Early Days

There were rapid technical developments in photography in the middle of the 19th century. These paved the way for Victorians to develop an appetite for having their photographs taken. Very popular was the idea of having a small photograph taken and mounted on card as a 'carte de visit'. These would then be collected and exchanged. Most towns had at least one photographer and their presence can be detected in Trade Directories of the period. It was likely that photographers visited Malton and set up temporary studios before it became viable for permanent studios to be established. One such photographer was a Mr Kaim who advertised in an early edition of the Malton & Norton Gazette (13 October 1855)

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Photographers in the Trade Directories

1889 Kellys:
Boak, Matthew, Market place
Mahoney, John, St. Michael street
1890 Bulmers:
Boak, M & Sons, Market place
Mahoney, J, St. Michael street
1893 Kellys:
Albert Bradbury, St. Michael street
1905 Kellys:
Boak, Matthew & Co., 49 Market place
Smith, Randolph Edwin, 7 St. Michael street
1913 Kellys:
Harry Edwards, 49 Market place
Smith, Randolph Edwin, 7 St. Michael street.

Randolph and Stanley Smith

In the 1891 Census, Randolph Smith is listed as a 16 year old photographer's apprentice living with his parents and brother Stanley in Greengate. In the 1901 Census, Stanley is now also a photographer and employer. His sister Gertrude is described as a 'photographer's assistant.'

It would appear that Randolph Edwin and Stanley Octavius Smith were in business together as Smith Brothers as an entry in the London Gazette [1] announces that by mutual consent their partnership was dissolved on 31st July 1902.

It was reported that King Edward VII had accepted from Mr. Randolph Smith, of the St. Michael Street studio, Malton, an album of photographic views of the local Coronation celebrations. [2]

Stanley died in early 1906, his death being registered at Scarborough. Bennett's Business Directory of 1910 lists Randolph Smith as a photographer, 7 St. Michael's street, as do the Kelly's directories of 1913 and 1929.

Randolph advertises in 1923 [3] that he has updated his studio in St. Michael's street with electricity so that photographs could be taken in the evenings. Randolph died in early 1929.

[1] London Gazette, 5 August 1902

[2] Sheffield Daily Telegraph 8 September, 1902

[3] Malton Messenger, 1 December 1923

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Richard Eaton O'Connor

Perhaps one of the first photographers to set up business in Malton. On the 1861 census he is lodging in Saville street and described as a photographer. His marriage to a Catherine Killen is reported in the Malton Messenger of 7th February 1863 - the announcement describes him as a 'photographic artist' and they both being 'of Malton'.

By the time the 1871 census had been taken Richard and Catherine are living in Bridlington.

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William George Froom

Photographer and tobacconist, had a large studio near the railway station. In 1870 he was advertising that 'W.G.F's Photographs are considered perfection, and acknowledged by all to be the best in Malton' [1] Unfortunately in 1872 there was a large fire resulting in lenses and negatives being destroyed and 'so voracious were the flames that there were nothing but some pieces of iron framework and a small stove left unconsumed' [2].

Mr Froom stated that his insurance covered only £200 of the loss. Perhaps this led to business difficulties as in 1875 the business went into 'liquidation by arrangement' [3] William had set up as a photographer in Farnham, Surrey by the time of the 1881 census.

[1] Malton Messenger, 17 September 1870

[2] York Herald, 7 Sep 1872

[3] Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 5 May 1875

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The Boaks

Matthew Boak already had studios in both Bridlington and Driffield when he purchased the Malton studios of Mr. Froom. His proud announcement in 1876 reads: ' Mr. Boak, photographers Driffield, announces that he has purchased the Studio, negatives and business of Mr. Froom, late of Malton, near the railway station, where he intends shortly to carry on the business' [1]. At some point, Mr. Boak either moved or opened another studio in the Market-place. Matthew Boak died on 13 March, 1906. In his will, Matthew left his daughter Mary 'his share and interest in the business of a photographer' at Bridlington, and left £600 in trust for his son William [2].
His trustees offered at auction a block of freehold property comprising photographic shop, showroom and studio, also a shop occupied by the Balloon Yeast Store. The block occupying a central position in the Market-place. The lot was withdrawn. [3]
Matthew had sons, William, Johnson (who were also photographers) and Charles, and daughters, Mary (described in the 1891 census as an 'artist and retoucher'), Frances and Katherine. It seems likely that Johnson took a major role in the Malton studio as there are photographs in the National Archives said to be in the copyright of Johnson Boak, Helio House, Malton. A newspaper report states him as being a partner, with his father in the Malton business [4].
[1] Malton Gazette, 30 September 1876
[2] Driffield Times, 2 June 1906
[3] Driffield Times, 14 July 1906
[4] Driffield Times, 3 October 1906

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Harry Edwards

He took the Boak premises in Malton - his advertisements in the local press suggesting this [1]. An advertisement in the Malton Messenger, 21st August 1909, tells us that Helio House was opposite the premises of Fitch & co. He is listed in the 1911 census as boarding at 26 Cemetery Road and in business on his own account.
[1] Yorkshire Gazette, 20 November 1909

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John Mahoney

Another Malton photographer. While boating on the Derwent he found a body in the river [1]. He operated from the Albert Studio in St. Michael's street and is mentioned in Kelly’s 1889 Directory of the North and East Ridings.
[1] Yorkshire Gazette, 11 June 1887

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H Bumby

In late 1863 a Mr Bumby announced his intention to start business in Malton




H. BUMBY having studied under one of the first masters of photographic art, intends shortly to OPEN a GALLERY near to the Railway Station, Malton, where he purposes Executing Portraits, and the various branches of the art, in a manner not hitherto attained in this neighbourhood – his object being to obtain popularity and success by the merit of his productions alone. His apparatus being manufactured by Mons. Jamin, of Paris, combines all the latest improvements, which will enable him to produce a picture, not only a ‘facsimile’ of the original, but a pleasing study. To those having favourite horses, or other quadrupeds, whose likeness they would wish to perpetuate, this will be found, not only a cheap mode of obtaining them, but the exact counterpart. Further particulars next week.

Malton Messenger, 31 October 1863





Malton Messenger, 14 November 1863




H. BUMBY wishes to call the attention of the public generally to the NEW PARISIAN VIGNETTE, which he is now producing in connection with the CARTE DE VISITE, which are executed in the best style of art, and at such terms as cannot fail to give general satisfaction. An Achromatic Lens for specially copying works of art. A large and well assorted Stock of ALBUMS, CARET DE VISITE HOLDERS, PARISIAN COUPLETS, &c, suitable for Christmas Presents, at extremely low prices.

Malton Messenger, 5 December 1863

WS and E Hall

In the 1861 census William and Edwin Hall, brothers, were described as joiners, living in Finkle Street. However in 1862 advertisements appeared in the Malton Messenger.





Malton Messenger, 28 June 1862

The friends and admirers of the Rev. C. STOCKDALE can have his PORTRAIT on application to W.S. and E. HALL, Photographers, Finkle-street, Malton

Malton Messenger, 19 July 1862

Presumably William and Edwin were successful as they opened additional premises


W.S. and E. HALL take this opportunity of informing their patrons that in addition to their establishment, in Finkle-Street, they have secured premises opposite to the Crown Inn, Wheelgate, Malton, with an approach from Chapel Lane also, where their future operations will be in part conducted. Anxious to meet a want of the times they have enlarged and lighted their gallery according to the latest advances in science, with a special adaptation to the now universally admired ALBUM PHOTOGRAPH, or CARTE DE VISITE, inviting attention to their improved apparatus and accessories, whereby not only faithful delineations of nature are produced but interesting pictures.

Malton Messenger, 11 April 1863




WM.S. and E. HALL in tendering their unfeigned thanks to their numerous friends for the extended patronage during the present season, beg to say that they now undertake the execution of PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAITURE in the most MODERN STYLES, from the smallest miniatures up to life size, at prices strictly moderate.

Malton Messenger, 14 November 1863

Edwin is mentioned in September 1867 when two photographs of the members of the Malton Archery Club, taken by him, were presented to a Mr. and Mrs J. Soulby [1]. In the 1871 census Edwin is described as a ‘photographic artist’ living with a young family in the Marketplace. In the 1881 census he is still in the Marketplace but living at the Temperance Hotel where his wife is described as ‘Temperance Hotel Keeper’. Daughter Elizabeth is now also a photographer. At some point he also had studios at St. Michael Street as publicised on the back of a number of his carte de visite.

[1] Yorkshire Gazette, 28 September 1867

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Charles Caisley Bogg

Charles Caisley Bogg also operated a studio from 7 St. Michael street.

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Sidney E Yorke

He was a blacksmith in Malton but evidently had an interest in photography too. In January 1900 he was given a big send-off to join the forces in the Boer war [1]. In 1901 he has been invalided from the forces and is showing lantern slides at the Malton Industrial Exhibition [2]
[1] York Herald, 8 January 1900
[2] Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 7 February 1901

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Albert Bradley

In the 1890s Mr. Bradbury was a jeweller at 6 St. Michael street and evidently had a photography sideline (listed in Kellys 1893 Directory as 'watchmaker & photographer').

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