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Come Dancing

20 December 2003 to 1 February 2004

Please note that this exhibition has now closed

'Come Dancing' was one of a series of small exhibitions highlighting the conservation of National Museums Liverpool's collections. It featured photographs of dance halls, bands and work social events from the 1930s to the 1960s drawn from the superb Stewart Bale collection, held at the Maritime Archives and Library.

Find out more about conserving the photographs in the Stewart Bale collection.

The New Brighton Tower dancing contest, Aug 1943 Party games, May 1953 Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd, Aircraft Section dinner group Littlewoods Mail Order Stores, dinner group New Brighton Amusements Ltd, Personality Girl contest July 1945 Orchestra at the Locarno Ballroom, West Derby Road Party and dance, Anchor Motor Co Ltd, Chester Cable department dance, British Insulated Callenders Cables Ltd Dance on the Northern Star, July 1962

Stewart Bale Ltd

The 20th century is universally regarded as a time of great social, technological and economic change. Between the 1930s and 1970s Britain experienced sweeping changes across its urban landscape, manufacturing industry and workforce.

During this period, Stewart Bale Ltd, then one of the country's leading commercial photographic companies, recorded new and exciting developments in industry, manufacture, architecture and commerce. Their photographs captured the defining mood of the period, depicting generations at work and at play. Although mainly confined to the North-West of England, the images reflect mid-20th century Britain.

Conserving the collection

The company is no longer in existence. National Museums Liverpool acquired this important visual archive in 1986. The images shown in this exhibition represented just a small fraction of the collection. They were never intended for public display and many have not been seen since they were first photographed. Thousands more remain unseen in dusty boxes, some containing broken or disintegrating negatives. The slow and costly process of evaluation, conservation, cataloguing and storage, is now underway.