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Smaller Sizes of Portrait - Photographers in England - West Midlands Region

We have divided England into Geographical Regions in order to keep the page sizes manageable for our listings of stickyback photographers. All the regions are listed here. Within each regional page, practitioners are listed by location alphabetically. If you are looking for a practitioner by name, start with our page "Smaller sizes of portrait - photographers by name"

West Midlands Region, includes: Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands. Locations included to date are: Birmingham, Burton on Trent, Coventry, Dudley, Hereford, Kidderminster, Walsall, West Bromwich and Worcester.

BIRMINGHAM

Address: "Royal Studio", 98 New Street, Birmingham
Possible practitioner: "MR STICKYBACK" - believed to be HARRY LLOYD.
Operating dates: 1911
Information and references: Coventry Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 01 November 1911 p1: "Mr Stickyback 98 New Street Birmingham, photos in Christmas Cards". According to "Professional Photographers in Birmingham 1842-1914" (by C.E.John Aston, Michael Hallett and Joseph McKenna), 98 New Street Birmingham was occupied by photographer Harry Lloyd. Harry Lloyd traded as Mr Stickyback in Dublin - see our entry on our page for Stickybacks in Ireland for full details. Below is a large stickyback photograph, almost postcard sized at 4.8in x 2.4 in, of an unknown young man in straw hat with cane. In the right hand edge of the photograph is a sign board with the legend "Royal Studios 98 New Street B'Ham 318 218". This photograph is roughly hand cut from a roll of photographic paper, the reverse is blank - the numbers may suggest this dates from 1918

Royal Studio Stickyback

Address: 206 Maryvale Road, Bourneville, Birmingham
Possible practitioner: WILLIAMS, F
Operating dates: 1915
Information and references: The Era - Wednesday 08 December 1915 p25. "Wanted, photographic Operator, used to Sticky Back business, must be capable of taking sole control of a shop and understanding the trade from beginning to end. References required. State terms by letter only to F.Williams, 206 Maryvale Road, Bourneville, Birmingham"

Address: 168 Hockley Hill, Birmingham
Possible practitioner: PARR
Operating dates: c.1906
Information and references: The British Journal of Photography 28 December 1906 carries the following advertisement: "Midget - Stamp trade. Man, or man and wife for branch. Give particulars of previous engagement, Parr, 168 Hockley Hill, Birmingham"

Address: 494 Moseley Rd, Birmingham 1898, 470 Moseley Rd Birmingham 1899-1907, 95 Station Road Kings Heath Birmingham 1908-1911, 95 and 97 Station Rd Kings Heath Birmingham 1912-1921
Possible practitioner: Mark Oliver SUFFIELD (Junior) (1866 - 1936)
Information and references: Mark Oliver Suffield is listed at the above locations in the RPS Photo Historian Supplement "Professional Photographers in Birmingham 1842-1914", by CE John Aston, Michael Hallett and Joseph McKenna. In the 1911 Census, Mark Oliver Suffield, a portrait photographer, was living with his wife Eliza and a male cousin at 95 Station Road Kings Heath Birmingham. (Mark Oliver Suffield was the cousin of the mother of the author JRR Tolkein). Below are two pseudo midget cartes of unknown young ladies from the 1890s. These measure 1.4 x 2.3 inches (37x58mm) and the text beneath the images is part of the actual photograph. These display two different addresses in Moseley Rd Birmingham. Both have nothing on the reverse. The next two dated pseudo cartes below are reproduced with the permission of Ron Cosens (www.cartedevisite.co.uk). Beneath the images of a man wearing a pince-nez is the text "Suffield 95 Station Road Kings Heath Birmingham". On both, the text is part of the photographic image and the whole is printed on light cardstock, The first example is 35 x 59mm, the second is trimmed differently at 35 x 57mm. Although both seem to be from the same sitting and of the same subject, these have different specific dates in manuscript on the reverse of 1910 and 1908 respectively.

Two portraits by Suffield

Midget pseudo carte by Mark Oliver Suffield, reproduced with the permission of Ron Cosens (www.cartedevisite.co.uk)

Midget pseudo carte by Mark Oliver Suffield, reproduced with the permission of Ron Cosens (www.cartedevisite.co.uk)

Address: 62 Bull Street Birmingham in 1907
Possible practitioner: CUBBIN, William Cottier
See entry in NW England listed under Isle of Man.

Address: 7 High Street Birmingham, also in London, Pentre, Newport, Aberdare, Etc
Possible practitioner: Harry and Rose ABRAHAMSON, and Eva ABRAHAMSON, incorporated as London and Provincial Studios Ltd, trading as Crown Studios
Operating dates: 1911 - 1930s
Information and references: See below a midget pseudo carte de visite - the whole of the carte is a photographic image, including the text at the bottom "Crown Studios 7 High Street, Bull Ring, Birmingham". This shows a three quarter length portrait of an unknown man with folded arms. The size of the item is 1.6 x 3.1 inches, the reverse is blank. These were probably printed up in strips, connected vertically. Just visible at the top is the bottom of the text from the next carte. With the single Birmingham address, this may be from the studio chain's early days c.1911. Next is a midget pseudo carte - the whole of the face of the carte, including the text, is a photographic image. The overall size is 1.5 x 3 inches and depicts a 3/4 length portrait of an unknown man. The text on the face reads: "Crown Studios, Birmingham, Pentre, Newport, Aberdare, Etc". The reverse is blank.

If you didn't want to trade in your own name, the title "Crown Studio" might be considered a good choice, with overtones of majesty and quality, Seven examples of Crown Studios have been found and are listed below, but none of these appear to be the Crown Studios who produced the items illustrated.

  • Alfred FIEKE, operated Between 1895 and 1908 at Crown Studio 12 Duke Street Cardiff. South Wales Daily News, Saturday 4 July 1908, p.1, advertised a sale on the premises of all the photographer's stock in trade, including the lease on the studio comprising five rooms to let at £30 a year.
  • William PETERS ran a Crown Studio at Altrincham around 1897-1904 (several registrations of topographical views at Stationers' Hall for copyright purposes, the addresses he gave were 54 or 60 New Street Altrincham, formerly of 19 Railway Street Altrincham. TNA COPY 1/469/237).
  • W. MOSCROP, Crown Studio, 107, Highgate, Kendal. (Greater Manchester Record Office ref 1545/13)
  • Rupert STEARN, Crown Studio, Grove Street, Wilmslow, Manchester. 1898 (TNA COPY 1/434/791)
  • E. GRIFFITHS, Crown Studio, 2 Arnold St. Leicester. c 1890 (Bedfordshire Archives Z 50/142/515)
  • Albert John MAHOMET, 66 Bruce Street, New Wortley, Leeds. 1910 (TNA COPY 1/544/227)
  • W. ROSS, Crown Studios, Amesbury and at Shrewton, Wilts. No date, (Greater Manchester County Record Office 3004/1)

When Welsh born Harry ABRAHAMSON (1889-1968 ) and other members of his family set up a photographic firm and wanted to name his company "Crown Studios" in the plural, the authorities refused. (The National Archives Reference: HO 144/1320/253031 Description: TITLE ROYAL: Crown Studios Ltd - refused, Date:1914 Held by: The National Archives,Kew. Former reference in its original department: 253031). Instead the family launched "London and Provincial Studios Ltd", registered office: Crown Studio, 7 High Street Birmingham. They went on to build up a string of studios over the years ahead, and appear to have used the name of "Crown Studios" for them. The Birmingham Daily Post,Friday 24 July 1914 p12, recorded the establishment of the company. "London and Provincial Studios. This company has just been registered, with capital of £l,000 in £1 shares, to carry on the business of photographers, photographic artists, dealers in photographic appliances, &c., and to adopt an agreement with Harry and Rose Abrahamson. [mother of Harry] The subscribers are: Mrs. R. Abrahamson and Eva Abrahamson [sister of Harry], 23, Regent Street, Weston-super-Mare. Private company. The number of directors is not less than two nor more than five; the first are H. Abrahamson and Rose Abrahamson (both permanent, subject to holding £75 shares). Registered office, 7, High Street, Birmingham."

By around 1919, a number of Crown Studios were producing real photograph postcard format portraits and topographical postcards. Surviving postcards list on their reverse sides different combinations of up to 12 Crown Studios, located as follows:

  • London, 12 Broadway Stamford Hill, N,
  • London, 313 Mare Street Hackney NE,
  • Birmingham, 7 High Street,(1913-) Company registered address.
  • Newport, 2 Commercial Street (Harry was listed here in the 1914 Kelly's Directory and in the 1911 Census, Harry, then a self employed photographer was living with his family in Newport
  • Weston super Mare, 23 Regent Street, 1 Royal Arcade,
  • Aberdare, 1 Canon Street,
  • Tonypandy, 120 Dunraven Street,
  • Pentre, Rhondda, 210 Ystrad Road
  • 250 Commercial Road Portsmouth (1914-18)
  • Blyth, Turner Street and Waterloo Road (1914-18)
It is not currently known how long most of these studios functioned, but Harry was certainly still operating at Weston-super-Mare as late as 1937. On 18 August that year the Western Daily Press reported that Harry had been fined for unlawful Sunday trading by selling postcards from his premises at the corner of the Arcade. In the 1939 register Harry and family were living at 23 Regent Street Weston-super-Mare and although his occupation is mainly illegible, it does seem to include the word "Photographic".

Early Crown Studios pseudo carte c.1911    Crown Studios midget pseudo carte of an unknown man


Address: 50B New Street Birmingham - see entry for Richard Parker Estabrooke and the Anglo American Photographic Co, Fleet Street London

BURTON ON TRENT

Address: 19 Station Street, Burton on Trent
Possible practitioner: Not currently known, trading as Strand Studios.
Date of operation: 1914
Information and references: In the Burton Observer and Chronicle on Thursday 20 August 1914 p1 was an advertisement: "The Strand Studios Direct from 420 and 356 Strand London, now open for a short time only 19 Station Street Burton on Trent. Get a coupon." See our page on London practitioners for both of these Strand Addresses.

COVENTRY

Address: 73 King William Street Coventry 1881, 4 The Burgess, Coventry 1892-1908, 76 St Michaels Rd Coventry 1913-1915
Possible practitioner: GOUGH, William Hillyear (1857-1923), also trading as Gough's Electric and Daylight Studios Coventry
Operating dates: 1881 - 1915 at least; had retired by 1923
Information and references: Kelly's Directory of Warwickshire 1892, 1896, 1900, 1904, 1908. Spennell's Directory of Coventry 1912/13.
The Coventry Herald - Friday 07 February 1896 p6, reported: "Photography By Electric Light.—Amongst the uses to which the electric light is being applied in Coventry one the most novel is photography, as introduced by Mr. W. H. Gough, of the Burgess Studio. The results obtained not only compare favourably with those accomplished In daylight, but for clearness even surpass them. The convenience of the arrangement will be appreciated by ladies and gentlemen wishing to be photographed in evening or fancy dress, without the trouble of special preparation for the ordeal". William made a great deal of his no doubt substantial investment in electric light for his studio and advertised this extensively in local newspapers in 1896 and 1899. For example in the Coventry Herald - Friday 24 January 1896 p4, "Photography by electric light W.H. Gough Electric and Daylight studios 4 The Burges Coventry, portraits taken by electric light from dusk till 8 (Saturdays 9.30) or by appointment at any hour." According to the 1912 Kelly's Directory of Warwickshire there was a William Henry Gough, photographer, at 53 Hill Street Coventry. This is most likely an error as William Hillyear Gough was not listed in that directory, yet continued to trade for a number of years afterwards. Other addresses for William Hillyear Gough were 7 Swanswell St Coventry (1891 census) and 121 Treeshill Rd Coventry (1901 Census)

Below is a midget carte de visite from this studio, reproduced with the kind permission of Ron Cosens (www.cartedevisite.co.uk). The carte measures 44 x 67 mm. On the face is a simple floral art nouveau design in blue with the words "Gough's Electric and Daylight Studio, Coventry". The image, of an unknown young lady with multiple strings of pearls, pasted onto the carte, is approximately a quarter of the size of the mount. The photograph is unevenly fixed onto the mount suggesting a hasty assembly. The reverse is blank.

midget carte by W.H.Gough, Coventry, reproduced with the permission of Ron Cosens (www.cartedevisite.co.uk

DUDLEY

Address: 201 High Street Dudley (possibly only for a brief period.)
Possible practitioner: Not known - trading as The Original Mr Stickybacks Electric Studios.
Operating dates: c.1916-1917
Information and references: There was an advertisement in the Dudley Chronicle, Saturday 12 February 1916 p1: "When writing to friends away at the front, or in camp, don't forget to send them a snapshot of yourself and if possible of other friends and acquaintances. Letters will be doubly welcome. Mr Stickyback's cinematograph snapshots of yourself are admirably suitable for this purpose. Enormously popular "They've all got stickybacks". The original Mr Stickyback's Electric Studios from Strand London and Provinces. 201 High Street, Dudley. Imitated but never equalled." This advertisement is very similar to an advertisement in the Rochdale Times for a stickyback shop at 36 Yorkshire Street, Rochdale. Dudley Chronicle, Saturday 17 June 1916 p4 "Dudley - advert for last few weeks. Prices of stickybacks reduced to 4d per dozen". Dudley Chronicle, Saturday 9 December 1916, another advertisement to the following effect: "The original Mr Stickybacks Electric Studios. Photo postcards of yourself 6 for 1/3d. The enormously popular stickybacks special reduced price 4d per dozen. Hurry up we shall be closing shortly. Stickybacks Studios 201 High Street Dudley. Studio opened 10am till 7.30pm. Sunday 2.30 till 6.30. Important. Owing to the lighting restrictions patrons would oblige by applying for their photos before 6.30pm". We are most grateful to Allan Collier for discovering this advertisement. Finally, Dudley Chronicle, Saturday 6 January 1917: "Take advantage of next week as we are closing shortly. Stickybacks 4d doz. Photo postcards 6 for 1/3d."

HEREFORD

Address: 24A/25 Commercial Street, Hereford
Possible practitioner: PREECE, Francis (1853-1928)
Operating dates: 1881-1913
Information and References: Francis Preece was born at Tupsley, Hereford, around 1853. In the 1881 census he was living at 26 Harold Street, Hereford. He then appears as a photographer in various local directories at 24A or 25 Commercial Street, Hereford, between 1885 and 1913. According to the census return in 1891, Francis and his family were living at the studio address. By 1901 he was living at Gordon Villa in Grenfell Rd. Cartes de visite turn up from time to time from the firm, and between 1882 and 1910 he submitted 13 photographs to Stationers' Hall for copyright purposes. Early in the 20th Century he started to move away somewhat from the typical role of the professional photographer, and it was probably at this point that he started to produce cheap work. The example below, reproduced with the kind permission of Ron Cosens www.cartedevisite.co.uk, is of a stamp sized portrait of a young woman in a white card mount with embossed floral design and behind an oval aperture. The photograph is held in place with a buff coloured cover paper stuck on the back. This has details of the firm "F Preece, photographer, Commercial Street, Hereford", printed in red. Francis also produced real photo postcards of local topographical subjects, with the name of his firm hand written into the negative, lower edge. He also produced portraits in postcard format, embossed with the name of the firm with a hand embossing machine. In 1905 he advertised his business as a photographer and photographic dealer, selling new and second hand cameras and equipment and also developing, printing and enlarging for amateurs, offering a dark room for changing and developing plates. (Hereford Journal 20 May 1905).That same year he diversified further and became a developer in a different sense, advertising "Building plots for outright sale or upon building leases, most salubrious situation in best residential district of Hereford; gas and water, particulars Preece Photographer Hereford". (Hereford Journal 24 June 1905). PhotoHistorian Supplement 91 Winter 1990 Victorian and Edwardian Professional Photographers in Herefordshire

Small carte by Francis Preece, Hereford. Ron Cosens www.cartedevisite.co.uk

KIDDERMINSTER

Address: Bull Ring or Church Street Kidderminster (possibly same address as the two are contiguous).
Possible practitioner: BOULTWOOD, SIDNEY
Operating dates: 1914-15
Information and references: Evening Despatch - Friday 11 December 1914 p2. "Smart reliable man wanted as doorman etc good wages to the right man. Stickybacks studio Church Street, Kidderminster." Stickybacks Studio, Bull Ring, Kidderminster , 1914-15. One of Sidney Boultwood's Sticky Back Studios, listed by David Simkin on his excellent site on Sussex Photographers at www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/BoultwoodStickyBacksStudio.htm where you will find the full history of Sidney Boultwood (1882-1958) and his family

WALSALL

Address: Brownhills, Walsall
Possible practitioner: CADDICK American Studio
Operating dates c.1906
Information and references: The British Journal of Photography 7 Dec 1906 p.ii carries the following advertisement: "Good ferrotype operator wanted for XMas and New Year. Sobriety indispensible. Must be accustomed to quick business. State terms, Caddick photographer, Brownhills, Walsall." It would appear that this studio, producing ferrotypes and other inexpensive products styled itself as and American Studio.. This blog entry carries an appeal for information about a photograph from Caddick American Studio, Brownhills, Walsall.

WEST BROMWICH

Address: High Street, West Bromwich.
Possible practitioner: Not currently identified.
Operating dates: 1915
Information and references: Evening Despatch - Friday 30 April 1915 p2. "Smart reliable man wanted as doorman and bill distributor; good references. Apply Sticky-backs studio, High Street, West Bromwich." The 1916 Kelly's Directory of Staffordshire lists no fewer than four photographers in the High St at West Bromwich: AE Bliss at 380, G Cooper at 304, H.H.Dudley at 165 and D.Murray at 319.

WORCESTER

Address: 29 Queen Street, Worcester
Possible practitioner: BOULTWOOD, SIDNEY
Operating dates: 1915-16
Information and references: Stickybacks Studio, 29 Queen Street, Worcester, 1915-16. One of Sidney Boultwood's Sticky Back Studios, listed on his excellent site on Sussex Photographers at www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/BoultwoodStickyBacksStudio.htm where you will find the full history of Sidney Boultwood (1882-1958) and his family. Below is an example portrait from the studio. This image is reproduced with the kind permission of Val Brown, and depicts her grandmother, Emma Brown, taken around 1915-17.

Stickyback photo from 29 Queen St Worcester

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www.stickybacks.uk is a non-commercial web site for local and family historians, exploring smaller sized portrait photographs and those who worked in this trade.
This page was last modified: 03 April 2021, 16:56

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