Beaulieu makes a million historic motoring images available to the public with new website

National Motor Museum opens digital doors to world-leading picture library

Friday, 24th January 2020, 9:27 am

The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu has made more than one million historic motoring images available online as part of its efforts to update its web presence.

The museum’s Motoring Picture Library is one of the largest motoring picture collections in the world and contains images from the 1880s up to the present day, covering almost every aspect of motoring culture.

A new website has been created to make it easier for members of the public, publishers, broadcasters and other businesses to access the huge resource and buy or licence copies of the images.

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Visitors to the new MPL website can browse through more than 120,000 colour images and more than one million black and white pictures covering everything from motorsport and supercars to commercial vehicles and the social history of motoring, plus promotional materials such as posters and brochures.

Among the highlights are the Bill Brunell collection which depicts motorsport and social history from the 1920s and ’30s, and the specialist Formula 1 photography of the ’50s and ’60s by Maxwell Boyd.

Picture Library manager Jon Day: “The aim of MPL is to offer a fast, efficient and competitive service to every user, whether they be a major publisher or advertising agency, a public service, broadcaster, car club or motoring enthusiast. In every case, we are here to make sure you have the best chance of finding what you are looking for.”

Since it was established over 50 years ago by Edward, Lord Montagu, the library has grown to become one of the most comprehensive sources of motoring photographs, supplying pictures globally to enthusiasts as well as for commercial ventures, publishing, broadcast and advertising industries.

It still has more than one million motoring images to be digitised, with calls to source specific images welcomed.

For picture researchers, it is possible to make an appointment to visit the library in person and alongside the still image collection, the museum has a film library. Established in 1979 to collect and conserve film on all aspects of motoring, it features more than 40,000 clips from private collections including those of Ford, Vauxhall, the Rootes Group, Metropolitan Police, the AA and Dunlop.