Manchester City Council

Libraries Documentary Photography Archive

The Documentary Photographic Archive (DPA) includes over 100,000 images from family albums and views from across Greater Manchester which capture all aspects of the people and places of the city region.

What's available

We hold a broad collection of images and material including:

  • over 80,000 photographs from schools, workplaces, studios and Manchester streets dating back as far as 1840
  • contemporary commissioned works from the mid-1980s to 1990s
  • an extensive collection of donated photographs from photographic businesses and societies
  • Panora school negatives from 1968 to 1985, and
  • an oral history collection.

How to locate images

  • Use the GM archive catalogue to read descriptions of the photographs and the people in them. Enter DPA in the 'reference number' field and your search term (For example, John Smith or Bengal Street) in the 'any text' field
  • To check if the image you want to view is one of the several thousands which have so far been digitised, visit our Flickr page and replace the text at the end of the URL with the identifier of the collection, for example enter this text to find the DPA/1037 collection
  • If the images you are interested in haven't been digitised, you can view small thumbnail images in the Central Library search room, please make an appointment online
  • Use our Flickr Photostream to view a small selection of commissioned works. Many more commissioned works are described on the GM archive catalogue. These can be viewed in the Central Library search room, please make an appointment online, and
  • Use the GM archive catalogue to view the Panora negatives.

Buy an image from the collection

Images can be digitised on demand:


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