 glass plate negatives and smaller quantities of film negatives.

Scope and Content

The negative collection is ordered numerically apart from those with a letter as a prefix which are arranged in separate files as listed below.

1. A, 2. BCMI, 3. C, 4. EB, 5. EBS, 6. ED, 7. EDH, 8. EE, 9. EH, 10. EFG, 11. EG, 12. EH, 12.1 EHS, 13. EI, 14. EK, 15. EL, 16. EM, 17. EO, 18. EP, 19. EPG, 20. EPO, 21. ER, 22. ESI, 23. ET, 24. EW, 25. EX, 26. EZ, 27. F, 28. FG, 29. H, 30. K, 31. L, 32. M, 33. N, 34. O, 35. Q, 36. T, 37. U, 38. UNK, 39. V, 40. VA, 41. W, 42. WG, 43. Y, 44. Z

New system working to

The negative collection is arranged by the following exhibitions and general picture library.

1. Britain Can Make it

2. Festival of Britain

3. General

Administrative / Biographical History

As well as creating images of contemporary industrial design that were printed and made available through the Picture Library, the photographers employed by the Council of Industrial Design supported the organisation"s publishing, promotional and educational work by recording events, meetings and exhibitions. Although the photographs they created would be circulated in different ways, or held in the library under particular subject categories, the negatives – the majority glass half-plate negatives – were ordered numerically and stored in the boxes that had housed the unprocessed plates originally. The plates were supplied by Ilford, Kodak and other British suppliers of photographic materials. Ordered in this way, each negative could be retrieved as required. The accession books, compiled by the Picture Library, identified the negative number of each print logged, and negatives were identified on the reverse of prints, but apart from this, there is no written description of the content of negatives, each was simply allocated a numeric identifier and it is this sequence that this sub-series represents. A few negative enclosures include a brief written descriptor but this is exceptional.

During cataloguing or digitisation processes in recent years, corresponding prints have been identified when known. In some instances, information acquired from other sources has been included to enhance a record.

Exceptions to the numeric sequence which was also, inevitably, chronological, are a handful of negative sequences identified with a single letter or multiple letter prefix, a measure usually adopted to identify component elements of an exhibition, Britain Can Make It of 1946 being a case in point.

Other exceptions in format and numbering include the relatively small quantities of quarter-plate negatives and film negatives. These were usually employed when photographers were working at an exhibition site or in other parts of the country. Most of the time they were based at the Council"s studio and darkroom where designed objects were brought in to be documented and where negatives were processed. The Council"s photographers were Dennis Hooker, Alfred Lammer and Timothy Quallington.

Other Finding Aids

See Photographic Library Accession books. (sub series 5).