Do you know where these photographs were taken? They could be a local building, a familiar landscape or even your home

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Thousands of pictures taken by British artist John Piper have been published online today. But while many of the locations were documented by Piper when Tate acquired the negatives in the 1980s, and research is ongoing, nearly 1,000 remain to be identified.

Piper began taking the photographs when he worked with John Betjeman on the Shell County Guides in the 1930s, capturing shots of ruined abbeys, churches, old shop fronts and country inns. There are nearly 6,000 black and white photographs celebrating Britain’s countryside and architectural heritage, spanning 50 years from the 1930s to the 1980s, and covering many parts of the country.

Here’s how to get involved

You can view the photographs in one of two ways:

  1. View all of John Piper’s photographs
  2. View all of John Piper’s photographs by county

If you have any information on the locations and date of the images, please email Tate’s archivists at referencing the Tate Gallery Archive (TGA) number.

We’d also love to see how the places that Piper photographed look now. Upload your own photos to the Tate website by creating an Albumadd Piper’s photos of the area as well as your own, then publish your album.

The new items are published as part of the Archives & Access project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund with a grant of £2 million. The project draws on the world’s largest archive of British Art – the Tate Archive – and brings it together online with Tate’s art collection, giving unprecedented worldwide access to original materials.

Homepage banner image credits: John Piper’s Photograph of a ruin possibly near St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire and Photograph of a building, possibly in Derbyshire © The Piper Estate



Picture 1 is Caelaverock Castle in Dumfries & Galloway, managed by Historic Scotland.

I think these are all in southern Scotland. Definitely not Pembrokeshire! No 1 is Caerlaverock Castle. Don't know number 2 but it looks like a Borders tower castle. No 3 is New Lanark. Don't know the Church. If you contact the Royal Commission for Historical Monuments of Scotland they will know them I expect.

Picture 2 appears to be Glenluce, Castle of Park which is now a Landmark Trust property in Dumfries and Galloway. The cladding is different but the earthworks of the building that used to sit in front of it still appear to be visible in John Piper's photograph.

Wiltshire: TGA8728/1/38/21 is a cob wall topped with thatch. Common in south Wiltshire, cob walls like this were 'booted' with stone or brick and 'hatted' with straw thatch or tiles. Once the 'boots' or 'hats' disappear, the cob is washed away by the rains which is why so few remain. TGA8728/1/38/90 is the Estcourt Fountain in Devizes Market Place, not a bridge. See TGA8728/1/38/341 is the Etchilhampton Monument on the A342 a few miles south-west of Devizes. See The online display of these photographs is wonderful, especially for those no in the Metropolis. Thank you.

Re the Northumberland photographs. Shot levy is in Durham. If they were taken there, the industrial site in the background is almost certainly Consett Iron Works

The photograph (TGA 8728/1/20/228) is of the mill house and St Andrew's Church in Wickhambreaux, Kent.

The proof can be seen on Streetview:,1.1825256,3a,75y,26h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1scQ9sEQhSgKBWzd4zHihTpg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1?hl=en

Re: TGA 8728/1/20/4 Kent This is of the perimeter cottages around St Mary the Virgin town church in Ashford Kent.

TGA 8728/1/27/45 is of Bourne Methodist Church in Bourne, Lincolnshire, as viewwed from Abbey Road.

The photo in the Telegraph this morning listed as "possibly near St Govan's Head" is Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfries & Galloway, the ancestral home of the Maxwell Clan.

Picture 3 is Milford Mill in Derbyshire. Built by the Strutt family and demolished in 1964.


The image TGA 8728/1/24/34 identified as East Dereham, Norfolk is actually Downham Market, Norfolk.

TGA 8728/1/15/97 appears to be Tretower Castle/Court (Brecknock, now Powys) taken from the NE, looking across the A40 (below the conifer treeline).

Photo 3 is definately Strutt's Mill in Milford Derbyshire. It lies on the Derwent between Duffield and Belper, in the middle of what is now the World Heritage Site. The mill was a cotton spinning mill built in the 1780s at a time when Strutt and Arkwright were in partnership. As the earlier comment suggests the maiin mill was demolished in the 1960s; what we would now regard as an act of valdalism, but in the days when industrial archaeology was held in low regard. however, some of the other structures and the boundary walls still survive

TGA 8728/1/25/33 definitely the estate at Easton Neston. The two towers partway down the ride are quite distinctive

Norfolk ones: TGA 8728/1/24/20 is Wood Rising, not Cley. 35 and 36 are Wood Norton, near Fakenham. 80 is St Ethelbert's Gate at Norwich Cathedral. 113 and 119 are the wrong way round, 113 is Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalene and 119 is West Dereham. 145 is actually in Suffolk: Spexhall.

Norfolk Ones: TGA 8728/1/24/20 is Wood Rising, not Cley. 35 and 36 are Wood Norton, near Fakenham. 80 is St Ethelbert's Gate at Norwich Cathedral. 113 and 119 are the wrong way round: 113 is Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalene and 119 is West Dereham. 145 is actually in Suffolk: Spexhall.


Photograph of a sand beach possibly in Suffolk [c.1930s–1980s] TGA 8728/1/34/136

This is Covehithe, the beach just beyond the church. Looking North towards Benacre and Kessingland. See Piper images TGA 8728/1/34/26 - 30 St Andrew's Church, Covehithe

The view of the pines and field path remains at once similar , and much changed in detail by escalating erosion.

Also Photograph of a countryside landscape by a river, … [c.1930s–1980s] TGA 8728/1/34/137

This most certainly relates to Piper's image of 'The Cathedral of the Marshes', Holy Trinity Church, Blythburgh. The reeds and creeks at the rear and side of the building, the marshwaters create a black mirror on a bright day Photograph of Holy Trinity Church in Blythburgh, … [c.1930s–1980s] TGA 8728/1/34/7

Dreadful site, very user unfriendly. I'm sure plenty of people know loads of these, but you can't can't comment under each photo, soi t's frankly a pain. About one third of these locations are well off the mark.

To make a comment one has to move away from the photo and navigate to the comments page, then back again, to continue viewing. (see stilleaf's comment) Fortunately i have two screens and opened the site twice, once on each screen. No doubt one could open two windows on one screen using tabs. But comments under the photo would be helpfull. Also it would then be possible for viewers to relate to what others had said about the photo.

TGA 8728/1/13/70 Not a toy horse, it's a Coade Stone Brahmin bull from the bridge

TGA 8728/1/22/292 These ones are Bayon's Manor, long gone now

TGA 8728/1/20/114 Knowlton's pretty definitely still not in Kent. Try Dorset....

Suffolk - TGA 8728/1/34/29 Blythburgh 62 Blythburgh 71 Lavenham 86 Lavenham 105 Worlingworth 106 Worlingworth 109 Badingham 110 Badingham 126 Blyford 128 Kersey 131 Kersey 133 Spexhall 138 Little Saxham

TGA 8728/1/34/20 Is the Unitarian Meeting House, Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Still in use. Had tea there in June

Many of these are so well known it hardly reflects credit on the Tate !

TGA 8728/1/34/24 Interior , Unitarian Mwwting House, Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Suffolk

TGA 8728/1/24/146 probably St Remigius Church, Roydon Near Diss, Norfolk. Grid Ref TM 096804

TGA 8728/1/6/59

Although this photo is described as a port in St Austell, Cornwall, it should be more accurately described as the port of Charlestown.

TGA8728/1/22/238 & 239 are St Leonard's Priory, St Leonard's Rd, Stamford, Lincolnshire - owned by Burghley Estates. I've created an album with recent photos but not sure how to make the album public.

Rebecca Ward's picture

Hi StamfordLiz

Thanks for making your album and sharing your photos and knowledge. To make it public, you need to add the Piper photos of St Leonard’s Priory you mentioned. Do this by:

1) going to one or both of the works on the Tate website (links below), 2) then press ‘Add to Album’ and then the pop up will enable you to add it 3) after that, go to the album > Edit > Make Album Public > Save album

If you need any more help, feel free to email and we can give you further assistance.

Many thanks Becs

TGA 8728/1/24/146 The entry above should read " The Unitarian Meeting House, Churchgate Street, Bury St edmunds, Suffolk"

TGA 8728/1/8/40, TGA 8728/1/8/97 and TGA 8728/1/8/94 are Cressbrook Mill, which is about 12,6 miles from Matlock. TGA 8728/1/8/101 is Derby Market Hall TGA 8728/1/8/110 is near Thorpe Cloud TGA 8728/1/8/56 shows the New Mills Viaduct on the Chinley - Romiley line (current stopping route) whilst the one in the far background is the Newtown Viaduct (Hazel Grove - Chinley aka the Hope Valley line current fast route) TGA 8728/1/8/44 are of railway station benches. In the 1960's these would have been painted in a BR maroon colour - they could also have been in Crimson Lake (from their Midland Railway time).


In various newspaper websites a photo showing Carnett & Hallmey, a tobacco wholesale shop, is listed as possibly taken in Derbyshire.

I did a wee search and found Carnett and Hallmey, 26 Market Place, Boston, Lincolnshire in a 1935 Postal and Trade directory. The phone number listed was 708.

Proof enough I think.


This site is a bit unwieldy, it may have been better to create an extra folder for each county containing the photos you're not sure about.

I love a bit of detective work but I don't have the time to search through nearly 6000 images most of which have been identified already.

Also tried to narrow the search for "Possibly", over 10,000 hits!

TGA 8728/1/8/99 is the Magpie Lead Mine, which is near the Village of Sheldon Derbyshire. From memories of a field trip made in the 1960's or early 1970's with either Bemrose Grammar School, Wilmorton College or the Industrial Archaeology section of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society (I cannot recall which) the chimney in the foreground was for the lead smelter whilst that in the background was for the pumping engine. Also seen are the mine headstock on which a Kibble would deliver men an materials into the mine and bring the lead ore (Galena, Lead Sulphide PbSO4) to the surface. The lead would be set into the cupola and heated, the lead being poured off into moulds.

TGA 8728/1/8/99 is definitely Magpie Mine, near Sheldon, Derbyshire. Type Magpie Mine into Google images and you'll see lots almost identical to this one.

TGA 8728/1/8/2 is in the village of Grangemill on the B5056 road to Winster off the B5012 Via Gellia from Cromford, which isn't really near Ashbourne at at. Geography obviously wasn't Mr Piper's strongpoint. I have a field trip recollection that it was a corn mill.

TGA 8728/1/8/24 is a view from roughly where the M1 motorway runs now, looking past Bolsover Colliery in the foreground to New Bolsover behind. Very little of this remains - a remnant of the pit heap and even that is fast disappearing under warehouses and logistics centres that spring up around motorway junctions. I vaguely recall that the colliery lasted until just after the miners strike maybe in the early 1990's. Very poor captioning!!!

TGA 8728/1/8/25 add to caption with Bolsover Castle in the background.

TGA 8728/1/8/103 is also Derby Market Hall.

TGA 8728/1/8/45 and TGA 8728/1/8/46 are definitely Matlock Bath Station - you can still travel to this railway station by train today from Derby. The posters would seem to indicate that it was during the LMS period - so 1923/4 - 1947 with a guess at the 1930's. A more definitive date might come from a close inspection of the posters.

TGA 8728/1/8/51 is another railway building or station. I do not believe it is Matlock Bath as suggested in the captioning. Maybe the posters can help again.


TGA 8728/3/15/23 & 24 are both in Aberystwyth. One is a detail view of a building in the old (seafront) campus of University College, Aberystwyth. The other is a view from below the castle looking north at the pier and across the bay towards the old college buildings.