Leeds & West Yorkshire

National Media Museum moves photography archive to V&A

National Media Museum, Bradford Image copyright Andrew Diack
Image caption The Science Museum Group said the move will help create the 'world's foremost single collection'

A 400,000-strong photography archive is to be moved from Bradford's National Media Museum to London.

The Science Museum Group announced it would transfer the collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

It said the move will help create "the world's foremost single collection" on the art of photography and help the media museum focus on science and technology.

Bradford South MP Judith Cummins said she was "shocked" and "dismayed".

The transfer includes the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) archive, which features key historical objects from the medium's development.

Fewer than 10 items from the RPS collection are currently on permanent display in Bradford but the majority can be viewed by appointment.

'Tangible and exciting'

The archive will join the V&A's existing collection of 500,000 photographs to create an International Photography Resource Centre.

Bradford will retain the Kodak collection, the Daily Herald Archive and the Impressions Gallery.

Jo Quinton-Tulloch, director of the media museum, said it would focus on inspiring future generations of scientists and engineers in the fields of light and sound.

She added: "We retain millions of objects in our photography, cinematography and television collections which will help us make these scientific principles tangible and exciting."

'Cuts by stealth'

The media museum currently holds more than 3.5 million items, including the world's earliest known surviving photographic negative, the earliest television footage and the camera that filmed the first moving pictures in Britain.

It was under threat of closure in 2013 and visitor numbers have fallen from a peak of nearly a million in 2001.

Ms Cummins said: "We need to make sure this isn't cuts or closure by stealth.

"I want to see the museum stay in the city, it's a national museum and it needs to stay where it belongs - in Bradford."

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