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Historic Photography Archive Donated to Blackburn College

Pictured L-R: Howard Talbot, Nonie Talbot, Dr Fazal Dad, John Harrison, Peter Graham

A landmark collection of historic photography has been donated to Blackburn College.

The Talbot Archive features over 15,000 images cataloguing Lancashire life from the 1930s through to the 1990s.

The images – captured by father and son duo Wally and Howard Talbot – document historically significant events including visits from The Queen, Winston Churchill, Mick Jagger and Ghandi.

John Harrison, Head of School for Art and Society at the University Centre at Blackburn College said: “We are delighted that Howard has entrusted Blackburn College with his and his late father’s life work.

“The Talbot Archive is of local and national historical significance and we are honoured that it will live on at Blackburn College, preserved for future generations.”

Since 2017, students at the University Centre at Blackburn College have been involved in digitising the vast archive.

Digitisation has seen the archive appreciated by a new audience, thanks to inclusion in research conferences, at the National Festival of Making and coverage by local and national press, radio and TV.

Peter Graham, University Centre graduate and Project Director of The Talbot Archive said: “The Talbot Archive has taken on a life of its own since we initially started the process of digitisation.

“It has been truly remarkable to witness the emotional reactions and personal connections people in the Borough and from further afield have had to the archive.

“The photography of Wally and Howard Talbot deserves to be enjoyed for many years to come and undoubtedly – Blackburn College is the ideal home for it.”

The archive was transferred at a signing attended by Howard Talbot, Nonia Talbot, Principal and Chief Executive of Blackburn College Dr Fazal Dad, John Harrison and Peter Graham.

Howard Talbot said: “We are delighted to hand the archive over to Blackburn College and hope future generations of students in the community will benefit from it.”

The Talbot Archive features an eclectic mix of subjects including commercial, landscape and news photography – in addition to personal snapshots of Lancashire life and local areas of outstanding natural beauty.

John Harrison added: “The archive will now form the foundation for future research and scholarship at the University Centre at Blackburn College.

“We look forward to exploring new ways of bringing this historically significant collection to life – with the aim of working with academics, students and the public to create a regional centre for photography research.”

“We will now begin the search for funding to support us achieve this exciting development.”

The Talbot Archive can be explored online at – thanks to a partnership between Blackburn College and Blackburn Library.

Blackburn College has a range of Photography courses starting September 2020. Direct applications can be made at

20 Jan 2020, 15:53 PM