Francis Frith was an English photographer whose name became synonomous with photographing not only the Middle East, but also thousands of UK (England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland) cities, towns and villages from the 1850s. Frith is recognised as one of the great pioneers of photography. The Francis Frith Company was founded in 1860 and published photographs which were sold to tourists as souvenirs, and later as postcards.
It is the UK images (over 220,000 of them) that are included in this collection on Ancestry’s website. Covering over 7000 different places, the photos are primarily topographical – of towns, landmarks and landscapes. These include thousands of individual streets, churches, castles, landscapes, businesses, bridges, municipal buildings and locations that have been important in individuals’ lives.
Frith is best known today for the amazing archive his company created. His collection is famous as an outstanding record of British towns and villages over 110 years and provides a lot of information about everyday life over that period, often photographing the same place years apart – which gives a unique perspective of the place, building or landscape over time.
Search the Francis Frith Collection on Ancestry
The Francis Frith website
Francis Frith’s biography on Wikipedia
Ancestry’s blog post about the Collection