Bradford's city centre Impressions Gallery is depositing its archive with the National Media Museum.

The items will become part of the National Photography Collection, where it will be titled ‘Impressions Gallery Archive’. It is believed to be the first time a publicly-funded photography gallery will have its archive cared for and made accessible by a national institution.

The Impressions Gallery, one of the oldest venues for contemporary photography in Europe, has accumulated a remarkable collection of archival materials and photographic work since its inception in 1972.

The aim of the partnership with the Media Museum is to make this period of British photographic exhibiting history available to curators, scholars, photographers and the wider public.

The National Media Museum is already home to 3.5 million items of historical significance, including one of the most comprehensive photographic collections in the world.

Impressions Gallery is known for its directional role in the photography world, recognising and supporting photographers in the early stages of their careers – such as Martin Parr, whose first show was staged at the gallery in 1972.

Director of Impressions Gallery Anne McNeill said: “Impressions Gallery has played an incisive role in expanding people’s perceptions and understanding of photography.

“To coincide with achieving our 40th anniversary, we are delighted to realise the next steps in the development and long term preservation of our archival materials.”

Jo Quinton-Tulloch, head of the National Media Museum, said: “Naturally, the museum is thrilled to be able to secure such an important archive and collection of photography, one which not only records and evidences the considerable contribution of Impressions Gallery over the past 40 years and counting, but which also further enhances the National Photography Collection.”

Darryn Hedges, chairman of Impressions Gallery Board of Trustees, said: “This exciting project demonstrates Impressions’ ongoing commitment to making Bradford known as the UK destination for photography.”

As exclusively reported by the Telegraph & Argus earlier this month, Bradford Council is moving its main library from the Central Library building to City Park. West Yorkshire Archive Service and the local studies library, however, will remain in the Central Library on the ground floor while the remainder of the building will be converted to offices for Council staff.