London is getting a giant new photography gallery – and it'll be FREE

woman in a pink bathtub
(Image credit: © Juno Calypso Courtesy Centre for British Photography, London)

A brand new gallery celebrating the work of British photographers is set to open at the end of January in central London. The Centre for British Photography will be located on Jermyn Street in Mayfair, and split across three stories, with 8000 sq ft of gallery space. Continuing the long tradition of London galleries and museums, it will be free to the public year-round.

The Centre for British Photography (opens in new tab) will continue the work of the renowned art dealer James Hyman and the Hyman Foundation. The Hyman Foundation charity was established in 2020 to promote and support photography from all across Britain through funding research and scholarships, exhibiting a diverse range of artists, and preserving photography archives for future generations.

• These are the best camera for portraits (opens in new tab)

The gallery will showcase work from 1900 through to the present day, with a focus on works created by artists living and working in the UK. The gallery will feature different exhibits celebrating the diverse cultural viewpoints the UK has to offer, both from those born in Britain and those artists who have moved to make the UK their home.

There will be two group opening exhibitions. The first exhibition, entitled Headstrong, is a collection co-curated by the campaign group Fast Forward: Women in Photography, and is a collection of self-portraits by female artists exploring a range of contemporary issues. 

The second exhibit – The English at Home, gathers over 150 photographs that provide an overview of British domestic home life throughout the twentieth century. Artists involved include Bill Brandt, Kurt Hutton, Bert Hardy, Martin Parr, Daniel Meadows, Karen Knorr, Anna Fox, and Richard Billingham.

elderly woman sitting on sofa in her living room

Daniel Meadows And Martin Parr. June Street, Salford, 1973. Gelatin Silver Print. 61 x 61 cms 24 1/16 x 24 1/16 ins. (10702) (Image credit: © Daniel Meadows And Martin Parr Courtesy Centre for British Photography, London)

There will also be four 'In Focus' exhibits spotlighting one individual artist. Wish You Were Here by Heather Agyepong features early twentieth-century postcard imagery reflecting the dance craze in Europe – The Cakewalk. Natasha Caruana's work Fairytale for Sale, explores the diverse wedding customs in the UK. Fairytales and Photography explores the way that fairytales have influenced Jo Spence's images. Finally, Spitting by Andrew Bruce and Anna Fox presents images from the original run of the hit TV show Spitting Image.

• These are the best movies about real photographers

Not only featuring exhibits, but The Centre for British Photography will also host events and talks on photography from leading British artists. The gallery will also contain an archive, a library, and a shop, with all profits going back into the charity foundation.

There is no denying that the UK has always been one of the best destinations for culture and art, and this is another very welcome addition to London's already burgeoning photography gallery scene, joining the V&A Photography Centre (opens in new tab) and The Photographers' Gallery (opens in new tab), as well as special photography exhibitions such as Queer Britain (opens in new tab).

two boys playing the the street in old black and white photo

Bert Hardy. Children of the Gorbals (Gorbal Boys), 1948. Vintage Gelatin Silver Print. 26 x 36.3 cms 10 3/16 x 14 4/16 ins. (10262) (Image credit: © Bert Hardy Estate Courtesy Centre for British Photography, London)

You can create some vintage photography style yourself with our guides to the best film cameras (opens in new tab), the best retro cameras (opens in new tab), and the best instant cameras (opens in new tab). And to print and display your work, check out the best canvas print services (opens in new tab).

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Gareth Bevan
Reviews Editor

Gareth is a photographer based in London, working as a freelance photographer and videographer for the past several years, having the privilege to shoot for some household names. With work focusing on fashion, portrait and lifestyle content creation, he has developed a range of skills covering everything from editorial shoots to social media videos. Outside of work, he has a personal passion for travel and nature photography, with a devotion to sustainability and environmental causes.