Thursday, 16 September 2010

Thankfull Sturdee

Born in Evelyn Street, Deptford, Thankfull Sturdee would remain interested in the town's history all his life. He is the author of Reminiscences of Old Deptford, published in 1895, which includes his own photographs as well as reproductions of older drawings and engravings. It's even more fascinating for the modern reader, as many of his contemporary images show scenes and buildings now disappeared.

Sturdee left his negatives and sets of prints to Deptford Library (they are now at Lewisham Library). However, outside Deptford he is better known as a photographer. He gave his profession as such in the 1881 census, when he was 29, and had studios in Deptford until 1910. In 1911, he became press photographer for the Daily Mirror. He retired in 1922 and died in 1934.

The first news photographs were taken in the 1850s, but had to be engraved for publication. It wasn't until the 1880s that newspapers could reproduce the photographs themselves. Technical issues remained, and on its relaunch in 1904 the Mirror was the first British daily newspaper to use photographs. Sturdee was, then, still something of a pioneer when he joined the newspaper in 1911.

I've found a copy of Sturdee's Reminiscences, so a few of his photographs will be appearing on the blog soon.

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