The tiny portrait below is proving remarkably difficult to attribute. It dates from around 1907 and has some similarities to the stickyback photos of the period, but the photographer has given the product the name “Morrotype”. This suggests that the photographer’s name was possibly Morro, or Morrot, but every effort with the usual sources has failed to turn up any photographers by that name. One other Morrotype has been spotted on google images, but attempts to contact the owner for more information have failed. Any ideas would be much appreciated.



Small Portraits

A few weeks of puzzling over small portraits (as below) from the first quarter of the 20th century has now been written up on a new page about Sub Carte De Visite Size Portraits. The page on Stickybacks has been updated and some new stamp photographs have been added to the site.


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.


UPDATE – Was “Topical Pictures” connected with Peterborough Photographer Auguste Dumont ? – We explain more here:

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:

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.