Locomotive Publishing Company

The Locomotive Publishing Company was established in 1900, and was probably the first organisation to make railway photographs commercially available. The LPC had sprung from the 'F Moore' trading company founded by two railway enthusiasts apprenticed to the Great Eastern Railway, A and A R Morton Bell. In 1896, joined by a third brother, W J Bell, they had commenced publication of the first popular railway periodical, Moore's Monthly Magazine, which soon changed its name to the 'Locomotive'. It drew on an archive of railway images the brothers had acquired from the steadily growing band of railway photographers, and the LPC successfully marketed these 'F Moore' photographs to a new phenomenon, groups of railway collectors and enthusiasts. The business expanded during the first decades of the twentieth century, with increasing numbers of photographers supplying negatives to the LPC or placing them on loan for copying. The LPC also used some official photographs and commissioned work, including images taken by W J Bell.

LPC initially issued its photographs as 10 x 8 and 8½ x 6½ ins prints or as 'cartes de visites' but in the early years of the twentieth century the company became involved in the new postcard-collecting hobby and sold large quantities of these cards. They included 'painted photographs' and copies of paintings by John Rudd, who signed himself 'F Moore', and both printed and genuine versions of photographs.

Having survived bombing during the Second World War at its home in Amen Corner, London and a subsequent move to Horseferry Road, the company was sold in 1951 to the publisher Ian Allan. In 1992 the archive, together with its associated rights, was acquired by the National Railway Museum, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund.