motoring picture library

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About us

Welcome to the Motoring Picture Library at Beaulieu

Thank you for viewing our website, we greatly appreciate your custom.

Our website contains many thousands of images for you to view and use and has many thousands more scheduled for uploading. But we have nearly one million motoring images not yet digitised, so if you can't find what you are looking for give us a call and we will be pleased to help you!

MPL is one of the largest motoring picture collections in the world, with close to 100,000 colour transparencies and nearly one million black and white photographs filed and catalogued with thousands of digital originals. Its subject matter includes cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles; the motor industry, motor sport, the social history of motoring, and a huge range of motoring and motor sport personalities. It also includes spectacular motoring art in the form of sales brochures, posters and paintings.

The Motoring Picture Library based at Beaulieu is a living library, constantly expanding and very much in touch with current motoring news and products - with staff photographers covering motor shows, motor sports events and a wide range of new vehicles, both on location and in the Department's own drive-in professional digital studio. So even if the subject you require isn't in stock, more often than not we can shoot it for you.

The aim of MPL is to offer a fast, efficient and competitive service to every user, whether they be a major publisher or advertising agency, a public service, a broadcaster, or perhaps a car club or even an individual. In every case we are here to make sure you have the best chance of finding what you're looking for.

Picture researchers are welcome to visit in person, by prior appointment only.

Reference Library

From the earliest days of the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, providing research and information services to both professional and amateur enthusiasts has been a key part of the Museum's life. In 1960 the ever growing archive became the original Reference Library, in 1972, with the opening of the new Museum complex, it moved into purpose built accommodation as the BP Library of Motoring; then in 1989 it gained even more space, in the new Colledctions Centre.The Library has continued to grow into what many believe is now one of the world's finest motoring and transport reference sources, used by people all over the world on a daily basis.

Film & Video Collection

Film is a transient medium and already much historic motoring film has been lost forever. Recognising the threat to surviving material, the National Motor Museum established the Film Library in 1979. Its initial aim was the collection and conservation of motion picture film on all aspects of motoring. There are now many thousands of films in the archive, many of which have been preserved for future generations by transferring the images onto stable modern film stock. Collection of film continues and the video holdings are increasing rapidly.

The Collection has now installed its own broadcast standard telecine facility for transferring film to video in-house. Customer work is welcomed and clients for this service include the BBC, Ford Motor Company, The Automobile Association and the Metropolitan Police. The machinery is particularly adapted to handle the vagaries of old film and is able to restore colour where time has faded it out. The Film and Video Department also has a High Definition Spirit telecine giving the ability to transfer film to full HD.

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Drive-in Photographic Studio Hire

MPL has its own fully equipped drive-in studio situated in the grounds of the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. The studio is available for hire for photographic shoots.