British photographic history

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Victorian Photographer Francis Frith: finding of a huge collection of his Glass Negatives and Prints:

While studying my Prints taken from the Glass Plates of the Victorian Photographer, Rev. Montague (Monty) Bird (see my Blog) in my local village Pub on Boxing Day - I, by chance discussed the Prints with a couple who were visiting the Pub, and they informed me that they had a huge Collection (1000's of Glass Negatives and Prints) taken by the Victorian Photographer, Francis Frith. I am subsequently in communication with them, as this appears to be a very important Collection in the history of British Photography - if anyone has an interest in the Collection ..............................

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Comment by John Buck on December 2, 2019 at 17:40

We investigated this "find" and it turned out that the photographs were all from the Cotswold Company archives, not directly from the Frith archive.  The "thousands" of Francis Frith images also turned out to be mostly non Frith images and those that were we purchased to add to the Frith Collection.

Comment by World Image Trader on April 23, 2018 at 21:06

Just noticed this post whilst looking for something else. For some time the Frith Collection was in redundancy. I know someone who bought a number of glass plates and his account was that at the time large format plates were used as cloches in the garden. This would have been before 1985 so Birmingham would not have got the complete collection. Would be interested to know if the pub still has these.

Comment by Michael Pritchard on December 27, 2010 at 21:38

This sounds interesting as Birmingham Library acquired the original plates in 1985:


Francis Frith was a Victorian pioneer photographer who established a firm which set out to photograph every town and site of interest in the British isles. Acquired by the Library in 1985, the collection comprises 316,000 negatives and some 4,000 prints by Francis Frith & Co. taken between c1870-1970. This vast collection of topographical views of Great Britain is accompanied by indexes compromising numerical listing of the negatives taken prior to 1939 and an alphabetical list of places represented in the numerical file. An incomplete micro-fiche edition of the archive, arranged by country, county and then alphabetically by town is available.



With the Francis Frith Collection ( )   presumably retaining copy negs to facilitate the commercial exploitation of the images.


It would be interesting to learn where the couple's negatives fit into this history.

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