Wednesday, April 04, 2018

The King, The Prince And The Prestwich Photographer

I would guess that this little Carte de Visite from the studio of W H Martin of Prestwich, Lancashire is Edwardian rather than Victorian. I know nothing about the subject of the photograph other than he seems a bright young fellow with a rather distinctive horseshoe pattern necktie. I don't know much more about W H Martin, other than I suspect it was William H Martin who was born in Prestwich in 1878. In a description of nineteenth and twentieth century Prestwich published by Bury Metropolitan Council, Martin's photographic studios are described as follows:
"The studio on the corner of Hacking Street and advertised as "Artist and Military Photographer ... under the distinguished Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales"
The part about royal patronage sounds very grand, but every small town photographer in the land was claiming similar associations around the turn of the century. With the best will in the world, I cannot see the King and the Prince of Wales getting a tram up to Prestwich in order to have their likeness captured by Willie Martin.


  1. This isn't the first time you've mentioned a photographer who claimed "royal patronage." It seems to be the British version of the old tendency for older inns in the United States to claim "George Washington Slept Here."

  2. As it turns out, The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) was tutored by Canon Birch, who was later given the living of the Parish of Prestwich. The Parish Church of St Mary's is just around the corner from "The Studio", and so was the Victorian Rectory, where the Prince visited his former tutor on more than one occasion. The Prince of Wales also sent a wreath to the funeral of Canon Birch, who was buried in Prestwich in 1884. So William Martin's claim may actually stack up.


Black Friar

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