Collection: York and Son Collection

1870 - 1900
Collection containing Photographic and Electronic material
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The York and Son collection consists of 2412 plate glass negatives of different formats and corresponding file prints. The photography dates from c1870 to 1900.

Coverage is primarily of central London, including views of London street scenes, mercantile and commercial buildings, ecclesiastical buildings and public monuments. These include Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster, St Pauls Cathedral, the Natural History Museum and Regents Park Zoo. There are good views of the River Thames showing various working craft and interesting shots of the river frozen in the winter. There is also coverage of marches and ceremonial parades including the 1887 Jubilee and Reform protest march. There is a small amount of photography of Berkshire including Ascot, Windsor Castle and Frogmore, and Surrey, notably Epsom. The collection includes both interiors and exteriors.

It appears that many sites were re-photographed, presumably if there had been a significant alteration to the scene. Some subjects were covered in exhaustive detail, including the Albert Memorial and Waterloo Bridge.

Archival History

York and Son were one of the largest producers of lantern slides in the second half of the nineteenth century. The firm was founded by Frederick York (1823-1903) who set up as a photographic publisher in 1861, and by the later nineteenth century they were selling as many as 100,000 lantern slides per year. Frederick York was succeeded in the business by his son William, but the firm went into liquidation in 1912 and was bought by Newton and Co. It continued to trade under the name York and Son until the later 1940s, when Newtons were bought out by Associated Electrical Industries (AEI) who had no interest in the slide business. It is believed that the majority of the York and Sons negatives and lantern slides were destroyed in the 1950s and only a small fraction now survives.

Negatives depicting London views were rescued by Peter Jackson of the London Topographical Society, who subsequently donated them to the National Monuments Record (NMR) in 1995. The negatives were transferred to the NMR archive in April 1997. The collection is annotated with several contemporary numbering schemes, one of which relates to a photocopy of the relevant (undated) section from a York and Son sale catalogue which accompanied the accession and is now held in the NMR Curation collection file.

The collection was catalogued in detail between September and December 1997.


This Collection is divided into 2,412 Child Records
This Collection contains the following materials:
Photograph (Negative): 2,412
Photograph (Print): 2,438
Photograph (Digital): 2,344


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