British photographic history

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Information: Bishop’s Bridge, Norwich / 1 June 1899

I have borrowed this negative from a local historian. It is in an envelope labelled “Bishop’s Bridge Norwich” and dated 1st June 1899. The negative measures 6x9cm approx and is on a translucent rather than transparent film base that I assume to be celluloid. The top and bottom edges are cut with castellations with processing marks on each castellation.

Has any member of this forum any idea why this was cut in this way or what type of camera was used to take the image?

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Comment by James Morley on November 7, 2015 at 0:08

And thanks for the warning about the nitrate film base - some of mine are rather cloudy too!

Comment by James Morley on November 7, 2015 at 0:07

I found myself here after searching for info on the Frena. If you look at it gives the negative sizes for various models. I'm not sure this really is close to a quarter plate, which at 4.25 x 3.25 inches is more like 10.8 x 8.3 cm (see But then neither would it be close to the sixth plate format, which was 3.25 x 2.75 inches or 8.3 x 7.0 cm.  The Freno No. 0 though is stated to have used film 3.5 x 2.625 inches or 8.9 x 6.7cm which seems closer to what you describe.

Mine are approx 3.25 x 3.25 inches or 8.3 x 8.3 cm square, which seems to make them from the Freno No. 1. Here's one (digitally inverted) and there are more at 

Comment by Paul Godfrey on June 1, 2015 at 17:13
Thank you for the warning David. I will take your advice.
Comment by David H Davison on June 1, 2015 at 15:55

This Frena negative is probably more translucent that transparent because the cellulose nitrate base is decomposing into the dangerous phase. It should be duplicated on film or a high-res digital image made and printed onto archival quality paper.

Comment by Michael Pritchard on May 31, 2015 at 14:20

Hi, Paul. The camera used to take this was a Beck's Frena which used specially perforated film to support internal changing of cut film within the camera. If it's approx 6 x 9cm then it may be the imperial equivalent of quarter-plate 4.25 x 3.25 inches. 

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