A ‘snapper’ snapped

From the earliest days of popular photography, photographers often supplemented their income from other sources. There were photographers who were chemists, frame-makers, stationers, and in one case, a jobbing gardener. Charles Christian Page was none of these. He made his living as a commission agent (taking bets on sporting fixtures for paying customers) and sometime photographer. However, neither of these occupations brought him much success or indeed happiness and he turned to drink.

In 1903, Charles Page, also known as Thomas Jenkins or Fred Morris, of Wenman Street, was hauled up before Birmingham City Police court. His crime was that of being ‘drunk on licensed premises’, something that probably occurred quite frequently. His crime, a description of his physical appearance and several mug shots, were duly recorded in the Birmingham Pub Blacklist. At the time of his conviction he was 43 years old, of fresh complexion, with brown hair and grey eyes and probably shortsighted; sadly he was also unemployed.


This photograph of Charles Page, ironically taken by a police photographer for the files, shows what was once a respectable man, now brought low by drink. To pay for his crime he was ordered either to pay ten shillings plus costs or face fourteen days of hard labour. I have yet to discover which punishment he chose or indeed, anything else about his life. The fact that he used aliases made it difficult to find him in either the census or trade directories. The image in the snapshot speaks volumes, truly a case of the snapper being snapped.

Published by qvictoria

A collector of Victorian photographs for many a long year. I'm interested in both the individual photographs and the studio advertising on the 'backs' of the images, Victorian graphic design at its most varied and interesting. My collection of "cartes de visite" photographs is housed in plastic pockets within a series of albums, numerically arranged in order as they are acquired. There are now roughly 3000 photographers and images in all. I use directories, newspapers and genealogical information to research the life and work of each photographer and their studio but there aren't enough hours in the day. This photo is one of my collection, chosen for the gentle expression in the face of the sitter.

%d bloggers like this: