The Photo Centre collection

Photo Centre windowThe Photo Centre operated in Berwick between 1951 and 2012, under the management of David and Ian Smith. On leaving his post at the Berwick Journal, David Smith started his own press agency in Hide Hill, before moving to 17 Bridge in 1953. Over their 60 years in business, David and later his son Ian and their staff photographers, created an archive of well over three million images documenting every aspect of life in Berwick, North Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.


In September 2012 the Photo Centre closed its doors for the last time. To ensure that this unique collection stayed in the town, the glass plate and film negatives were purchased by Berwick Record Office with the help of the Friends of Berwick and District Museum and Archives.  Since then further grants have been obtained to allow work to proceed on conserving and organising the collection.  An index of the contents has been produced and this can be consulted online on this site. The index is in two parts: a General Index with brief subject keywords, and a Portraits and Passports Index which lists the names of people featured.


Digital or printed copies of any of the images can be purchased from the Berwick Record Office. For more information, contact the Record Office.


Two exhibitions featuring items from the collection have been held at the Granary Gallery in Berwick.


The archive of Smith, Berwick: from photo news service to Photo Centre was held in spring 2018.

Portrait of a town took place in spring 2021, and there is a website associated with this showing some of the materials produced for it.


A monthly blog about features of the collection is produced and is available on the Photo Centre collection website.


Three books have also been produced using photographs from the collection.


The Fifties in Focus (2016)

Snapshots of the Sixties (2017)

Snapshots of the 1970s  (2023)


The latter two are available for sale from the Record Office and from Grieve’s (Church Street, Berwick). The Fifties in Focus is now out of print.