Mary Evans Picture Library collection of the week: Thomas Cook

Brochure front cover advertising Thomas Cook's travel service.     Date: 1954 - 1955

With most of us in the midst of summer holidays, it seems apt to focus our attention this week on the archive of Thomas Cook, a historic name synonymous with travel and tourism. Thomas Cook possesses a unique collection of archive material covering all aspects of the company’s history, which dates back to the founder’s very first excursion on 5 July 1841 (a modest rail excursion at a shilling a head taking temperance supporters from Leicester to Loughborough).

The bulk of their archive is comprised of brochure and travel programmes through the decades, accurately reflecting changing tastes in holidays and destinations. From genteel tours of the ‘Emerald Isle’ to exotic cruises down the Nile, WWI battlefield tours, the advent of mass civilian air travel and the family-friendly Prestatyn holiday camp of the 1950s, Thomas Cook’s image collection offers a graphic take on the popular theme of vintage travel.

Browse here to see a selection from this globe-trotting collection.

© Thomas Cook Archive / Mary Evans