IN 2018 we secured early funding from Heritage Lottery to begin developing a plan of activity which we later commenced in mid-2019 surrounding The Sankey Photographic Archive and ultimately leading to the creation of our online digital archive. Explore this archive here.

THE SANKEYS were a father and son duo who documented life in Barrow and Cumbria over 70 years, capturing the landscape, cultural changes, individuals, industry & tourism (plus much more). The photographs they created from their photography were posted all over the world!

We’ve been working closely with the Sankey family since 2016 and are delighted to have curated multiple exhibitions and community projects. We are looking forward to working with this fantastic collection more in many future projects.


We organised four postcard workshops which took place on Tuesday afternoons in November and December 2018. The workshops were open to everyone and over 20 people took part. 

Tim Sankey, a Sankey postcard collector based in France kindly shared a selection of 100 postcards with us. They had been posted between the years of 1911 and 1942 and sent as far as Latvia. 

Each workshop was different. Over the four weeks we researched, transcribed and mapped the messages and journey’s the cards went on. 

Hands placing small photographs onto printed map
Mapping the journeys of 100 Sankey Postcards
Wendy, Stephe and Steve discussing messages!
From the 100 postcards, we selected the local addresses and sent letters and a postcard inviting the people living there now to come along to the Celebration event to see a copy of the original.
Edward Sankey's photograph of James Dunn Park in 1906.
Mike Garforth's view of James Dunn Park in 1974
Postcard 317: One example of a postcard from Tim Sankey's vast Collection. Posted from Barrow to Keswick from in 1938.
Maureen, Sue and Duncan discussing the messages on the back of a Sankey Postcard
Sue and Barbara look at Geoff's collection of Sankey Postcards
Mark, Mike, Geoff and Derek plot the places the Sankey postcards were sent to!
Over 4 weeks the 100 postcards were transcribed into a simple and easy-to-read format.
The letters are posted to 12 different addresses with postcards following the next day.
In 1974, Mike and Lynda Garforth re-photographed places that Edward Sankey had captured over 50 years previously. Inspired by Mike and Lynda's work, we re-visited the sites to see how they had changed in the subsequent 50 years.



In 2018, we spent a day with St Bernard’s Year 8 Students running a series of five different workshops that explored the Sankey Collection through photography, writing, film-making, art and performance. They brought Sankey postcards to life using a green screen and performance techniques. See their film below:


The exhibition included examples of the postcards, original postcards and artefacts relating to the collection.

On December 13th 2018 we held an exhibition of all the wonderful work that has been created during the Sankey Postcard Project. Over 60 people came along for a feast of food and drink, music and a presentation about the project. 


We held a display of Sankey Postcards in Barrow Market on Friday 7th December, 10 am – 12noon. We invited people to share their memories and ideas for the project and to join us for the Celebration event.  

SANKEY PRESENTATION - Cumbria Industrial History Society

We held an Introductory presentation about the project in November at Greenodd Village Hall.

The evening had been organised by Cumbria Industrial History Society and was free for all to attend. 

We brought along over 100 original Sankey postcards and artefacts from Barrow Local Archive and Study Centre and local historian Geoff Holme showed us some interesting examples from the collection.