Photographic Collections

Reference: PDate: c1800s-present dayExtent: over 1,000,000 photographs
With more than a million images, The MERL is one of the United Kingdom’s largest specialist sources for pictures of farming and rural life.

Our photographs show people, landscapes, animals and machines. They include top quality photo-journalism and rare works by talented amateurs. We have a wide range of illustrations, footage and artworks, and historical photographs of the local area.

Within these, and other smaller archives, are photographs not listed below. If you are interested in photographs from a particular place, person or subject, you can use our online search catalogue to search for these. Simply enter “PH” (in inverted commas) followed by your search term. Any photographs we have catalogued with that search term will appear.

We offer professional copying services and print on demand at reasonable rates. You can also obtain licences to use much of our content. Simply contact us with the reference and description of the image(s) you are interested in.

Browse images online

Thousands of images from the Photographic Collections can now be viewed on our Virtual Reading Room. Explore selected low-resolution items by The MERL galleries or by theme. Alternatively, you can explore digitised images from individual parts of the Photographic Collections. Register with us to explore many more items with high resolution viewing.

Many of our online exhibitions feature content from the Photographic Collections, in particular our exhibitions relating to folk and customs, steam power in farming, and the Women’s Land Army.

Photographic archives with their own page

W.J. Brown

  • Looking for a specific item?

    We are regularly updating the collections that we publish on our website but if you are after something specific that you can't find online, then drop by for a visit or feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help you.