Oldest Photography shop in the world(1796)

Started Mar 5, 2010 | Discussions thread
Robertsons New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Oldest Photography shop in the world(1796)
1

Robert Cohen wrote:

I'd say good for them for being around so long, but what was their business in 1796?
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--Bob

In 1796 the business was established as a pharmacy, known as Vince & Co.

At that time all manner of chemicals were easily available from pharmacists and at the very dawn of photography Vince & Co supplied all the required chemicals to those in the area who were undertaking this new "science".

During the early years of selling chemicals & supplies to photographers one Edward Frankland (originator of the theory of valency and later Knighted) undertook an apprenticeship with Vince & Co, prior to his move to London to work as an assistant with the British Geological Survey.

In the early part of the 20th century Alexander Robertson worked for the firm - he was later to become a mayor of Lancaster. Alexander's son, George, followed in his father's footsteps as a chemist and eventually took charge of the pharmacy, buying the firm and changing its name to that of his own.

My own father, Reg Stoddon, left school when he was just 15 and being madly keen on photography started working for George Robertson - he has now been working at Robertsons for over 50 years and bought the business from Mrs Robertson following the death of George in the late 1960s.

Although Vince & Co's premises were in Cheapside, Lancaster (where the present-day McDonalds stands) the company moved to Ffrances Passage for over 20 years and now resides on Brock Street, where it has been since 1989.

All my own siblings and I have worked at G.L.Robertson at some point in our teenage years and one sister & my mother still work there part time, along with my father and his staff. I think I can speak on behalf of my sisters & my brother in saying that we're all very fortunate to have grown up in & around a photographic business - we've all taken a keen interest since an early age and several of us studied photography at school as a result.

I hope I've got all the dates & info correct, which pretty much sums up the history, whys & wherefores of how a chemists in Lancaster turned into one of the earliest & longest-established photographic dealers and I hope it clears up some of the previous questions since the thread opened several years ago - I'm just sorry it's taken me this long to discover it, sorry folks!

Matt Stoddon

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