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April 30, 2024

Cumbria, Britain in the 1880s Through Francis Frith’s Lens

Francis Frith (1822–1898) was an English photographer of the Middle East and many towns in the United Kingdom. He was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, attending the Quaker schools at Ackworth and Quaker Camp Hill in Birmingham (ca. 1828–1838), before he started in the cutlery business.

Leaving in 1850 to start a photographic studio known as Frith & Hayward in Liverpool. A successful grocer, and later, printer, Frith fostered an interest in photography, becoming a founding member of the Liverpool Photographic Society in 1853. He sold his companies in 1855 in order to dedicate himself entirely to photography.

Frith journeyed to the Middle East on three occasions, the first of which was a trip to Egypt in 1856 with very large cameras (16" x 20"). He used the collodion process, a major technical achievement in hot and dusty conditions. When he had finished his travels in the Middle East in 1859, he opened the firm of Francis Frith & Co. in Reigate, Surrey, as the world’s first specialist photographic publisher.

In 1860, Frith married Mary Ann Rosling (sister of Alfred Rosling, the first treasurer of the Photographic Society) and embarked upon a colossal project—to photograph every town and village in the United Kingdom; in particular, notable historical or interesting sights. Initially he took the photographs himself, but as success came, he hired people to help him and set about establishing his postcard company, a firm that became one of the largest photographic studios in the world. Within a few years, over two thousand shops throughout the United Kingdom were selling his postcards.

These amazing photos are part of his work that Francis Frith took landscapes of Cumbria, Britain in the 1880s.

Cumbria. Ambleside, circa 1880

Cumbria. Ambleside & Windermere, circa 1880

Cumbria. Bleatarn, circa 1888

Cumbria. Brathay Bridge, Ambleside, circa 1880

Cumbria. Buttermere, 1889

Cumbria. Castle Rock, Borrowdale, circa 1880

Cumbria. Coniston, circa 1888

Cumbria. Derwent Water, circa 1880

Cumbria. Friars Crag, Derwent Water, circa 1880

Cumbria. Grasmere, circa 1888

Cumbria. Honister Pass, circa 1880

Cumbria. Kirkstone Pass, circa 1880

Cumbria. Langdale Pikes, circa 1880

Cumbria. Lodore Falls, Derwent Water, circa 1880

Cumbria. Rydal Vale, Lake District, circa 1888

Cumbria. Rydal Water, Lake District, 1886

Cumbria. Rydal Water, Lake District, 1886

Cumbria. Scafell Pike, circa 1880

Cumbria. Stock Ghyll Force, Lake District, circa 1880

Cumbria. The Old Mill, Windermere, circa 1880

Cumbria. The Swan Hotel, Newby Bridge, Windermere, 1888

Cumbria. Thrilmere, circa 1880

Cumbria. Ullswater, 1888

Cumbria. Windermere, circa 1880

Cumbria. Windermere, circa 1880


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