Glass plate negatives of the dry plate gelatin emulsion variety, ranging in size from 4.25"x3.25" to 15"x12", with the majority being half plate (6.5”x4.75”) size. Also includes a very small number of celluloid negatives, a few small photographs and one lantern slide. Over 10,000 of the images are studio portraits of individuals and family groups. These include children in fancy dress costumes, workers in their uniform and military servicemen. Most of the portraits are etched, inked or labelled with a studio number and surname. First names are few and the surname is that of the customer, which may not be the same person as the sitter. The studio numbers form several distinct sequences and the negatives have been physically sorted and boxed based on these numbers. Early negatives appear to have been placed into a loose alphabetical order before being given their studio number and so are not found in the date order that they were taken. Those with definite dates attached are rare.
The negatives form 8 subseries based on their size, studio numbers and type of image. Subseries 1-4 are studio portraits, 5 is stereoscopic negatives, 6-8 are images arranged by their subject matter. Subjects include weddings, family holidays, group activities and sports, domestic architecture, street scenes, pubs and shops, places of worship, occupations and manufacturing, railways, motor vehicles, horse-drawn vehicles, documents and illustrations. Amongst these are commercial images of business premises, machinery and manufactured goods that were taken for local businesses and images commissioned by Doncaster Corporation to record civil engineering projects, such as the building of North Bridge and the town centre street widening programme. Approximately 1550 negatives were taken from customers' earlier-dating photographs to create a copy or enlargement. Around 600 negatives are in poor condition, mostly due to mould damage to the emulsion. Most of the portraits of war workers and military servicemen from the First World War period (c.1,100 images) have been scanned, as indicated in the Copies field of the record.