By the 1880s, the photographic world was a whirl of enterprise and competition. Every opportunity was seized by photographers to promote their services to as wide a range of customers as possible. One way in which this was achieved was to advertise on the reverse of the images they captured, another was to get the local press onside. What follows is a prime example of how photographers reached out to the local community.
In 1881, the Norwood, Forest Hill, Dulwich and District Illustrated carried a written advertisement for a local business. The enterprise in question was a photography studio, managed by Mr C. Schofield of 19 Beckenham Road, Penge.
The article gives a potted biography of Mr Schofield’s career to date, four years after he took over the premises on Beckenham Road, as well as a discription of the already well-established premises. ‘Conveniently situated’ across from the local railway station, it boasted an entrance ‘effectively adorned with glass showcases’ , displaying some ‘splendid specimens of artistic photography’. The studio itself was to the rear of the building and fitted out for the ‘production of high-class portraits’.
Mr Schofield had soon established a reputation as a ‘skilful and experienced ‘ photographer, with a ‘thorough practical and scientific’ knowledge of his trade. Not only could personal portraits be produced but also outdoor views, all at ‘extremely moderate charges’ for the superior class of work produced. ‘Enlargements, reproductions and copies’ could also be supplied by the Penge studio, enjoying as it did ‘a favourable and widespread reputation’. Mr Schofield is described as ‘artistic and cultivated’ as well as ‘energetic and capable’. It seems his business acumen knew no bounds and he was destined to enjoy further success in his future dealings with his clientele.
Sadly, Mr C Schofield is not among my collection of photographers. However, I have included views of a few other studios from trade cards of the time.