Photographic collection of H F Cooper

Repository: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

Identity Statement

TitlePhotographic collection of H F Cooper
Archive ReferenceGB 0255 PRONI/D1422
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1900-1950
Extent Medium2,500 photographic prints


Creator(s): H F Cooper, commercial photographer, Strabane, County Tyrone

  • Administrative History ↴

    Herbert Cooper was born in Hammersmith, London, in 1874 and arrived in Strabane just before the outbreak of the First World War. He took over the photographic studio in Railway Street which had been run by J Burroughs from about 1901 until 1913. From then until his death in 1960, Cooper amassed a huge collection of photographs. He also recorded films, for instance of race meetings at Carricklee, managed the Pallindrome cinema in Railway Street, Strabane, and had a commercial photographic studio in Blackpool.
  • Archival History ↴

    In the 1970s, over 70,000 of Cooper's glass plate negatives were deposited in PRONI, and they were subsequently purchased by the office.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: H F Cooper, commercial photographer, Strabane, County Tyrone ↴

    Cooper took photographs throughout the counties of Tyrone and Donegal. He also visited towns in Counties Derry, Armagh and Fermanagh, and made occasional sorties into Co. Down (Bangor). His style is noticeably different from the other well- and, until now, better-known photographers of life in Ulster since 1900, including R J Welch, A R Hogg and W A Green. Cooper’s more informal approach is evident throughout the collection. Of course, he did take formal photographs in a stylised way: this is particularly true of his portraits. But his ‘snap-happy’ policy has given us a record of many aspects of life in the countryside and small towns of the west of Ulster for the entire first half of the twentieth century. His subjects ranged across the whole community: with his professional eye and the detached view of an Englishman, he was in an ideal position to photograph scenes which were characteristic of both main traditions in Ulster. The collection has been, with justification, described as the best record of life in provincial Ireland before World War Two.

    – Extracted from a full account of the Cooper collection in the PRONI catalogue:

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    D1422/A Photographs organised by county:

    D1422/A/1 Co. Donegal
    D1422/A/2 Co. Down
    D1422/A/3 Co. Londonderry
    D1422/A/4 Co. Tyrone

    D1422/B Photographs organised by subject:

    D1422/B/1 Great Northern Railway (Ireland)
    D1422/B/2 Co. Donegal Railways Joint Committee
    D1422/B/3 Road, sea and air transport
    D1422/B/4 Agricultural shows
    D1422/B/5 Rural industries
    D1422/B/6 Rural scenes
    D1422/B/7 Industry
    D1422/B/8 Businesses
    D1422/B/9 Advertising
    D1422/B/10 Army, Navy and Air Force
    D1422/B/11 Police
    D1422/B/12 Nationalist groups
    D1422/B/13 Orange and Unionist groups
    D1422/B/14 Ulster Volunteer Force
    D1422/B/15 Sports
    D1422/B/16 Leisure
    D1422/B/17 Operatic, bands, circuses
    D1422/B/18 Youth organisations
    D1422/B/19 Local occasion
    D1422/B/20 Cooper’s trip to United States of America
    D1422/B/21 Churches
    D1422/B/22 Religious meetings/processions
    D1422/B/23 Schools
    D1422/B/24 Houses
    D1422/B/25 Groups
    D1422/B/26 Portraits
    D1422/B/27 Miscellaneous

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions The collection can be consulted in the reading room in PRONI in accordance with PRONI guidelines.
Creation Dates1900-1950
Extent Medium2,500 photographic prints
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids A full descriptive list is available to search online at: Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteNatalie Milne
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000. National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names. Chippenham: National Council on Archives, 1997. UK Archival Thesaurus (UKAT)
Date of Descriptions41699