Photographs and images of St Albans & district

Our collection of over 15,000 images consists mainly of photographs taken by members and donated to the Society over the last 80 years. Thanks to the hard work of several volunteers (Malcolm Merrick in particular), nearly all of our collections have been digitised and are available to view on a library computer. Please do contact us if you would like to book some time for this. The email address is In due course we intend adding details of these images to our new online catalogue.

Please note that copyright regulations and other restrictions apply to some of our collections. Please ask the library team for guidance.

The Richard Darnell slide collection

A member of the Society, Richard took over 1,200 colour photos of historic buildings, mostly in St Albans, together with a few of local events. These date to around 2010. In recognition of this significant contribution, the Society was pleased to award Richard a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ in September 2013.

Early members’ image collection

Three photographers who were members of the Society in the early 20th century have left excellent collections of photographs. E.S. Kent’s 96 acclaimed photos are particularly useful for architectural research. Those by E. Murray Paul and Frederick Kinneir Tarte include a mix of architectural and social history with several noteworthy views of the 1907 Pageant.

A.S. Allen slide collection

Donated by the family of the late Mr Allen in 2016, the collection consists of around 500 images, mostly old photos and some rare postcards. Particularly important are images from the 1980s of buildings on the verge of demolition and also from the old bus station in St Peter’s Street.

David Dean aerial photographs collection

The late David Dean, a former President of the Society, took the opportunity of a ride in a private plane around 1990 to take 86 aerial photos of St Albans. This extensive collection is an important counterpoint to the earlier Aerofilms photographs available here.

Frank Kilvington slides collection

The late Frank Kilvington, another former President of the Society and also Headmaster of St Albans School, lectured, wrote and encouraged others to explore the history of this city. These slides cover a wide variety of topics and were used to support his own research and talks.

Herts Advertiser digital images

The Herts Advertiser has reported on life in St Albans since the first edition in 1855. Unfortunately its collection of early photographic negatives was thrown away many years ago. In lieu of these, Mike Neighbour, a local historian and author, has digitised nearly all the photographs in the original printed copies of the newspaper from 1914 to 1949 inclusive. This amounts to the staggering figure of over 13,700 individual photos, all of them indexed. While their quality varies depending on the nature of the newsprint, the images are still of particular use for researchers interested in life in the district in the first half of the 20th century.

Other collections

We have several other useful collections such as David Willacy’s slides of Portland Street and surrounding roads; likewise Bernard Cox’s slides of Fishpool Street. Both date to the early 1980s. Malcolm Merrick’s photos of important events in the city from 2009 onwards bring us up to date.