Twiggy at Bertram Mills Circus, Olympia, London, 1967.
© PA Photos
PA on track with ‘Best of British’ photography
Press Association opens up its archive of British life at St Pancras International.

A new photographic exhibition in a unique setting will offer people a chance to view rarely seen images that celebrate all that puts the ‘Great’ in Great Britain.


The ‘Best of British’ exhibition, at St Pancras International, presents over a century of photography selected from the Press Association’s archives, with many of the images not seen since their first publication decades ago.

Some 40 photographs have been selected from the Press Association’s archives of more than seven million images. The exhibition, showing Britain across three centuries, marks the 140th anniversary of both the Press Association and St Pancras station this year.

We want visitors to the station to enjoy fabulous images of historical and current events in Britain that they may have seen in their lives


The exhibition, which runs until 26 September, showcases key moments and heroes from British history but often from different or quirky angles.  Many will draw a smile, or tell a story, they may even include familiar faces or places - but most have rarely been seen in public before now.

The photographs will be displayed throughout the station, offering visitors and travellers a fascinating glimpse at some of the defining moments of British history.  Whether catching a train, doing a spot of shopping or meeting friends, the exhibition will be accessible and free for all.

“Working with the team at St Pancras International, we shortlisted an interesting selection of images dating back to 1897.  The oldest image on display is a portrait of Queen Victoria at her Diamond Jubilee; the most recent is a photo of her great great great great grandson, Prince Harry!  We want visitors to the station to enjoy fabulous images of historical and current events in Britain that they may have seen in their lives,” said Martin Stephens, assistant managing director of PA Photos.

The photographs were taken by some of the agency’s renowned photographers such as John Stillwell, who was the only photographer to accompany Prince Harry on his tour of duty in Afghanistan in March of this year.  Other images include iconic figures such as Winston Churchill, Bobby Moore, Twiggy and the Beatles. There are also photographs of the station taken over the years.

Dominique Didinal, marketing manager of St Pancras International, said “Both St Pancras International and the Press Association are part of the history of Britain. Over the years the Press Association has captured moments of pride, sadness, victory - the very fabric of Britain – and St Pancras International is itself a magnificent symbol of great pride, achievement and a feat of Great British engineering.  With our shared anniversary this year, the partnership is a fantastic fit to showcase something truly British.”

A series of ten books called ‘20th Century Britain in Pictures’ and published by Ammonite Press accompanies the exhibition. 


As part of the Press Association’s anniversary celebrations, each book features over 300 photos to chronicle a decade of British life as seen through its archive.  The series will be available in all major bookshops in the autumn and can be pre-ordered from Foyles in St Pancras International.


Enter our caption competition to WIN a complete series of the books!