Updates, after visits to the Norris Museum

22 files on the site updated today with the results of two days visits to the library at the Norris Museum, St Ives and a search through their illustrations catalogue. Finds range from a couple of old Hunts calotypists of the 1850s to photographers of the 1990s.

Staff and volunteers at the Norris Museum are incredibly helpful and supporting.


Ladies in Uniform? Cambridge 1936

The image below was a recent Ebay purchase. It depicts two young women walking in what appears to be St Andrew’s Street Cambridge, (opposite Christ’s College). The print is 2 1/2 x 2 1/8 inches. On the rear is printed “Photo by Topical Pictures” and handwritten “Cambridge 5 October 1936”. The image raises a number of questions. The young women appear to be dressed in similar fashion with what looks like belted dark leather jackets, mid length dark skirts, black shoes and with relatively short-cut hairstyles.  Was this some sort of uniform, or just a passing fashion of the day? The date could put this into the period of Mosley’s Black Shirts (The Battle of Cable Street occured on 4 Oct 1936) but could this be the sort of uniform worn by Mosley’s followers? And what about the photographer? The format, the framing of the subjects and soft focus all point to an amateur, rather than a professional photographer. But does the “Photo by Topical Pictures” on the reverse suggest a professional shot, perhaps by a street photographer of the type normally taking “walking pictures” of holidaymakers at seaside towns? We have not yet come across a local firm of this name. Alternatively, could this refer to a processing lab or photographic paper supplier, rather than a particular photographer? Any suggestions would be gratefully received.


Latest updates

More added this week to the entry for Nathaniel James Gray (with grateful thanks to Paul Godfrey) www.fadingimages.uk/photoGr.asp

A new example of the work of Hills and Saunders (1920s competitive rowing on the Cam) has been added. www.fadingimages.uk/photoHi.asp


More on Post Office Terrace Studio

Added to the site this week have been:

  1. An updated introduction to the transcripts of the 1932 to 1935 studio diaries from Ramsey and Muspratt. This has followed closer studying of the handwriting in the 1932 volume and comparisons with exemplars of the handwriting of Lettice Ramsey and Helen Muspratt, kindly provided by their respective families.
  2. An update to our guide to using the negatives from Post Office Terrace Studio. This follows a visit to the Shire Hall bunker where those negatives thought to be on Cellulose Nitrate stock are stored.

Links to both of the above can be found here: http://www.fadingimages.uk/POT1.asp


Coming back from Queensland Australia

We are most grateful to Diane Clark from Queensland, Australia, for getting in touch. Diane has some family photos from her ancestors in Cambridgeshire. A couple have been posted on our “Who were they?” page in the hope that other family historians might be researching the same family. The other gems which Diane has allowed us to use are a photograph of the Blacksmith’s shop at Benwick, by Major, c.1912, and a group photo of Cambridge Auxilliary Fire Brigade from WW2 by Maxwell.


John Slater Newmarket

Great find yesterday in a St Ives charity shop, a mint copy of John Slater’s 1968 book “Newmarket, the home of Horse Racing” containing over 60 John Slater photographs and a great little history of John Slater Photography Ltd.


Post Office Terrace Studio, Cambridge

For those interested in this studio, which operated from 1865 to 1985 in Cambridge, we have just added to the site a transcript of diaries from the studio for 1932, 1933 and 1935, the early years of occupancy by Ramsey and Muspratt. You can access these here: http://www.fadingimages.uk/POT1.asp .  The diaries list those whose portraits were taken by the firm. If you recognise names of sitters listed in the diaries worthy of additional footnotes, please let us know.

Also as part of the Ramsey and Muspratt story, we have added some comments on the layout of their first premises at 20 St Andrews Street, Cambridge.  You can access this through the site entry for Ramsey and Muspratt http://www.fadingimages.uk/photoRa.asp