British photographic history

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Hi everyone,

Just wondering if anyone has any info on Victorian photographers working at Belle Vue Zoological Gardens.

I can find reference to local photographers on Hyde Road ie Thomas Mawson Waters but wondered if Belle Vue employed an actual photographer on their books.

Theres a few images on Flickr from Manchester Archives but thats about it.

Any thoughts where I could find specific info?



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Tried to reply to this this morning but failed when my whole message was wiped.

Briefly, Thomas Mawson Waters was my great grandfather.  Yes, he lived on the Hyde Rd. and yes, I was told and always understood that he also was employed by Belle Vue Prison as one of their official photographers of the Belle Vue inmates.

Thomas Mawson had his photographic studios on the Hyde Road, at no. 105  where the family also lived, between Burgess Terrace and the Railway Arches. No. 130 was right beneath the Arches. Two different venues: 105 and 130 according to the delightfully inscribed backs of  his little ‘Carte de Visite’
1881 census he was living at 263 Hyde Rd. Ardwick
He is recorded in Slaters Directory of 1869 as a Photographer at 105, Hyde Rd., but in 1881 he was a Photographer and Undertaker.

Family legend has it that he served in the Crimea before working [according to family legend] at Buckingham Palace from where he brought home a family saying “ Don’t slap your children in public like Queen Victoria.”  

I have not tapped the Buckingham Palace Archives and neither have I been able to return to Manchester Central Library Local Studies for further research.
Thomas was born in Lancaster in June 1838.  He had a brother George who was also a Photographer but who moved to Windermere. An eccentric man.  I have their family history.

Have you come across “Fenty’s Album” by Irvine Hunt, published 1975?
After George’s death, Fenty was tipped off that all George’s pictures were going to the dump. He rescued most of them and put them all into albums.  It is a fascinating little book.

1861 he was living at home with his parents John and Margaret Waters working as a Painter and Gilder.  He is present in the 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1881 census returns.
Thomas Mawson Waters eventually moved to Manchester where he lived with his wife Margaret Hargreaves. They married in 1863 at Lancaster.
My grandmother Emily Waters was their firstborn child.
He died in October 1881.

I have tried unsuccessfully to attach two photos, one of Thomas Mawson himself.

I don't Tweet or Facebook but I do email.
I shall await your reply although you wrote this rather long ago!

Sue Hyde Fielding.

HI Sue,

Thank you for all that info, truly appreciated. I have a project on the back burner looking at Manchester based Victorian studio photographers.

I'll see if I can find a copy of fentys album....

Do you live in the Manchester area?

Thank you


My 2x Greatgrandfather was Thomas Mawson Waters and I am hoping that you can forward my email to Susan F Fielding as we are obviously related and I would love to know what information she has of the family history. My father was Tom Mawson Waters and his father was also Thomas Mawson Waters son of the aforementioned Thomas Mawson Waters.

Best regards,

                   Mark Waters

Hi Mark,
I don't think I have her email but you can message her via this British PhotoHistory website as she is a member.


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