Friday, 3 January 2014

Oldest Photography Studio?

Just exactly how old?

There has been much debate here about whether we can claim to be the oldest continuously operating photography studio in the UK, if not the world. We can say with absolute certainty that the studio that we operate from today opened in 1867 - pretty close but not the oldest. However, the business itself is another matter.

The other side of the Midland Road

Emmanuel Nicolas Charles had a photo studio on the other side of Midland Road from 1856, which he ran until his death in 1863, at the young age of 36. During this time he had taken on an assistant, Walter William Winter.

On Charles' death, the business passed into the hands of his widow, Sarah Charles (nee Ball)* and her three young children. By Spring of 1864, Winter had married Sarah and taken over the business. It should be noted that at the time Sarah would have been 33, and Winter just 22.

The Alexandra Rooms

From 1864 Walter William Winter was advertising the business as W. W. Winter, late E. N. Charles, still operating from 2 Midland Road. However, by 1867 Winter had seen his purpose built photo studios, designed by architect Henry Isaac Stevens, open for business.

Victorian women in business?

 *If you have any information about Sarah Charles, do get in touch. We are particularly interested to know whether Sarah ran the business for the period between the death of her first husband and her marriage to Winter.