British photographic history

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Photographing every building in a city or town

In Australia in the late 1860s and early 1870s the American and Australasian Photographic Company with their team of photographers headed by Henry Beaufoy Merlin and Charles Bayliss undertook travels starting in Melbourne to progressively photograph every building in a given town, progressing moving through Victoria and then New South Wales. A large cache of their negatives of the Hill End and Tambaroora region have survived and are currently being digitised at the State Library of New South Wales (see http://blog.sl.nsw.gov.au/holtermann). Their agent Edward Hartshorne Forster continued the project in Queensland but Barcroft Capel Boake had sent his partners Frederick Nainby and Horace Rogers to Brisbane to begin photographing every public house and building in the city and suburbs first in 1870. Nainby and Rogers stated in their advertising that "this practice has been attended with a great deal of success in England, and also in the other colonies". A business disagreement harpooned their project. I have not yet discovered photographers in other countries who undertook this sort of comprehensive photographic narrative of a place and I wonder if anyone can shed further light on this practice in England or "other colonies"? Cheers! Marcel Safier, Brisbane, Australia

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