Stories From The Studio

Luke Bagshaw's camera

Title: Luke Bagshaw's camera
Description: Heritage Doncaster by-nc

Luke Bagshaw’s Photography

Luke Bagshaw was a talented portrait photographer from Doncaster. His studio, Bagshaw and Son, was set up in 1897. Bagshaw’s photography became popular across the town, and they eventually moved to a larger space on St. Sepulchre Gate. He worked there until his death in 1944, but his studio stayed open until the 1960s.

Most of Bagshaw’s work was studio portraits, but he also took outdoor photos of weddings and events across the town. Wealthier clients – such as the Battie-Wrightsons of Cusworth Hall – had their family events, houses and parks photographed at home.

Luke Bagshaw’s work captured an amazing period of Doncaster’s history and people, which saw the region transformed from a country town into a thriving urban area.

About the Project

Heritage Doncaster’s archive collection includes over 14,000 of Luke Bagshaw’s photographs in the form of glass plate negatives, dated between 1894 and 1944. Glass plates were used before film and digital photography. A light-sensitive emulsion is coated on the plate, which reacts to the light when the photograph is taken. This is then developed to create a negative image of the photograph.

Our project archivist re-arranged all 14,000 negatives back into their original order using the studio numbers written on the glass. Volunteers then put them into new packets to protect them for the future.

To commemorate the First World War in Doncaster, four volunteers spent eight months scanning over 1,000 of these glass plates. The images include soldiers, nurses, munitions workers, pilots, seamen, and local families, both in studio and on-location. The glass plates themselves are very fragile, so scanning in high quality allows us to see the amazing detail up close, without causing any damage.