Archive black and white photograph of a group of schoolboys in the street between a brick building and a flint and stone medieval gatehouse, with a church tower in the background.
Pupils gathered in the street outside Kings School, Ely. Photographed between 1920 and 1939 by Marshall, Keene and Company © Historic England Archive. CC46/00455
Pupils gathered in the street outside Kings School, Ely. Photographed between 1920 and 1939 by Marshall, Keene and Company © Historic England Archive. CC46/00455

Marshall, Keene and Company Collection

Around 750 film and glass plate negatives from a collection by photographers Marshall, Keene and Company show schools and religious buildings in the late 1920s and 1930s.

The sites featured include Rugby School, Birmingham Oratory, Guy’s Hospital and Cheltenham College. Alongside views of the buildings, the collection includes photos of students, staff, cadets and ex-servicemen using the buildings.

View the collection

Here is a summary of some of the highlights.

Marshall, Keene and Company were a Hove based photographers founded in 1902. They operated out of premises on Portland Road and specialised in the commercial photography of public schools, hospitals and Roman Catholic churches in England and Scotland.

The National Buildings Record (NBR) acquired the collection in 1945. Thankfully the original plan to dispose of non-architectural material in the collection was never carried out. So, alongside views of the buildings, the collection includes photos of pupils working in classrooms, gymnasiums and workshops. There are also photos of posed groups of staff and students and shots of cadets from the Officer Training Corps carrying out drills.

Other interesting images in the collection record wounded ex-servicemen relaxing at the Star and Garter Home in Richmond Hill, and children receiving light therapy at Guy’s Hospital.

We still have copies of the correspondence between Sir John Summerson, then Deputy Director of the NBR, with the family of Thomas Dunkerton, the firm’s photographer. This reveals that all the material relating to English sites, along with all rights, were transferred to the NBR for the sum of £25.

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