A137, Timnes Family Party, Barrow-in-Furness. 1924. © The Sankey Family Photography Collection.
3509 Michaelson Road, Barrow-in-Furness. Tim Sankey Postcard Collection.

In 2016 we embarked on the beginning of a journey to re-house, catalogue and celebrate the incredible Sankey Family Photography Collection. In 2018 we secured National Lottery  Heritage Funding for ‘Seeing the North with Sankey’. The two year project aims to explore and share the priceless photographic work of the Sankey Family in collaboration with local communities in Barrow-in-Furness and wider Cumbria. 

THE SANKEYS were a father and son duo who documented life in Barrow and Cumbria over 70 years. Starting in 1900, they captured the landscape, cultural changes, individuals, industry and tourism (plus much more). The postcards they created from their photography were posted all over the world and tell fascinating stories of the 20th century. 

Since 2019, we have successfully re-housed, re-packaged and digitised the full collection in collaboration with the Sankey Family and Cumbria Archives. We are now working with local people to bring the collection to life through research and creative workshops.

Scroll down to gain an insight into some of the groups involved with the project, links to exhibitions, the overall project aims and how to get involved (even through lockdown!). 

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



We have lots of opportunities for you to get involved with the project from home. Please see our different groups and workshops on offer below. 

If you want to speak directly to someone about taking part please send Julia an email at 



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...