British photographic history

Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history

I am researching my local area's history- Red Lion st. Aylsham in deepest, darkest, northest Norfolk. According to Kelly's 1908 Norfolk Directory , May Bone had a studio on Red Lion street that she attended on Saturdays.. Unfortunately our forebears seemed to have had a pathological fear of house numbers (even on advertisements for their own businesses!)  and so far I have been unable to ascertain where May Bone had her studio. Does anyone have any information on her time in Aylsham- even if not a precise address, every tidbit could help me locate her studio?

As you can see from the photo , there is a sign on the middle right opposite the soldiers. I'm hoping that this did indeed point to May's studio.


Views: 293

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Adi,

Found this web site, which you may have already visited.

On page 126 it refers to May Bone, but it looks as though your search for her studio may be difficult. 


Hi Gerry , thanks for the reply, it is appreciated however it was that very article that put me on to May Bone in the first place. Infact I spent a delightful couple of hours yesterday talking to the authoress of that piece herself in her role as the Town Archivist . Unfortunately she couldn't help me any further on May Bone  (she was however a great help with the rest of my research).

It may be a coincidence, or at least open up new research avenues to explore, this news snippet was in the British Journal of Photography, 9 January 1931, p. 17

She was also advertising for staff for studios in Peterborough and Hunstanton in 1934 and in to the 1940s and equipment in to the 1950s.   She's first recorded in the BJP in 1907 registering a photograph for copyright from an address in Fakenham. 

@Michael Pritchard. Many thanks , yes I know MB had her main studio in P'Boro. If I recall correctly during the time period I am interested in , her main haunt was Hunstanton where she was a 'walking photographer' attending other Norfolk towns, such as Aylsham, one day a week. I note that even as late as 1931 the advertisement simply says "Market Place" P'Boro with no indication of where on the Market Place. Our Great Grandparents really didn't make life easy for researchers a century later.

Hello Adi,

I believe that house and shop numbering did not happen until much later in Aylsham. I also have Kelly’s Norfolk for 1908 and house/shop numbers are not a feature.

The sign pointing towards the studio appears to in an alley way or passage, with a tobacconist on one side (I think that is a sign for Players Navy Cut) and shop named “Larke” on the other. The 1908 Kellys indicates that Willian Robert Larke was a “tailor and outfitter” of Red Lion Street, the 1911 Census confirms this along with Rose Edwina Dale a “tobacconist” a few doors along but still with no property numbers. The 1939 Register records Willian Larke at number 33 Red Lion Street but no sign of the tobacconist.

I assume the studio was accessed via the passage and was over or behind Dale’s or Larke’s premises. Miss Bone’s Aylsham studio was probably only in existence for a short period, I cannot find anything about it on the British Newspaper Archive.


Hi Paul Godfrey, many thanks for taking the time to research this . I happen to live above that tobacconists and that shop was indeed Dales. I think you're right about the 'Navy Cut' sign, thank you for that suggestion which has quite made my morning! As a passionate smoker who has researched tobacco history in depth I really should have recognised that sign. My assumption is also that the studio was in one of the buildings in the yard behind the entrance , however I can not yet confirm it was May's- there were other photographers active here at the time. 

The 1921 census has just been published on the Find My Past website - it might provide some information on May Bone for that year (she's probably also in the 1911 census). The 1921 is quite a good system in that you pay per item and you can get the person's own record and also a facsimile of the pages they're on.

Reply to Discussion


© 2023   Created by Michael Pritchard.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service