Collection: British Rail Community Unit Photographic Library

1977 - 1998
Collection containing Photographic, Electronic and Textual material
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The collection contains over 45000 photographs, negatives and transparencies showing railway buildings, infrastructure and trains compiled by the British Rail Community Unit between 1977 and 1998.

They primarily show railway stations before or after refurbishment or participating in a national competition for the best presented station.

Other subjects include: bridges, signal boxes, track and signalling, graphic design, station furniture, trains, British Rail services such as Motorail, litter and vandalism, engine development and design, and public relations events such as royal visits.

The collection comprises colour and black and white images and most of the transparencies are in 35mm slide format. Coverage is national and approximately 1200 sites are represented.

In addition to the photography, the collection includes VHS video cassettes, mainly covering annual `best station' competitions.

A handlist recording railway stations represented and a general handlist recording the contents of the collection are available.

Archival History

The collection was acquired by the NMR in 1998.

The British Rail Community Unit Photographic Library was one of a number of photographic libraries maintained by British Rail. It was initiated in 1977 by Bernard Kaukus (Director Environment) who was responsible for recording, and creating an overview of, the physical and environmental aspects of all BR property. Mr Kaukus travelled around the BR network recording sites using his camera as a "visual notebook". The program was expanded by his successor, David Perry, who started taking before and after shots to demonstrate improved environmental conditions Many images were used as publicity material and in brochures. Between 1986 and 1993 coverage was extended to the "National Best Station Competition".


This Collection contains the following materials:
Photograph (Negative): 5,000
Photograph (Print): 5,000
Photograph (Transparency): 35,860
Video Tape/Cassette: 17
File: 1


Source: Historic England Archive