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Thread: The oldest photograph of Liverpool

  1. #1
    Senior Member Colin Wilkinson's Avatar
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    Default The oldest photograph of Liverpool

    St George’s Hall 1851This is a special post – my 100th. When I started in January, I had a reasonably clear idea of what I wanted to do, which was to highlight the importance of photography in our understanding of the history of Liverpool. What has been a passion of mine has found focus in [...]

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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    Colin, congratulations on your centennial post. And what an image to reward us all with. Your blog is eagerly followed by many members here on Yo, including myself, and we'd like to say we all really appreciate your efforts in putting the blog together.


    St. George's Hall - the first thing that struck me about the photo was the date. I'm so used to seeing 1854, as the date of the Hall's opening, which followed 100 years after John Wood's exchange building [current Town Hall] was built in 1754. But to see an image, 3 years earlier, is really amazing. It's essentially a construction photo.


    Some observations:

    1. All the statue pedestals are empty.
    2. There's an 'A' frame contruction crane visible on the roof.
    3. Lime Street station was open and had been receiving visitors since 1836, some 15 years earlier.
    4. At the time of this photograph 'William Brown Street' didn't exist. The progress of the new Hall would've been viewed from 'Shaw's Brow'.
    5. The census population for Liverpool in 1851 was 376,000
    6. In 1851, a boy born in inner Liverpool had a life expectancy of only 26 years, compared with a boy born in the small market town of Okehampton, who could expect to live to 57
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Creator & Administrator Kev's Avatar
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    We have a thread discussing the oldest photo of Liverpool Here: http://www.yoliverpool.com/forum/sho...o-of-Liverpool

    Maigt be worth a look too

    ---------- Post added at 07:46 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:44 AM ----------

    Congrats on yoyr 100th Blog Post btw

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    Senior Member Colin Wilkinson's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link, Kev. Photographers were active from 1840 - when the first license for daguerrotypes (a positive process only) were issued. Daguerre was an artist turned photographer and visitors to the Walker Art Gallery will be acquainted with his painting on a moonlit ruin. Both he and Fox Talbot offered competing systems - Fox Talbot had invented the negative (which allowed copies to be made) - but both systems were under license, which greatly hindered photography in its early days. As a result - most commercial photographers offered only a portrait service (very lucrative, especially in Liverpool with its port and mass emigration). It was only after Fox Talbot's patent was challenged and effectively defeated in the 1850s that there was a serious growth in photography.
    It still remained a rich amateurs pursuit but there were enough of those around in Liverpool. Francis Frith is an interesting example. He made his millions after selling his wholesale grocery business on Lord Street and committed himself to full-time photography. It is rumoured that when he retired,he used his old glass negatives in his garden to build a wall. I can't bear to think of his early Liverpool negatives cemented together and ruined beyond redemption.
    There will be early images somewhere - I keep digging away!

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    Senior Member dazza's Avatar
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    There's a similar view of St. Georges Hall published in Joseph Sharple's Liverpool, but is dated 1855. Also there's image of George's Dock and the Goree which is a contender, but I don't have an exact date for it.
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.

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    Senior Member jacky gunnion's Avatar
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    hey col ur the buisiness, lov ur posts archiving them as i type,

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