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Picture Palaces of Liverpool

8 April 2016 by Anne

Black and white photo of cinema

Paramount, London Road (1934)

The Reel Stories exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool focuses on original film posters and memorabilia to celebrate Liverpool’s role in films over the past 60 years. Alongside this, the exhibition also includes a large panel which reproduces a selection of Stewart Bale images that highlight some of Liverpool’s and the surrounding area’s, more sumptuous picture palaces of the past; built in the hey-day of cinema-going, these buildings often matched the glamour of the silver screen, with many constructed in the sleek lines of modern Art Deco architecture. Read more…

80th anniversary of Queensway Mersey Tunnel

18 July 2014 by Anne

archive photo of crowds at the opening of the Queensway Mersey tunnel

Queensway Mersey Tunnel entrance hung with ceremonial curtains prior to the official opening, with the royal stand in the foreground. Archive reference number 11256-8

The Queensway Mersey Tunnel, connecting Liverpool with Birkenhead beneath the River Mersey, was officially opened 80 years ago, on 18 July 1934 by King George V, accompanied by Queen Mary. The distinguished company of Stewart Bale Ltd, a Liverpool based firm of commercial and industrial photographers, was selected as the photographers to officially capture this prestigious event.

The Stewart Bale collection is now part of the Maritime Archives and Library, including some 195,445 negatives and a souvenir photograph album recording the opening ceremony of the Queensway Mersey Tunnel. Read more…

Easter 1945 – a time of austerity

28 March 2013 by Anne

old photo pf a shop window display

There are 195,445 photographs in the Stewart Bale collection and this is one of them; a window display for Easter 1945 in the former department store Owen Owen on Clayton Square, Liverpool, which was commissioned by Owen Owen Ltd, April 1945.

I’m guessing that the passer-by’s attention was supposed to be grabbed by the words ‘Easter Harvest’ in large rustic letters in each of the three windows, hopefully to draw them closer to investigate and read the explanatory text panels about this strange phenomenon (how could harvest be at  Easter! But wait a minute…) Read more…

Romance in 1934

14 February 2013 by Anne

old photo of smartly dressed couples dancing in a large hall

Dance Party at Reece’s, Parker Street, Liverpool, February 1934 (detail). Commissioned by S Reece & Sons Ltd, Liverpool

The commercial photographic firm of Stewart Bale Ltd were commissioned to take this photograph by Reece & Sons Ltd, from their principal offices in Hawke Street, off Brownlow Hill, Liverpool. Stewart Bale was an important firm of Liverpool based photographers who could command significant commissions, which says something about the status of Reece’s. Read more…



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Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.