This is an often missed but very interesting National Trust property in Liverpool – the home and studio of photographers Edward Chambre Hardman and Margaret Hardman, his wife. As you walk down Rodney Street to the Anglican Cathedral, take note of the National Trust sandwich board on the east side of the street. It is the front door of the Hardmans’ House, and stepping inside is like taking a trip back to 1950. As it is a Georgian terraced house, the tours of the home are restricted to six people at a time and you must phone or e-mail to book a time. The tours usually take 90 minutes, though ours took closer to 2 hours. The office is at the back of the house and accessed via Pilgrim Street. You will need to pick up your tickets (£6.50 for adults) here although you enter the property by the front door on Rodney Street. Most of the other houses on the street are doctors or dentists and the street is considered to be the “Harley Street of the North.” I visited the property with an aunt and uncle and my uncle was amazed that he had been to a dentist’s office on this street for years and parked in front of this building and never noticed it was a NT property!
The tour starts in one of the rooms on the main floor with a movie about the Hardmans. Then you progress from one room to another and learn about their photography business; how they took their photographs, how they produced the photographs, and how they lived in the rooms on the upper floor. Many of the guides are members of the local photography club so are very knowledgeable about the equipment and processes on display. The house has been left as they left it. Apparently the Hardmans were hoarders. They did not throw anything away while they lived and worked here so the NT have all of their belongings and have tried to leave the house as they lived in it. Even the kitchen cupboards still have their staples in them. We saw interesting portrait and landscape photographs and an exhibit about Hardmans’ time as a Gurkha in India.
There are a lot of stairs as the house and studio covers four floors and there is no lift. As you leave you go through the back garden to the office on Pilgrim Street.
“The Hardmans’ House”:http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardmans-house/