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How the light gets in

Edward Fitzmaurice Chambré Hardman

E. Chambré Hardman was born in 1898 in Dublin, Ireland. The only son of the keen amateur photographer Edward Hardman, E. Chambré Hardman took his first photographs aged nine and went on to win many photographic competitions during his time at St. Columba's College in County Dublin. From the age of eighteen, he spent four years as a regular officer in the 8th Gurkha Rifles in India where he would eventually be promoted to lieutenant. While on active duty at the foothills of the Himalayas, he found time for photography using his Eastman Kodak No.3 Special camera and processed rolls of film in his bathroomWhilst stationed at the Khyber Pass he met Captain Kenneth Burrell, a man who hadn't planned on an army career but rather hoped to set up a photographic studio back home in Liverpool, England. Hardman and Burrell decided to go into business together and in 1923, Burrell & Hardman acquired 51a Bold Street in Liverpool's fashionable commercial centre

Starting the business was difficult, and Hardman resorted to selling and repairing wirelesses to subsidise the studio. Eventually it gained a reputation for being the place for anyone with distinction in Merseyside to be photographed by Burrell & Hardman.

1920s and 1930s

Barrow boy stops for a light
In 1926 Chambré Hardman appointed seventeen year-old Margaret Mills as his assistant. At first, she looked after the studio in Hardman's absence when he was in the South of France that year. In 1929 Margaret left the studio to train as a photographer in Paisley, Scotland. Margaret and Hardman kept in touch through frequent affectionate letters. In the same year Kenneth Burrell left the business entirely to Hardman. In 1930 Hardman was awarded 1st prize in the American Annual of Photography and a gold medal in London for his picture "Martigues" taken whilst in Martigues, France in 1926. While portraiture was Hardman's livelihood, his real photographic interest was landscape photography, which he pursued throughout his life alongside his commercial practice.
On 10 August 1932 Hardman married Margaret, he was 33 and she was 23, and they rented a flat at 59 Hope Street, Liverpool. Although they worked long hours at the studio, they still found time for weekend expeditions, strapping camera equipment onto their bicycles and riding out into the countryside to shoot landscapes. In the same year Hardman won a contract with the Liverpool Playhouse theatre to provide portraits and production shots of actors. These included Ivor Novello, Patricia Routledge and Robert Donat.
Liverpool was a constant source of inspiration to Hardman and he loved to explore the many sights and streets of the city capturing them on film. What follows is a selection of some of his wonderful photography

Edward Chambre Hardman, Searchlight on Anglican Cathedral

Central Station 1960s

Another excellent photograph this time Exchange Flags in the rain

This photograph is entitled simply 'Figures in a doorway Vernon Street'

One of my favourite photographs, this is Gambier Terrace

Another atmospheric shot, this time from the museum steps looking towards the Old Haymarket

The Overhead Railway

On the Mersey this time in a photograph entitled 'Schoolboys on the Ferry

Water Street and Dale Street

And finaly a photograph I believe Hardman took in Rodney Street, entitled 'Snow in town'

All photographs are © copyright National Trust

After Hardman's death a trust was established to protect and conserve his work. His house and studio at 59 Rodney Street, Liverpool is now run by the National Trust, UK and is open to the public.

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