Middle East Centre Archive

Photographic Resources

Cover of Blyth Album 3

Photographic Collection Scope
The Middle East Centre Archive holds a substantial photographic collection of over 100,000 images covering all areas of the Middle East from the 1850s. The bulk of the collection consists of early to mid 20th Century photographs with a smaller number of 19th Century photographs including Bonfils and American Colony. Major Collections include the photographs of Freya Stark and St John Philby.

Access to the Collection
The Middle East Centre Archive is committed to improving access to its photographic collections and has therefore started to develop online photo galleries. For copyright reasons only images that can be published can be put online. As digitisation work on suitable collections progresses more images will put online. To view images that are currently online please visit our Photo Galleries Homepage

Please note that for conservation reasons photographs are only available for viewing via microfiche or contact sheets in the Archive reading room, except by special arrangement with the Archivist. Please see the online Historical Photographs of the Middle East Microfiche Catalogue (pdf file) for details as to what material is available for viewing on microfiche. The Freya Stark Collection is also available to view on microfiche. Please see the Freya Stark Microfiche Catalogue

Research Service
By arrangement with the Archivist, a limited research service for images is available. The first half hour of an enquiry will be provided free of charge thereafter the charge is £20.00 per hour (excluding VAT). Watermarked images can be provided for remote browsing. Once an image has been selected for purchase the cost of each image is as advertised in our Prices for Copies of Photographs

Copyright and Permission to Publish
The ability of the Middle East Centre Archive to provide copies of photographs, even for private study, is limited by UK Copyright Law. The exemption that permits Archives to copy papers for private study and non-commercial research does not apply to artistic works (photographs). Consequently only a limited part of the photographic collection can be copied or published.

Collections for which the Archive can provide copies for publication include:


Edward Ashley Oman
Edward Ashley Collection Catalogue (pdf)
Nina Baird Egypt images available to view online
Gertrude Bell Arabia, Mesopotamia/Iraq Some Mesopotamia/Iraq images available to view online
Estelle Blyth Palestine 1st World War Some photographs by Khalil Raad available to view online
Jill Brown Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Gaza, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the UAE and the West Bank.
A selection of Qatar slides: available to view online
Humphrey Bowman Arabia Album 1: available to view online
Charles Butt Gulf States, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Sudan, Turkey
Jordan: some images available to view online
Oman: Selection of 300 images in 12 themed galleries available to view online
Saudi Arabia: available to view online
Qatar: available to view online
Sidney Carter Palestine Police 1930s-1940s
Dr Norman Corkill 426 colour 35mm slides of Aden, the Protectorate and the Hadhramaut, 1950s
Selection available to view online
W.A. Cross Postcards of Egypt and Somalia, c1899-1908
Selection available to view online
H.R.P. Dickson Bahrain, Kuwait
Dame Violet Dickson Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sharjah, Yemen
Album 8 Desert Camps. Nasser at Nariyeh 1968: available to view online
Henry James Ellison Persia 1945-1948, Syria 1933
Ellison Album 1 Persia 1945-1948 available to view online
George Edwards 3 photograph albums from George Edward's Army service in the Royal Engineers covering Egypt, Libya, Syria and Palestine 1940-1944
Selection of images available to view online.
Christopher Gandy Yemen, Iran, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt
Selection of images available to view online
General John Graham Oman
John Bagot Glubb Images of Iraq and Transjordan 1920s-1950s
Iraq Album 1 available to view online
Sir Rupert Hay Afghanistan, Iraq, India, Britain 1910-1934
Charles Iffla Turkey 1943-1944
Jerusalem and East Mission Magic Lantern Slides Images of the Holy Land mainly consisting of portraits of people from various places including Nazareth, Bethlehem, Mount Carmel and Jerusalem. Late 19th/early 20th century.
Magic lantern slides Box 8 available to view online
Jerusalem and East Mission Album 1 Images of the Holy Land (Palestine/Jordan), Lebanon and Syria, 1860s-1882
Selection from Album 1 available to view online
Jerusalem Photograph Album Images of the Holy Land mainly of Jerusalem but also including Joseph's Tomb, Jacob's well and Gideon's fountain, as well as images relating to education such as group photographs of school children, 1891-1901, 1922.
James Kirkcaldy British Mandate Palestine Police
Helen Lotbinière Aden
Bini Malcolm Yemen, Iran
Norman Mayers Album 1 Arabia (Jedda) c1926: available to view online
Reginald Monckton Palestine and Transjordan 1920s: available to view online
Oriental Carpet Manufacturers Collection Photographs by Bryan Huffner from a tour of Iran in 1948-1949
Stewart Perowne Aden, Palestine, Syria, Iraq
St John Philby Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Mesopotamia, Palestine, Syria, Transjordan
Charles Pirie 41 colour slides of a tour through Oman in 1966: available to view online
John Poole Palestine 1938-1943, Hadramaut 1952, Qatar 1954, Iran 1956
Sir George Rendel Saudi Arabia: some images available to view online
Sir Andrew Ryan Turkey c1900-1910. Saudi Arabia 1930-1935
Sir Andrew Ryan Photographs Catalogue (pdf)
Alan Saunders Saunders Album 5: Palestine, 1st World War, available to view online
Carpenter Scholes Persia 1890s: available to view online
Arthur Lionel Smith Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Transjordan c1910-1931
Album 6: Iraq 1920s available to view online
John Allan Smith Souvenir photographs of the Hajj prior to 1914 mainly consisting of images of pilgrim sites in Mecca subjects include pilgrims, a view of Medina, the Moallah cemetery, the parading of the carpet and a group photograph of Arab medical officials.
Images available to view online
Freya Stark Aden, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Libya, Persia, South Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey
Freya Stark Photographic Collection Catalogue (pdf)

Egypt Photograph Album selection available to view online

Persia Photograph Album available to view online

Small selection of South Arabia images available to view online

Sir Joseph Tholozan Persia, 1859-1884
Albums 1-11 and loose prints available to view online
Harry Wade Iraq, 1928-1930: selection of 60 images available to view online
H.V. Weakley Pilgrimage Mecca c1912: available to view online


There are also some smaller collections and some 19th Century published photographs such as American Colony and Bonfils that we can provide copies of for publication.

Please note that the provision of an image does not imply permission to publish. Permission to publish must be obtained in writing from the Director of the Middle East Centre, and the appropriate reproduction fees must be paid.

When applying for permission to publish please fill out our Application form for Permission to Publish Images (word document).

Prices for Copies of Photographs

In House Service

The MEC Archive is now able to offer a limited in house photographic service. Loose prints will be copied using an A4 flatbed scanner. For photographs that are stuck into albums, which cannot be copied using a flatbed scanner, an image will be taken using a copystand and digital camera. Images taken using a digital camera in house may not be as high in quality as those provided by our external professional photographer.


  Flatbed scanner Digital Camera
Emailed Electronic JPEG Image: £6.00 £15.00
Print from Scan: 4" x 6" (10 x 15 cm) £7.80 £16.80
Print from Scan: 5" x 7" (13 x 18 cm) £9.00 £18.00
Print from Scan: A4 Size £11.40 £20.40


Please note that the above prices include VAT

External Service

Unlike the in house service, photograph orders using the external service go to an external professional photographer. Please allow 28 days for the completion of external service orders of prints. The following prices are for the provision of one black and white photographic print from an existing negative. Please note that if no negative is available and a new negative has to be made in order to reproduce the print, an additional charge of £10 per item will be made. The Middle East Centre Archive retains all new negatives.


Print size  
5" x 7" £13.80
8" x 10" £15.60
9½ x 12" £30.00
12" x 16" £45.00


Please note that the above prices include VAT

Publication Fees The provision of a copy of an image does not carry with it the right to make additional copies or publish such images. Permission to publish must be obtained in writing from the Director of the Middle East Centre. When applying for permission to publish please fill our our Application form for Permission to Publish Images (word document).

Book Illustration


  Non Exclusive World Rights Non Exclusive World Rights including use in leaflets and poster publicity advertising book
Thumbnail image £12.00 Not applicable
Quarter page £24.00 £ 60.00
Half page £30.00 £ 90.00
Whole page £45.00 £135.00


Front Cover/Wrap - around : Double these rates

Please note that the above prices include VAT



  Non Exclusive World Rights
Television/Satellite £60.00
Open University:    
(8 broadcasts) £20.40
(12 broadcasts) £27.60


Please note that the above prices include VAT

School Text Books Material used for school text books will be charged at half the standard rate.

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