The Hansen Collection of shipping photographs

Mark Etheridge

One of the greatest treasures in Amgueddfa Cymru's rich industrial photography archive is the Hansen Collection. The collection comprises 4,569 negatives (some two-thirds of which are glass) of ships at Cardiff, taken by members of the Hansen family between 1920 and 1975. They provide a marvellous photographic record of shipping activity at the port during those years.

For those who lived along the shores of the Bristol Channel, no summer was complete without a trip on one of P.& A. Campbell's 'White Funnel' pleasure steamers. Here is the newly-built Bristol Queen leaving Cardiff in the summer of 1947. (1179/1279)

Where Cardiff once exported coal, oil and petroleum products were being imported by the late 1940s. The 'BP' tanker British Success, built on the Clyde in 1946, was photographed by Hansen berthing in Cardiff's Roath Dock on 2 August, 1947. (1633/1720)

Ships of the major British cargo liner companies became a common sight in Cardiff in the years after the 2nd World War. Here is the City of Pretoria, built at Birkenhead in 1947 and owned by Ellerman Bucknall Line, arriving in Cardiff in 1964, with Penarth Head just visible in the background. (3633/180C)

Ships owned by Cardiff's shipping companies naturally figure prominently in the Hansen Collection. The tramp steamer Peterston, built at Sunderland in 1925 for Evan Thomas, Radcliffe & Co., is seen here arriving at Cardiff in 1947. (1181/1281)

The Collection was purchased in 1979 and since then numerous images from the collection have appeared in books published by Amgueddfa Cymru and the World Ship Society.

In 1993 an album of selected photographs was published jointly by Amgueddfa Cymru and the University of Wales Press, with financial support from the Baltic Exchange. Shipping at Cardiff: Photographs from the Hansen Collection, 1920-75 (ISBN 0-7083-1231-4) proved popular, renewing interest in and provoking many enquiries regarding the scope and contents of the entire collection.

A Danish seaman with an interest in photography, Lars Peter Hansen settled in Cardiff in 1891 and established a photographic business whose mainstay was recording shipping in the booming docks. He was succeeded in the business in 1936 by his third son Leslie, who continued to photograph ships until his retirement in 1975.

It is most unfortunate that no negatives appear to have survived from the pre-1920 period, although there are a few prints of vessels lost in the First World War in the Museum's collection that bear the Hansen imprint.

In 1979, Leslie Hansen's son, also named Leslie, decided to sell the remaining negatives and the entire collection was purchased by the Welsh Industrial & Maritime Museum.

The Museum's now-retired Conservation Officer, Mr Don Taylor, then undertook the formidable tasks of renumbering all the negatives, placing them in new negative bags and subsequently compiling a catalogue. Mr Taylor's wide knowledge of shipping and his characteristic thoroughness resulted in the publication in 1996 of The Hansen Shipping Photographic Collection (ISBN 0-7200-0437-3).

Readers wishing to order prints from this collection should contact:
Image Licensing Officer
NMGW Enterprises Limited
Cathays Park
CF10 3NP
Tel. (029) 2057 3280 or email

Please quote the ship's name and the catalogue number. Prices for various types of photographic reproductions are available on application to the above address.

Click on the link below to open the catalogue to the Hansen Shipping Photographic Collection:

Comments (5)

Comments are currently unavailable. We apologise for the inconvenience.
Adrian Wheeler
14 July 2021, 22:19
How do I get the view the collection online please?
Leann Rush
26 December 2019, 21:19
Hi.There. I have just had a look @ your outstanding photographers of the old ships.
They are exactly will taking.
I can not believe just hello ? they have ceased after all of these years.
It must have bring extra intresting times going on that ship.
Thank you so much from Leann Ruth M ( South Africa)
Sara Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales Staff
3 April 2018, 15:38

Hi there Paul

Thank you for your patience with this - I missed the curator's response and apologise for the delay.

Since you wrote, we have launched Collections Online, which offers a searchable database of images. The curator suggests using this new resource to search ship and company names - unfortunately, we do not have a lot of information about the specific company you mention. However a general search for e.g. Bute Street brings up a variety of images which will hopefully be relevant to you.

Best wishes and thanks again for your patience,

Digital Team

12 March 2018, 09:49
Hi Paul

Thanks for your enquiry. I've passed it on to the author of this article, and he will get back to you soon.

Best wishes,

Digital Team
10 March 2018, 12:00
Good Afternoon

I'm in the process of refurbishing a property that were the headquarters of the WH seager and tempus shipping company on Bute Street Cardiff.

There may be some interesting photos as the company not only held a fleet of steamers it also ran a ship chandeliers and various general ship supplies store from the address.

I would really like to get hold of any images you may have to use in the decor of the building are you able to help ?

Kind Regards


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