Lilian Ream Collection


Lilian Ream

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The negatives which form the collection were all either taken by Lilian Ream herself or by members of her staff. The Lilian Ream Studio recorded local people, places, and events.

It was very much a commercial operation and the variety of scenes reflect the variety of customers which ranged from both local newspapers, to shops, factories, sports teams and individuals who wanted to record their family, home or some major happening in their lives.

Portraits were the bread and butter of the business and form about seventy percent of the collection. They illustrate not only changing fashions in clothes but also the way people saw themselves, their families and their place in the world.

No one knows just how many negatives existed when the firm closed down as all the records have disappeared but many were lot before the surviving negatives, numbering between 150-200,000, were acquired by Cambridgeshire Libraries in 1981.

The negatives were sorted with the aid of a MSC project sponsored by Fenland District Council and later a number of local exhibitions were held thanks to sponsorship by local businesses.

Unfortunately many of the negatives are in very poor condition and are deteriorating all the time. Cambridgeshire County Council were unable to provide the funds needed to save the collection and, in 1993, handed them over to a newly formed haritable trust in the hope that it would be better able to raise the finance required. The trust has continued to make more of the collection available to the public but progress on conservatiion is extremely slow.


Lilian Ream Exhibition Gallery Trust - Registered Charity No. : 1024465