British photographic history

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Looking for early photos of the Menai Suspension and Britannia Tubular Bridges

This year is the 200th anniversary of the first stone being laid for the construction of the Menai Suspension Bridge. This predates photography but as a trustee of Menai Heritage I'm interested in finding any early photographic images of either of the bridges which span the Menai Strait. We have some 1860s stereo images but nothing prior to this, although we are aware that images do exist. If anyone can help by providing either digital files of early images which we (as an accredited museum) can use, or point us towards any early images we would be very grateful as this year we will have events in early August to celebrate the start of the construction of Brunel's suspension bridge.

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Let me know if you are interested in either/both of these cdvsby Bedford.




Thanks Michael. No. 58 would certainly be of interest. Bedford seems to have visited North Wales on a number of occasions so anything by him is of interest, the only question being its date because I think that the vistis were spread over about 30 years. Can you supply a high resolution scan which Menai Heritage could use? Thanks. Paul

I'd be pleased to do so. How high, and where do I send it?

Thanks for your email and scans - they are great. I tried to thank you by email but my reply bounced and I'm trying to find out why. I'll be in touch when this is sorted to thank you properly. Thanks, Paul

Don't worry about it. But Bedford is definitely a trail to follow. He photographed extensively in North Wales.

In April 2003 we sold three small salt prints, on two pieces of card, showing the construction of the Britannia Tubular Bridge in 1849. I have the full description and (sadly) just one image of the largest photograph (125 x 145 mm), initialled J.P. and dated 13 September 1849. We believed them to be among the earliest surviving photographs of a civil engineering project in the UK. I tentatively attributed the photographs to J. Price of Plas Cadnant. You are certainly welcome to use our high res digital photograph and I could try and put you in touch with the (Anglesey) buyer of the lot.

Both would be really useful. I'll try to pm you with my contact details. Many thanks. Paul

Much later than you were hoping for, there are images from 1899/1900 for both bridges in my Flickr set here: - said by my mother to have been taken by the vicar of Sankey church - digitised from 1/4 plate glass negatives which I have (some of them show my grandfather's brother and cousins) and so, presumably, I can give you permission to use?

Thanks Sue. That's useful for dating buildings. I'll forward the link to the collections panel.

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