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.


More images for the site

A good weekend produced a dozen more illustrations for the site (Cambridge Family History Society Fair and a Stamp and Postcard fair at St Ives) – but postcard prices seem crazily high. What to do with a couple of unknown and unidentifiable and unloved tintypes is a problem. They seem to keep their detail better than cartes de visite even as they start to decompose and rust away. I got quite excited by the one below which had the remains of a paper mount with it with writing on – but this just proved to be a date – August 18th 1887 – so probably a tintype produced by a traveling photographer at a fair somewhere. The work of these tintype photographers will largely be completely unrecognised and uncredited – at least a scan preserves the image for posterity.


Some new purchases

A couple of new purchases arrived today. A very artistic studio portrait of an unknown masonic chap from Derbyshire whose identity it might be possible to establish, and a CDV from a hitherto unknown Wisbech firm.

Had a fairly unproductive trip to the Cambridgeshire Collection this morning – trying to find entries in the 1939 Register for various photographers who had appeared in the 1911 census – with very little success. Am beginning to realise that Ancestry and FindMyPast operate with completely different transcriptions and that there is a lot of inconsistency between the two. On a positive note the Cambridgeshire collection has a wizzy new computer based filmreel reader and printer – a vast improvement on the previous kit.

Had a very pleasant evening last night meeting some of the members of the Peterborough Postcard Collectors Club in Peterborough.

1939 and Dufaycolour

Spent some time over the last few days pulling out Cambs photographers from the 1939 Register and adding some new entries to the site. Found some folks in the Register at Sawston who seemed to be involved in some sort of colour film production (Ernest G Danby b.1883 foreman photographic colour film manufacture: Donald F Evans b.1905 analytical chemist departmental colour photography film manufacture: Ronald W Gooding b.1916 colourmetry examiner colour photographic film). Led me to discover the story of Dufay colour film. Apparently Spicers the paper manufacturers bought up this innovative film process and spent £100k developing the process for cine film at Sawston between 1928 and 1932 – the film was manufactured and sold until 1955 when overtaken by other products.

Ely photographer missionary in India

Just heard from Mike Petty who passed on a letter he had received several years ago seeking information about one Frederick William Savidge. This marries up with a carte de visite by photographer FW Savidge from Ely, about whom we had so far dicovered nothing. The information from Mike has enabled us to discover that Frederick, born in Stretham, practiced briefly as a photographer in the High Street at Ely, but was a schoolteacher who then became a pioneering missionary in India. His entry on the site has now been updated. Also added in the last few days, Norfolk photographer Olive Edis, who photographed Cambridge subjects and exhibited in Cambridge.   Also discovered this week a sister site for Derbyshire photographers – now added to the Links and References page.