British photographic history

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Pauline Heathcote Archives Bromley House Library.

Pauline Heathcote’s archives in the care of Eric Butler at Bromley House Library have been the cornerstone of our research into Somerset Photography . The Archive and the book “A Faithful Likeness” written by Pauline and Bernard Heathcote covers early British photography from its beginnings to 1855 it is a mine of information for researchers of early  photography . I recommend them to anyone embarking on a similar county study like ours for Somerset which should be available in the next few months .

The Archive is available by contacting Eric Butler , a member of this site , the book is well worth having if you can find a copy .

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Comment by Allan Collier on August 14, 2017 at 16:58

Hi Marcel , I'd be pleased to meet up with you again if you are in our area , I expect you have a copy of the Heathcote book Faithful Likeness , but it was only when I contacted Eric Butler  that I realized Pauline Heathcote's archives had been lodged at Bromley House , Regards Allan

Comment by Marcel Safier on August 14, 2017 at 15:34
Hi Allan, it is good to hear of the progress on your Somerset photographers book. I will be in the UK next month so will be in touch.

Anthony, I use to access the British censuses. Only the 1881 and 1911 censuses are searchable by occupation but that is still a very valuable functionality. All the Scottish censuses are searchable by occupation but the transcriptions are poor at times so you may not turn up all the references to photo* related occupations. With the English censuses, you can view the original documents. For Scotland, they are only transcriptions. You have to go to the Scotland People website to view the original documents.


Brisbane, Australia
Comment by Eric Butler on August 14, 2017 at 11:38

Thank you Allan,

At Bromley House we have the 5 volume appendix to 'A Faithful Likeness'. We would like to make this available on line in the future, but in the meantime I can be contacted through British Photographic History or Photo@bromley

Eric Butler 

Comment by Allan Collier on August 14, 2017 at 10:12

Hi Anthony

Yes you are quite right Bernard and Pauline's book is a treasure , it helped us enormously and we still are in awe how they achieved it with such accuracy in as you rightly say the analogue age , Pauline's notes at Bromley House also added more to our research thanks to Eric Butler . I'll post the date of our book when its known , agreement with the publisher is in hand , we are just finalizing it , Allan

Comment by Anthony Hamber on August 14, 2017 at 8:49

I agree "A Faithful Likeness" is a must for those researching the earliest photographers in towns, cities and counties in the UK.

Pauline and Bernard Heathcote primarily undertook their research in the "analogue" world... having to manually scour local newspapers through microfilm and hard copy.  The advent of online digital resources for 19th century newspapers has opened up a host of additional capabilities and possibilities. For instance, advertisements for auctions and house sales can identify early amateur photographers whom the Heathcotes did not record.

In addition there are online versions of census taken from 1841 onwards - thought these are variable in terms of functionality to search by "occupation".

I look forward to your study on Somerset.


Anthony Hamber

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