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07 March 2024

Lilian Ream: Faces and Places

Lilian Ream: Faces and Places

A major exhibition of work by Wisbech photographer Lilian Ream (1877-1961).


For its big early summer show, the Museum is hosting an exhibition by the Lilian Ream Trust celebrating the important legacy of a pioneering local businesswoman - in her own photographs.

The exhibition will run from April 20 to July 13, and include images portraits and scenes of life in the towns and countryside of the Fens from the Lilian Ream Collection.



Robert Bell, Chair of the Lilian Ream Trust, said “We are extremely grateful to the Fenland Culture Fund for providing funding to enable to us to mount this exhibition here at the Museum. We will highlight the career of a businesswoman who came to dominate professional photography in Wisbech for nearly half a century.



As part of the exhibition there are two Saturday events – on May 18 and June 15 – when members of the public can meet Trustees of the Lilian Ream Trust to share ideas about the future of the collection, find out about opportunities for volunteering, and trustee vacancies. So come along and admire Lilian’s photographs and, perhaps, help to preserve this priceless collection.”


A local farmer's daughter, at 17 Lilian started work as an assistant at Alfred Drysdale’s photographic studio in Lynn Road and after working for several other local photographers she set up her own studio in The Crescent, having a dark room built in the garden.



Her portraits brought her great success with local people, but her range was wide and she also took pictures of outdoor life around the Fens, later becoming official photographer to the Wisbech Standard.

She took on and trained more staff, many of them women, before she retired and moved to Eastbourne in 1949.

Many of the original studio negatives were lost in a fire but fortunately around 200,000 survived and saved by Cambridgeshire County Council. Roughly 80% of the collection are portraits.



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