Getting a little better known?

The site seems to be getting a little better known of late. We are delighted to have had a link accepted by Cyndis list – a major site for family historians. Also valuable information has been received this week from Nick Smith about various photographers in March which has enabled us to improve a number of entries. Another great step forward has been making contact with the family of RH Lord, one of Cambridge’s finest photographers. Meanwhile research continues into StickyBacks and photo stamps and the enigma of who was Mr StickyBacks of Peterborough?


Photobooths, stickybacks and another local mystery photo

Christmas and flu have slowed down input to the site since the last post here. The lull has provided a little time for some research into photobooths. The logic behind this is that you might well find a little portrait in the family photos not much bigger than a postage stamp and wonder how on earth to date it. Well it could have come from a photobooth – if so when did these start to appear in Cambridgeshire. Actually you could contribute greatly to this by giving us your memories of photobooths in Cambridgeshire.

A related topic is the stickyback photo – and here we have added new material which seems to date these firmly from 1901, several years earlier than had previously been thought.

Finally – a new mystery photo shot beside the road to Cambridge 1951 – but can you tell us which road?

Photobooth and stickyback pages are linked from here

Notices from The Times

Wharton and Co of Peterborough had a nice little business producing cartes de visite photographs of newspaper announcements of births, deaths and marriages. These were neat lasting mementos to add to the family album. The examples I had found were from 1907 to 1910. But it transpires that the idea wasn’t unique to Samuel John Wharton. A recent buy on Ebay included two similar products from  1901 and 1903 from Wharton’s older brother Herbert C.Wharton, a photographer in Kilburn and, more surprising, a couple of much earlier examples, one anonymous from 1876 and one by Edgar Gael of Bromley Kent from 1877. (both shown below) From some additional research it appears that there were other photographers who specialised in this product, namely Marc Hughes of Hammersmith and the Centaur Photo Co. of Bromley.

So far I have not been able to find any newspaper advertising for this service – has anyone else come across any such advertisements? Newspaper announcements of births and marriages usually included the address of one or more of the parties and Robin and Carol Wichard in their book “Victorian Cartes de Visite” suggest that these firms would have photographed the announcements speculatively and mailed the cartes with the offer of a purchase or return. (although this probably wouldn’t work for death announcements!) It would be great to pin this down with any accompanying materials. Does anyone have an example speculative sales letter tucked away in the back of a family album? This type of speculative marketing would explain why these cartes mainly carry a number of announcements, rather than an enlarged version of a single notice – that way one photograph could be sold to a number of customers.


Two example cartes de visite with Times notices from the 1870s. No photographer’s details on the right hand example.

More mystery photographs and Box Brownie Postcards

Updated the two mystery photograph pages with some additional puzzles today.

An interesting one below – a little beach scene taken with an early box Brownie camera – hence the round image. These went back to base for developing and film re-loading, but this image has a postcard back – so – an interesting possibility for collection – box Brownie postcards – I wonder if anyone collects them? Lots of very interesting images come up if you Google “box brownie photography”

Post Office Terrace Cambridge, and more

Delighted to meet Peter Lofts and his wife this week. Peter was the final owner and photographer operating at Post Office Terrace Cambridge, one of the oldest and longest continually occupied studios in England. Peter has saved negatives from all the occupants of this historic studio and they are all on loan at the Cambridgeshire Collection. Peter is writing a book on the studio.

Also this week some examples of the work of Cambridgeshire photographers have been bought from Greece and Denmark and posted on the site.

Tried out today the new computer-controlled film reader at the Cambridgeshire Collection – an improvement on the older versions of readers, but it is still a little awkward to scan the huge pages of old newspapers – fit the page on the screen and it’s too tiny to read, fit less than a page on the screen and you are constantly moving round to find the edges. Spent the morning looking through the Cambridge Independent Press for 1844 and 1845 looking for a report of the moonlight flit of the first Cambridge Daguerreotype photographer – sadly there was no such report. But – one interesting find was an advertisement for the sale of a library and other items by the executors from the estate of the late Rev T E Rogers of Lackford Suffolk on 26th and 27th Nov 1844 which included a “complete Daguerreotype apparatus made by one of the first opticians in Paris”. I wonder who bought this and whether the purchase led to a successful career as a photographer.

Site updates

A few days of tedious work have been needed to split some of the longer pages and add all the recent entries to the location index page. No recent new finds to illustrate the site. Unfortunately the lovely image below, “With Thora’s Love May 1930” is from Hunt and Co, Newark.