Click or tap on a collection name as listed on the left, to see the images in that collection.  Click or tap on a thumbnail image to view the image entry page.  Click or tap on an image to enlarge it.

HPC image referencing schema

Each collection has been allocated a two letter reference, e.g. XX.

Original photograph albums in a collection are referenced XX01, XX02, XX03, etc.

Every image in a photograph album is given a unique reference number (or HPC identifier), e.g. XX01-001. Generally, the digital copies of photographs are numbered in the same order as they appear in the original photograph album.

The digital copies of photographs, which are not affixed in a photograph album, are labelled with the letter ‘s’, as part of the HPC image reference (or identifier).

Negatives are labelled with the letter ‘n’.

Transparencies (slides) are labelled with the letter ‘t’.

Magic lantern slides are labelled with the letter ‘m’.

So, these images with their collection references, would start with: XX-s01, XX-n01, XX-t01, XX-m01.

Search tips

All the images from every collection in the HPC online archive can be searched for using the Search box at the top right of every page.

Enter a keyword (e.g. pagoda) in the Search box and, if desired, then use Advanced search for more targetted searches.

If you are entering a phrase, you must put the phrase in inverted commas: “…”. For example “Great Wall”.

Individual images for which you know the HPC image reference number or identifier (e.g. Ba05-072), can be searched for by entering that image reference number in the Search box.

Work by a particular photographer can be searched for via the Photographers tab in the top bar.  Click or tap on the lead image to see biographical details and images by that photographer.

Featured Collections, such as those collections grouped together into the ‘Chinese Maritime Customs collections’, can be accessed by the tab in the top bar.

All the images in a photograph album can be viewed in sequence, by searching for the album reference number. For example, entering Ar01 in the Search box will return all the images in the first Armstrong album.

To search for a whole set of images referenced -s, -n, -t, or -m, in a specific collection (e.g. JS-s, Fu-n, RB-t, JC-m), please use the Advanced Search.  For example, to see all the negatives in the Billie Love Historical Collection, enter BL-n in the main search box.  Then enter BL-n in the Identifier (HPC reference) box in Advanced search (and delete BL-n in the top two search boxes!) and click/tap on Search.

Terminology used on image entry pages


A brief description of the image.


This field may include information about people, places, content, or events in the photograph. This is based on information from donors of materials to the project, our research, and/or the contributions of other researchers. Relevant, evidence-based explanation and comment may also be included.


A transcription of any captioning written, or otherwise recorded, in the original photograph album (or on a card/paper mount), beside or relating to the photograph.  This verbatim record includes any errors, spelling mistakes, etc.


A verbatim transcription of any captioning written or recorded on the back or front of the original photographic print, including any errors, spelling mistakes, etc.


Click or tap on a ‘Related Photographs’ thumbnail image to go to the image entry details of an image to which it is in some way related. Photographs may be related if, for example, they were taken at the same event, but appear in different albums, or different collections (e.g. Pe01-065 and Su01-64).


Click or tap on a tag/keyword to see other images tagged with that keyword, for example: ModernismBridgeWW1Peking.