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Frederick Fisher opened his photographic business on Grantham High Street in 1854, during the very early days of photography





Frederick Fisher opened his photographic business on the High Street in 1854, writes Ruth Crook of Grantham Civic Society.

It was during the early days of photography and he advertised that his Daguerreotype portraits, complete with frame, cost 6s. each. The image could also be coloured for 1s. extra.

In 1855 he advertised that, as well as a photographer with a fully fitted room for taking photographs, he was also a painter, gilder and picture frame maker.

A photograph taken by Frederick Fisher in Grantham in the 1850s.
A photograph taken by Frederick Fisher in Grantham in the 1850s.

The world’s first photograph was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce with a camera obscura in 1826. The earliest photo of people was taken by Louis Daguerre in 1838 in Paris. The first commercial photography process was called the Daguerrotype and was announced in 1839. It used polished copper plates on which the image was exposed.

The location of Frederick Fisher's photographic business in High Street, Grantham, in the 1850s.
The location of Frederick Fisher's photographic business in High Street, Grantham, in the 1850s.

Victorians embraced photography, because it was the first time that images of loved ones were available to the ordinary population; paintings were usually only available to the wealthy. In 1850s England, workers were paid 20s per week on average, so the cost of a photograph was still a third of a weekly wage.

Fisher enabled us to see what Grantham in the 1850s looked like. It is hard to image that some of the people in the photograph might have been born in the eighteenth century.



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