E. Chambré Hardman was born in 1898 in Dublin, Ireland. The only son of the keen amateur photographer Edward Hardman, E. Chambré Hardman took his first photographs aged nine and went on to win many photographic competitions during his time at St. Columba's College in County Dublin.
From the age of eighteen, he spent four years as a regular officer in the 8th Gurkha Rifles in India where he would eventually be promoted to lieutenant. While on active duty at the foothills of the Himalayas, he found time for photography using his Eastman Kodak No. 3 Special camera and processed rolls of film in his bathroom.
Whilst stationed at the Khyber Pass he met Captain Kenneth Burrell, a man who hadn't planned on an army career but rather hoped to set up a photographic studio back home in Liverpool, England. Hardman and Burrell decided to go into business together and in 1923, Burrell & Hardman acquired 51a Bold Street in Liverpool's fashionable commercial centre.
Starting the business was difficult, and Hardman resorted to selling and repairing wirelesses to subsidise the studio. Eventually the it gained a reputation for being the place for anyone with distinction in Merseyside to be photographed by Burrell & Hardman.