Post Office Terrace Studio, Cambridge

Congratulations to the Cambridgeshire Collection Volunteers who have just catalogued another 400 plus boxes of negatives from the Post Office Terrace Studio, Cambridge. These negatives contain portraits, not seen since the 1890s, of around 2000 folks from Cambridge and elsewhere. Also transcribed are the diaries and an order book from the earliest years of the Ramsey and Muspratt partnership 1932-1935. All of this information joins the catalogue of over 900 other boxes of negatives recorded by Cambridgeshire Family History Society volunteers. The catalogues and a guide to the collection can be found at

Frederick Sanderson

Having received from Cliff Bulcock copies of his excellent articles from “Photographica World” about Sanderson Cameras, it became apparent that the Sanderson entry on the site didn’t quite reflect the magnitude of his achievement. Over 26,000 cameras incorporating his inventions and bearing his name sold over some 44 years. Investigating Frederick’s inventions further revealed that there was another photographic inventor at work at the same time, whose surname, Sanderson, was associated with such photographic items as studio backgrounds, photographic shutters and time indicators, repeating camera backs, a patented photographic squeegee and non-slip rubber tripod feet. The other inventor, no relation to Frederick, was Alfred William Stainton Sanderson (1863-1932) born in Lincoln. A.W.S.Sanderson was the first Company Secretary of photographic manufacturers Thornton Pickard, before becoming the proprietor in 1901 of The Altrincham Rubber Company, also photographic manufacturers. The entry for Frederick Saunders has been updated accordingly and can be found here: .

New Stickybacks Site

The results of our research into the two Stickyback photographers in Peterborough in the early 20th Century were starting to skew our site away from its geographical base in Cambridgeshire. As a result we have moved all the material on stickybacks and other small portrait formats to a new site, which we hope you will enjoy. It is at


Pair of small stickyback type of portraits, 1.5 x 2.3 inches, cut from a strip of identical images. Subjects and photographer unknown, c.1910?

Stanley and Co Peterborough – portrait of a group

Stanley and Co, photographers, of Peterborough, remain something of an enigma – it was possibly a business owned by Stanley Crippen from Bradford and managed by William Henry Simmons (see the entry for the firm at: More information about the firm would be helpful and so the recent discovery of the postcard portrait below by the firm was particularly welcome.


Dated 1912, the studio portrait lists the names of the four smart young men shown as  “Walter Scott, Gordon Ames, Walter Lancing and Harold Goodwin”. The date, names and Peterborough location alone have not enabled us to identify these individuals. What was the occasion captured by this photo in 1912? Not far from Stanley and Co was St Peters College – where young men trained as teachers – could this be a group from the College? The  census return has all the students there listed in 1911, but it is not known whether any records survive from the following year. Does anyone have any other photos by Stanley and Co, or photos of St Peter’s College students they are wiling to share?

Unusual Stickyback – who is the photographer

The stickyback below, just over 1.5 x 1.5 inches, of an unknown young woman in a huge picture hat could be from around 1905-10. There is no “stickyback” sign board to identify the photographer. Instead, we have in the RH border a more complex numbering device, with numbers behind tiny windows, to link negative number and image together. The photo seems to have come from a strip and the torn edge on the left hand side suggests the images may have been in a side-by-side strip. On the reverse is a partial rubber stamp. This stamp is repeated side-by-side, with two partial images remaining. We can piece these together to read “Jack Leviss” (or Lewiss), “Tramways”, and the third word is possibly “Central”. Does anyone recognise the name and partial address as a local photographer?


Cleethorpes 1931

I couldn’t resist this image at a recent sale. It’s a postcard with the name and address of the photographer on the reverse “Hardy’s Studios, 52 St Peters Avenue, Cleethorpes”. Clearly the couple are dressed up as Virginia Cherrill and Charlie Chaplin in the wonderful “City Lights” film which was released in January 1931. The photo is taken outdoors – there is just a hint of bunting along the top edge. Were the couple dressed in this way to attend some sort of outdoor fancy dress event ? Alternatively, was the photographer at some sort of outdoor venue offering clients a range of props to use in posing for a photo? Either way, I’m sure the couple were delighted with their portrait.


Albert J. Mahomet (1858-1933), Wells Photographer

The cabinet photo below was bought, not because it is by a Cambridgeshire Photographer, but because I remembered reading something on Robert Pols’ website that Norfolk boasted the first British-born professional photographer of Asian descent, and I wondered if this was the photographer in question.  It turns out that this is one and the same person, and that he had a very interesting and varied life, from the workhouse to farming, blacksmithing, photographer and pastor. He has a wikipedia entry here: and Robert Pols writes about him here: .

The wikipedia entry has a photograph of Albert – and lo and behold, it looks to me like the cabinet photo below could be a self portrait. But I’m not very good with faces so – I’d welcome any other views on this. Many thanks

Cabinet photo by Albert Mahomet, Wells, Norfolk, but is it a self portrait?


Carte de visite depicting a house in Cambridge

This interesting carte de visite by Mr Stearn of 72 Bridge Street Cambridge depicts a splendid Victorian town house, identified as what is now No 1 Chesterton Road Cambridge.


This house was purchased by Magdalene College in the 20th century and now forms part of their Cripps Court complex. The appearance of the house has altered somewhat and it currently sports not one, but two, large bay windows at the front and the balcony above the front door has been removed.  From the dress of the figures in this image and the reverse of the mount, this appears to be a fairly early photograph by Thomas Stearn, perhaps from the 1870s.


It is of similar age to cartes de visite with views of Cambridge colleges featured on this site, and is on a similar mount. It was initially thought to be another souvenir offering for students and visitors. It was therefore anticipated that this house may have had a famous occupant or some other reason to attract purchasers of the carte. Research so far has failed to find any such connection and it now seems more likely that the photograph was commissioned by the occupant of the house for his or her own personal use, perhaps to give to friends and relations for inclusion in their family albums. The occupant of this splendid property may have been particularly proud of his residence as evidence of his upward mobility if he had come from more humble beginnings.

It is impossible from local directories or the 1871 census to be sure who were the first occupants of this particular house. However, assuming that the one male and five females in the photograph are residents, it seems likely that they may be Cambridge solicitor William Henry Lawrence (1832-1895), his wife Ellen and four of their six daughters. Lawrence and his family were living at 28 Green Street Cambridge in 1871, but by 1881 they were living in this house, which was then called “Highclere” or “High Clare”. The family was still there in 1891, but by 1901, after her husband’s death, Ellen Lawrence had moved to Clarendon Street Cambridge.

Lawrence, born in Cambridge, son of a college porter and a college seamstress, started his legal career as a clerk to solicitor Edmond Foster. Later when he had qualified the firm became Foster and Lawrence and their office was, until 1876, at 28 Green Street  which was Lawrence’s address. The firm’s office moved to 10 Trinity Street in 1876 and this may therefore be the date that Lawrence moved his family from Green Street to Chesterton Road.

Lawrence may well be the gentleman in the top hat in the photograph. In 1876 Lawrence and his wife were both 44 and their daughters: Martha Annie, Ellen Kate, Emma Susan, Maria Louise, Rosa Alexander and Flora Amelia, ranged in age from 21 to 11 years.

Although this photograph already tells quite a story, we would welcome any further information on this house and its occupants.

Who was the cartoonist Dod?

Recently purchased, an old album page with eight albumen prints of Cambridge related cartoons. One cartoon is dated 1875, another 1877. These appear to be photographic prints of cartoons which would have sold as souvenirs of Cambridge for students or visitors, in much the same was as postcards were to be sold in later years. But who was the photographer producing these albumen prints, and who was Dod, the cartoonist whose name appears on four of these? The name J.P.Soule (or similar) is on another and three have no artist’s name.