Collection: Gordon Barnes

1959 - 1984
Collection containing Photographic, Graphic, Textual and Miscellaneous material
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Gordon Barnes was an authority on Victorian architects, with particular regard to ecclesiastical architecture.

The collection is comprised of black and white photographs, giving national coverage of exteriors, interiors and fittings of C19th churches, plus a smaller number showing schools, railway stations and domestic buildings. Barnes was based in London and the capital accounts for 20% of the coverage. He later retired to Worcestershire which, together with Herefordshire, accounts for a further 11% of the collection. The remaining 69% includes coverage of most other English counties.

The photographs were taken between 1959 and 1984, but the majority date from the 1960s and 1970s.

Archival History

Gordon Barnes (1915-1985) was born near Harrow and lived and worked in London until his retirement to Malvern Link in Worcestershire. By 1965 he was one of the foremost authorities on Victorian churches in London. He was a first rate photographer, using large format photographic equipment to record churches and their fixtures and fittings to a professional standard. He was a member of the Ecclesiological Society, and their Chairman from 1964 to 1965, and also became a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1983. In the mid 1970s he was awarded Leverhulme Trust funding for 'Photographic Recording of the work of Nineteenth Century Architects'.

Although London based, Barnes travelled throughout the country to photograph nineteenth century churches, plus other buildings designed by Victorian architects, such as railway stations, schools and estate buildings.

His first contact with the National Monuments Record (NMR) was in 1961and from then until 1984 he provided negatives for printing and retention in the NMR archive, subsequently selling a series of long batches of negatives and finally assigning copyright to the NMR in 1983. In 1994 the Council for the Care of Churches passed their collection of his smaller format negatives to the NMR, together with original early photographs collected by Barnes on his travels.

On receipt the negatives were housed in a variety of enclosures, the majority fully annotated by Barnes with location and date and his own numbering system. A new set of file prints were produced by the NMR photographic darkrooms and the collection was catalogued in detail between November 2000 and November 2001. During the cataloguing process all items were allocated new ID numbers and were resleeved in archival enclosures.

There are further Gordon Barnes negatives incorporated into the NMR archive negative runs, and a number of unidentified negatives that have not been catalogued in detail.


This Collection is divided into 2 Series and 9,096 Child Records
This Collection contains the following materials:
Photograph (Negative): 8,849
Photograph (Postcard - Photographic): 10
Photograph (Print): 9,348
Engraving: 1
Painting: 1
Print - Mechanical: 1
Extract/Cutting: 1
Published Material: 1
Box: 2


© Historic England Archive

People & Organisations

Creator of Archive: Barnes, Gordon Lansdown

Photographer: Barnes, Gordon Lansdown