In the 1960’s, my mum used to wheel me down to a very posh ear specialist in Rodney Street Liverpool. Rodney Street was Liverpool’s equivalent to Harley Street.
Rodney Street harks back to a bygone age, when Liverpool was one of the richest cities in the world. The Georgian architecture is quite breathtaking. The house on the corner has a plaque, commemorating the former home of the founder of the Liverpool to Manchester Rail company. The Liverpool to Manchester Rail Company was a pioneer of the industrial revolution.
Slightly further along, The National Trust has restored the home of one of Britain’s greatest photographers, E Chambre Hardman.
E. Chambré Hardman was born in 1898 in Dublin. His father was esteemed, amateur photographer, Edward Hardman. E. Chambré Hardman started taking photographs when he was just nine years old.
Whilst a student at St Columbas College in Dublin, Hardman won many photographic competitions.
When Hardman was 18 he became an officer with the Gurkha Rifles in India. He was promoted to Lieutenant. Whilst on active duty in the Himalayas, he was a prolific photographer, using his trusty, Eastman Kodak, No. 3 Special camera. Hardman’s bathroom doubled as a dark room.
Whilst stationed in the Khyber Pass, he met Captain Kenneth Burrell. Hardman and Burrell decided to go into business together and in 1923, Burrell & Hardman acquired 51a Bold Street, in Liverpool’s fashionable commercial centre.
In 1926, Chambré Hardman appointed seventeen year-old Margaret Mills as his assistant. At first, she would look after the studio in Hardman’s absence when he was in the South of France that year.
In 1929, Margaret had left the studio to train as a photographer in Paisley, Scotland. In the same year Kenneth Burrell left the business to Hardman.
In 1930, Hardman was awarded 1st prize in the American Annual of Photography and a gold medal in London for this picture “Martigues” taken whilst in France in 1926.
I think you will agree, it is a wonderful photograph and so evocative of France.
E Chambre Hardman donated over 125,000 negatives to Liverpool’s Central Library. In Liverpool, he has a street named after him. Hardman was primarily a black and white photographer and had his negatives hand painted in colour.
If you wish to see more of the work of this photographic genius of the 20th Century, go to http://goo.gl/jCY4H.
My next blog is about my favourite Hardman masterpiece. Until then, I shall remain.
My name is Steve Howard. You have been reading the digital circus.