The Newton collection is an important and vast swathe of documentary photography by Sydney Walter Alfred Newton, a commercial photographer who was based in Leicester in the late 19th and early 20th century. His photography is particularly notable as a record of early rail engineering and construction.
The young Newton recorded the London Extension of the Great Central Railway - "the last main line" - between Nottingham and London, travelling the route with his camera.
Significantly, in addition to photographing the railway and its associated features, Newton also recorded the navvy community and the rural life in the villages along the course of the line. The collection provides a unique picture of life in Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire around the turn of the 20th century.