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Victorian Photography

November 30, 2009

Fry's Cocoa

The Ladder

Edward Grove Tailor

I am a great fan of anything Victorian. I love the quirkiness of the era, especially the earlier years when things were changing so fast and society was an eclectic  mix of propriety, low morals, strange people, and wonderful inventions.

If you’re like me and love looking at old photos of people and their clothing and their antics from that era, pop over to the British Library photographic display at Point of View and see what you recognise.

How about Fry’s Chocolate? Have you heard of it? Eaten it?

Dr Joseph Fry, a Quaker apothecary with remarkable business acumen, took advantage of the opportunity presented by the deaths of the Bristol chocolate manufacturer, Walter Churchman and his son Charles to purchase their patent on a water engine and recipes for making fine chocolate. At first, the cocoa and chocolate business was run from Joseph Fry’s apothecary shop in Small Street, Bristol. After Joseph’s death in 1787, the business passed to his wife, Anna and subsequently to his son, Joseph Storrs Fry who, with his three sons, considerably expanded the family business under the name of J S Fry & Sons. In 1847, the firm produced an early version of a chocolate bar, which, by 1853, had evolved into the product later well known as Fry’s Chocolate Cream.

Do you need a reputable tailor?

At the beginning of the 19th century, all fashionable clothing for the upper classes was made by hand. Ladies and gentlemen selected fabrics, trimmings and threads and arranged for them to be made up by their tailor. A trade in ready-made clothing developed steadily during the century and was well established by the 1870s but wealthy Victorians still preferred to use tailors like Edward Grove.

And the earliest phographs are a real treat! Who would photograph a ladder?

Photographer: William Henry Fox Talbot  ‘The Ladder, May 1845’



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