The little things of life: Britain as seen by John Topham


A bullock and cart  holding up traffic in Sidcup , Kent .  1938

TopFoto gained the Top in its name from photographer John Topham. In 1973 the managing partner of TopFoto, Alan Smith, bought the life work of 122,000 negatives from Mr. Topham, his near neighbour. Building on the Topham collection with subsequent acquisitions TopFoto now has an estimated hardcopy archive of 10 million pictures.

John Topham worked continually from 1931 to 1973, photographing the ‘little things of life – the way it really was’. His awareness of the great environmental change that was occurring and his passion for rural life placed him in an ideal place to capture a changing Britain using his mastery in the art of photography.

As a key collection for TopFoto and within the 60,000 images that is supplying to Europeana Photography we invite you to glace at some of the gems that have been rediscovered which reflect the scenes and national characters of a changing Britain, taken by John Topham between 1931-1939.

We are thankful for the support of the European Union Commission that assisted our digitisation for EuropeanaPhotography 1839-1939.