British photographic history

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I'm posting an untitled photograph that I suspect was taken in Paris during the Prussian siege during 1870/71. It's one from a stereoscopic pair, and the tones are somewhat faded, but in the foreground can be seen a wooden manual fire pump, together with its eight man crew who, from their military-style caps, might be French soldiers. The side of the pump has the word DUCLAIR painted on it, perhaps either the name of the pump's manufacturer, or just possibly the name of the town down the Seine that the pump came from. In the background an entire seven-storey building appears to have collapsed into a pile of rubble, and the damage seen here is very reminiscent of similar images taken during the siege.  Some can be seen online in the collection of the Boston Athenaeum, and elsewhere. Over the entrance to the building on the right is a sign board with the lettering TOILES followed by A LA MADELEINE.

If any member might be able to confirm my suspicion, or indeed has any comments about the image, I would be most grateful to know.

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Peter, I believe the Pump is very likely from the town of Duclair in Normandy.. The Siege was not only in Paris but also Rouen and surround.  You might translate some of this booklet using Google Translate;

Very many thanks indeed for that, John.  I was also pretty certain that the machine would have come from Duclair, but Rouen does make very much more sense, at 18 km being so much nearer.  However, thanks to your comment, I found the attached engraving that is clearly based on the photograph, and it explains everything.  The Duclair voluntary firefighters helped with a fire that destroyed a house on 31 May 1871 in Paris, at the "at the corner of rue Royale and rue Saint-Honore."  See:

A most satisfactory outcome - thank you!  Much appreciated.


Yes very interesting ,and a nice photo I must say.


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