We are thrilled to announce that we have been offered National Heritage Lottery Fund funding for ‘Seeing the North with Sankey’ a two-year heritage project which will conserve and connect people across Barrow and Cumbria to the Sankey Photographic Collection. 

THE SANKEYS were a father and son duo who documented life in Barrow and Cumbria over 80 years, capturing the landscape, cultural changes, individuals, industry & tourism (plus much more). The postcards they created from their photography were posted all over the world. 

We have been working closely with the Sankey family since 2016 and are delighted to start our incredible programme of activities. We will be announcing the full programme of events in due course. 

If you are interested in getting involved in workshops, sharing your stories or volunteering please register your Interest (below) or get in touch with Julia on / 01229 838592


Due to the Covid-19 outbreak we have currently postponed all our Sankey workshops. We are however still working on the project from home and we are inviting people to get involved with transcribing postcards, catalogues and postcard albums from the collection. Help us turn this unique collection into a fascinating legacy for future. 
If you are interested if getting involved please send Julia an email at 



Oral History Online

As part of the Seeing the North with Sankey project, we are running a series of online four workshops aimed at looking at ways to record oral history in the Covid-19 age. The course will be geared towards ‘place-based’ oral history in response to images in the Sankey Photography Collection. During the course, you will learn about interviewing techniques, why we record oral histories and how oral histories can be used alongside the photographs in the collection. The course will culminate in the creation of short sound pieces that will sit alongside photographs in exhibitions and the final collection.

The course is FREE and there are twelve places available. We will notify you on 16th November to confirm your place on the course.


Part 1, Tuesday 24th, 2pm – 5pm (with break)
Part 2, Tuesday 1st December, 2pm – 5pm (with break)
Part 3 & 4, Jan 2020.

Simon Bradley the course tutor is Oral History Society registered and lives in Maryport, Cumbria. Simon is an artist and oral historian who delivers Oral History training, creates audio walks and sound art.



The Archive 

  • Relocate the Sankey Photographic Archive to Cumbria Archives in Carlisle for secure permanent and safe storage. 
  • Restore, conserve, digitise and catalogue 15,000 glass plate and acetate negatives and 20 postcard books. 
  • Create a dedicated online website and database of the collection which links with Cumbria Archives. 
  • Create online database of 1500 Sankey Postcards

Volunteers and participants 

  • Recruit volunteers to support research/interpretation, conservation through training, activities, field-trips and workshops. 
  • Work with volunteers to develop online interpretation of the collection, exhibition content and oral history interviews. 
  • Run two participatory artist-led projects and workshops for people of all ages in response to the archive. 

Young people

  • Deliver an interactive heritage programme around the Sankey Postcards for local primary and secondary schools, local universities and organisations that work with young people
  • Create Sankey Teaching Resource pack for schools

Exhibitions and final work

  • Sharing and celebration of heritage through public talks, visits and film screenings.
  • Five public exhibitions with interactive education programme at Cookes Studio, Barrow Dock Museum, Furness/WestCoast Railway. 
  • Provide two Sankey Kiosk featuring Sankey images in Barrow Dock Museum and Barrow Local Study Centre. 
  • Create a self-guiding walking app with oral history recordings
  • Create a publication which contextualises the Sankey’s work into wider photographic history. 
  • Produce a Behind the Scenes documentary of the project 

Sankey Postcard Project

Between October 2018 and March 2019 we ran a series of workshops and talks as part of our development stage for the Sankey Project. If you are interested in finding out more about the work we have done previously please visit our Sankey Project Page below. 

Our project is kindly funded by the following...