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Old Photographs - Cambridgeshire Photographers - Ralph Herbert Lord

Photographers are listed alphabetically by surname on the following pages.

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Name:  LORD, Ralph Herbert  b: 1854 Whitby Yorks  d:1922 Salford

13 Market Place and (19 and 20) Market Street, Cambridge

Working Dates:
1878-1900 in Cambridge

Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information:

Ralph Herbert Lord has his own page on the site because he was probably the most successful Cambridgeshire photographer in artistic and technical terms, as evidenced by the range of photographic awards he won. Also thanks to members of Ralph's family we have an excellent range of images to illustrate his career.

Family Background

Ralph Lord's family trace their history back to John Lord b: 1775 Yorkshire, d: 1850 who, in 1801, married Sarah Blackburn b: c.1771 d: 30 August 1840.   They had seven children, all born in Huddersfield:

William Lord b: 1802 d: 3 November 1875
James Lord b: 1804 d: 30 July 1873
Mary Ann Lord b: 1807 d: 1862
Thomas Lord b: 1809 d: 30 August 1840
Richard Lord b: 1814 d: 10 March 1874
Henry Lord b: 1816 d: 5 October 1887. Henry Lord was a photographer in Huddersfield.
Ellen Lord b: 1820 d: 13 February 1841

Henry Lord married Mary Wilson and they had the following children, all born in Huddersfield, with the exception of Ralph Herbert Lord, who was born in Whitby.

James Wilson Lord b: 23 November 1838 d: 5 May 1872
Henry Lord b: 8 February 1816 d: 5 October 1887
Henry Blackburn Lord b: 22 March 1846 d: 11 January 1878
Thomas Cordukes Lord b: 21 April 1852 d: June 1932
Ralph Herbert Lord b: 2 October 1854
John Edwin Calvert Lord b: 5 May 1860, d: 8 October 1926 became a Justice of the Peace in Salford
Robert Calvert Lord b: 23 July 1862 d: 11 November 1862

In the 1871 census Ralph is shown as living with his parents at King Street Huddersfield and working as an assistant photographic artist. Presumably he was working for his father, Henry, who was an artist photographer and portrait and miniature painter. Two of his father's cartes de visite are shown below. The first is a photograph of Ralph Herbert Lord himself as a young man, around the mid 1870s, taken by his father. The simple coat of arms has not yet been identified - but doesn't appear to be associated with either the name of Lord, or with the place, Huddersfield.

Carte de visite of Ralph Herbert Lord, taken by his father Henry Lord.

Carte de visite of Ralph Herbert Lord, taken by his father Henry Lord. (Lord Family Collection)

Below is another of Henry Lord's cartes de visite, with a different mount, depicting an unknown couple.

Henry Lord's cartes de visite, with a different mount, depicting an unknown couple

Another Henry Lord carte de visite, with a different mount, depicting an unknown couple (Lord Family Collection)

Why was Ralph born in Whitby when all his siblings were born in Huddersfield? It is possible that Henry Lord set up a seasonal studio away from his normal Huddersfield base in order to build his business. Brett Payne's amazing Photosleuth blog at https://photosleuth.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/henry-lord-1815-1887-of-huddersfield-buxton/ shows a carte de visite from the 1860s by Henry Lord showing his address at St Peters Street, Huddersfield and also at Spring Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire. Brett Payne believes that Henry, based in Huddersfield, visited Buxton and took rooms there operating a temporary studio to take advantage of the tourists visiting the mineral springs. We know that Henry was in Buxton in August 1861 from this report in the Buxton Advertiser 31 August 1861 p5.

A Lordly Freak—Midnight Encounter.— At the Police Court, on Monday last, Mr. Henry Lord, photographic artist, charged Mr John Gibbons with assaulting him and unceremoniously divesting him of his outer garment.— From the evidence of complainant it appeared that he had been out rather later than usual, and on going to his lodging about twelve o’clock at night, defendant committed the assault complained of. Defendant, in justification, pleaded that complainant disturbed the quiet of his peaceful domicile, and not being accustomed to nocturnal interruptions, and being much aggravated with the boisterous conduct of the noble artist, administered to complainant a little chastisement, which was by him very much exaggerated.— The bench, after duly considering the case, fined the defendant Is. and costs.

Future finds of other cartes might reveal a temporary studio address in Whitby.

We don't know why Ralph chose to move to Cambridge and to set up on his own account as a photographer. From the date and place of his marriage and dates and place of birth of his two sons it is likely that Ralph had moved to Cambridge by 1878. Perhaps the family business was looking for other seasonal bases to extend their operation. Or did Ralph move initially to take up a job and later set up in business, or did he make the move to take over a business which was closing? In 1882 Ralph took over premises as a studio which had been formerly run by photographer William Farren who was advertising for someone to take over his photographic business in The Cambridge Independent Press on Saturday 25 March 1882 p4: "THE CAMBRIDGE PHOTOGRAPHIC GALLERY, MARKET STREET. Photo Apparatus, Lenses, Cameras, Furniture, and whole working plant; together with the Stock-in-Trade of Artists’ Colorman and Fancy Stationer, so successfully carried for the last 21 years by Mr. W. Farren.— Apply to above for particulars."

In the last quarter of 1878 Ralph married Annie Agnes Scott b:1856 Cambridge, at Chesterton. Annie's family were living only a few doors away from Ralph at Chesterton. In the 1881 census Ralph was living with his wife Annie and their two young sons, Ernest Henry Lord b:1879 Cambridge and Herbert William b:1880 Cambridge, in Chesterton Road Cambridge. His occupation was shown as a photographer. Shortly after the 1881 census when William Scott, Ralph Lord's father in law, died, Ralph was an executor to his estate and at that point Ralph's address was shown as 14 Spring Terrace, Cambridge, and William Scott's address at 2 Spring Terrace. The photograph below by Cambridge photographers Farren is of Annie Agnes Scott before she married Ralph. Below this is a JE Bliss Portrait of William Scott, Ralph's father in law. Did Ralph work for either Farren or Bliss and meet his future wife and her family through either firm?

Portrait of Annie Agnes Scott, who married Ralph in 1878, taken by W. Farren

Portrait of Annie Agnes Scott, who married Ralph in 1878, taken by W. Farren (Lord Family Collection)

Portrait of William Scott by JE Bliss

Portrait of William Scott taken by JE Bliss, (Lord Family Collection)

In 1891 Ralph was still recorded as a photographer, living in Cambridge with his wife, two sons and two daughters in Union Road, Chesterton, Cambridge (now called Union Lane), at a house named Aldham House, which still stands today. His occupation was a photographer. In 1901 Ralph and his family were at the same address and he was still shown as a photographer.

Aldham House, Union Lane Chesterton today

Aldham House, Union Lane in 2017 (Author's Collection)

Ralph's brother, Thomas Cordukes Lord moved to Cambridge and joined him in his business around 1886 See the entry for TC Lord for more details

By 1901 Ralph's son Herbert William Lord had joined him in the business and was also shown as a photographer.

Portrait of Ralph Herbert Lord c.1890

Portrait of Ralph Herbert Lord c.1890

Ralph was clearly a man of ambition and drive with a good sense of business. He became a District Councillor in Cambridge from 1894. His home at Aldham House would have been at the edge of the built part of Chesterton, surrounded by countryside. Ralph set up an additional business there as a dairy farmer. According to what has become family folklore, Ralph was the first person to import Jersey cows into England and they provided the milk and butter for Aldham house dairy. Jersey cows are known for the high quality of their milk, The Jersey Cattle Society claim that Jersey cows existed on the UK mainland since 1741, so the claim that Ralph was their first importer may need some qualification. The Aldham House dairy supplied a number of the Cambridge Colleges with butter in yard square trays, one inch thick, divided into 1 inch squares. This butter was only from the milk of Jersey cows. Dairy produce was also available from Ralph's business at 19/20 Market Street. Below is a photograph of an Aldham House Dairy delivery cart.

Aldham House Dairy delivery cart

Aldham House Dairy cart, 1890s (Lord Family Collection)

Observations from a former employee

Percy M. Clark, b: Cambridge 1874, d: 1937 was a photographer who spent many years operating at Victoria Falls in what was then Rhodesia. In 1936 he published his autobiography "The Autobiography of an old drifter", George G Harrap and Co Ltd. The book lacks dates for most of the events recorded, but from the general chronology the following can be dated to around 1896/7. On page 38 he recalls:

When it became apparent that a career in Chemistry was not for me and I had given up the idea of it in disgust, my earlier leanings towards photography influenced my choice in the matter of another job. I became a pupil for 12 months with Mr R.H.Lord, a photographer in Cambridge.

My master was a man of character with the most likeable traits. He was an artist to his finger tips and if the 'aitches' he dropped so often turned up again in odd places, his pictures had a way of winning medals. His heart however was really centred on the farm he ran as a sideline. He bred collies, and his great ambition was to breed a specimen worth a hundred pounds. On his farm he had a herd of Alderney cows. So much was his mind on the farm and dairy produce that right in the middle of taking a photograph he would break off to call to his son: "Berti! Have you sent that butter to Mrs Whosit?" As a pupil I had many privileges. Mr Lord was a non smoker, who did not like tobacco smoke. It was my habit to smoke my pipe in the dark room while he was developing, making the poor old lad cough with streaming eyes. It wasn't until he protested mildly that my "bacca would kill at a thousand yards" that I took pity on him and gave up smoking in the dark-room. When I left Mr Lord's and Cambridge I went as an outdoor operator with Boughton's a well known firm of photographers in Lowestoft, for the season.

Ralph Lord's Photography

Ralph, more than any other professional photographer listed on this site, used his success in photographic exhibitions as a key promotional asset. Ralph photographed round the county as well as undertaking studio work. He exhibited widely and successfully in London, Liverpool, Cardiff and Vienna, winning 20 medals and awards between 1886 and 1893. Below are some of his exhibited prints, still in the possession of his family. These are all printed 22in x 14in, which was the size of the glass plates he used.

Neddie's New Shoes  by RH Lord

Neddy's New Shoes, 1886, exhibited at the 1886 Annual Exhibition of the Photographic Society of Great Britain. This photograph was submitted to Stationers Hall for copyright purposes on 30 July 1886. (Lord Family Collection)

Potato Peeling

Potato Peeling, 1888, exhibited at the 1888 Annual Exhibition of the Photographic Society of Great Britain. (Lord Family Collection)

Try Again by RH Lord

Try Again, 1889, exhibited at the 1889 Annual Exhibition of the Photographic Society of Great Britain. This is a composite picture with both figures and the background photographed separately. The lady’s shadow was compiled using bricks. This photograph was submitted to Stationers Hall for copyright purposes on 4 September 1889 (Lord Family Collection)

An Idle Moment by RH Lord

An Idle Moment, 1890, exhibited at the 1890 Annual Exhibition of the Photographic Society of Great Britain. (Lord Family Collection)

Work and Play by RH Lord

Work and Play, 1890, exhibited at the 1890 Annual Exhibition of the Photographic Society of Great Britain. This is (or rather was) Trumpington Windmill, Cambridge, and it is believed the two boys playing marbles were Ralph's sons. (Lord Family Collection)

Fenland by RH Lord

Fenland, date unknown, believed c. 1891 (Lord Family Collection)

The Grinder by RH Lord

The Grinder 1891, exhibited at the 1891 Annual Exhibition of the Photographic Society of Great Britain. (Lord Family Collection)

How's That by R.H.Lord

How's That, 1892, exhibited at the 1892 Annual Exhibition of the Photographic Society of Great Britain. (Lord Family Collection)

You Stupid Boy by R.H.Lord

You Stupid Boy 1893, Platinum Print, exhibited at the 1893 Annual Exhibition of the Photographic Society of Great Britain. Again it is believed that Ralph's sons were incorporated in this image, (Lord Family Collection)

Ralph was also a portrait and miniature painter. His artistic skills are clearly demonstrated in the portrait below, believed to be a very well executed hand tinted portrait on porcelain of a child. The size of the portrait is 11.5 x 9.5 inches and it is signed by RH Lord and dated 1886. It may be a portrait of one of Ralph's children.

1886 painted portrait of a child by RH Lord

Hand tinted portrait of a child on porcelain, dated 1886 and signed by RH Lord (Lord family collection)

Ralph Herbert Lord submitted seven pieces of work between 1884 and 1896 to Stationers' Hall for copyright protection. These give an idea of the breadth of his work. Also the 1896 item shows Lord completing work for Marion and Co who were major photographic publishers:

  • Two photographs of Bishop Harrington, wearing surplice, facing right of picture. (Form completed 30 October 1884.TNA COPY 1/370/136
  • Photograph of blacksmith's forge with three figures. Form Completed 30 July 1886. TNA COPY 1/377/159
  • Photograph from life entitled 'Neddy's New Shoes', man shoeing donkey.' Form Completed 30 July 1886.TNA COPY 1/377/158
  • Photograph 'Netting' Fisherman at door of dwelling & netting. Form Completed 21 January 1887. TNA COPY 1/379/74
  • Photograph 'Osier Peeling', a female at work stripping the bark away from thin branches. Form completed 12 May 1887.TNA COPY 1/380/360
  • Composition photograph from life country cottage interior, man seated with glass in hand, woman seated threading needle. Form completed 4 September 1889. TNA COPY 1/397/420
  • Photograph of race horse entitled 'Florizel II'. Copyright owner of work: Marion and Company, 22-23 Soho Square, London (major photographic publishers and equipment suppliers). Copyright author of work: Ralph Herbert Lord, Market Street, Cambridge. Form completed: 4 February 1896. TNA COPY 1/423/510

Examples of Ralph's day-to-day portrait work are shown below. The first three cartes de visite are from the carte de visite collection in the Cambridgeshire Collection. (Apologies for the poor photocopies). The first of these is mounted on an over-printed mount from Lord's predecessor, Farren Photographic Studio. This must be the earliest variation of Lord's mounts dating from 1884. The second carte appears the next in date sequence and interestingly the image shows exactly the same studio set and props. The third carte - a close up vignette - can be dated from its reverse, which refers to a medal at the Exhibition of the Photographic Society of London 1886. In fact Ralph exhibited his work at the annual exhibition of the Photographic Society of Great Britain every year from 1884 to 1893.

Next a pair of cartes de visite – both head and shoulders portraits, that of the bonneted lady appearing to be the earlier from her dress. This is mounted on cream card with "R H Lord Cambridge" on the face. On the reverse is “R.H.Lord Portrait and Miniature Painter 13 Market Place Market Street Cambridge, negatives kept copies can always be obtained”. The mount is by Marion, Paris, coded _.._ and bears a crest of a member of the Royal Family and Knight of the Garter, presumably indicating Royal patronage of some sort. The sitter's clothing suggests an earlier date than those spanned by Lord, but the head and shoulders portrait and the address and printer of the mount probably put this carte in the 1880s. This mount probable pre-dates the one with the London Exhibition 1886. The next carte is later – having medals up to 1893 listed on the rear. The sitter’s name appears on the face "H.H.Stiff". The next image is a cabinet photograph of similar age of a young man with folded arms signed on the rear as “Ernie”. Next a cabinet photograph of an unknown lady holding curtain, has the simple legend on the face "RH Lord, Gold Medallist Utrecht, Market Street Cambridge", the reverse is blank. This is probably from the late 1890s. Below this there are two cabinet photographs of a smartly dressed young couple, the reverse containing many illustrations of Ralph's photographic medals up to and including two from 1894. The reverse of one of these is dated in manuscript 1896. Last a carte de visite on a black card mount, reverse blank, face "R.H.Lord corner of Market St Market Place, Cambridge. This has been dated in manuscript May 1884 and the sitter is named as ES Fardell.

Three cartes de visite, RH Lord

Reverse of three cartes de visite, RH Lord

Rear of cartes, variations (a) c.1884, (b)1884 - 1885 (c)1886 - 1887 (Cambridgeshire Collection)

Two cartes de visite by R.H.Lord

Reverse of the above two cartes de visite

Reverse of RH Lord Carte variation (d)1886-1893    Reverse of RH Lord Carte variation (e) post 1893 (Author's collection)

Cabinet photograph by RH Lord

Reverse of cabinet photograph by RH Lord

More detail of reverse of RH Lord mount variation (e) post 1893 (author's collection)

Cabinet photograph, RH Lord

(f) has a blank reverse probably from the later 1890s (Author's collection)

R.H.Lord, cabinet photograph of unknown couple 1896

R.H.Lord, cabinet photograph of unknown couple 1896

(g) Two portraits of a smart looking couple, the first of these is dated in manuscript "May 24th 1896", and the most recent of the medals shown on the reverse are dated 1994


(h) portrait of middle aged lady with beaded hat, more detail of mount shown in (c) above 1886-1887, mount is by Samuel Fry and Co Ltd (author's collection)

Dated Lord carte de visite May 1884

(i) Carte de visite on black glossy mount with beveled gilt edge and plain back. "RH Lord, corner of Market St Market Place Cambridge" on face, dated May 1884, sitter named as ES Fardell (author's collection)

Early R.H.Lord carte de visite from shortly after he took over Farren's Studio.

j) Carte de visite of unknown young man on black mount with gilt lettering "R.H.Lord, Late Farren, corner of Market St & Market Place. Cambridge". One of the first mounts used by Ralph Lord after taking over Farren's Studio. The reverse is blank. (Michael Brown Collection)

Ralph Lord - after his photographic career in Cambridge.

Despite his success as a photographer and dairyman at some point around 1901 (1900 was the date of his last Kelly's Directory entry as a Cambridge photographer) Ralph changed location and profession. By 1911, unlikely as it may seem, he was an asphalt and concrete contractor in Lancashire, as was his son Herbert William Lord. He had made this move to work with his younger brother, John Edwin Calvert Lord, b: 1861 Huddersfield, who had a career in construction having been a joiner in 1881, an architect and railway contractor in 1891, an asphalt contractor and manufacturing chemist in 1901 and a tar distiller and contractor in 1911. John Edwin Calvert Lord was obviously successful in what he did as he and his wife Sarah Ann were living in a 12 room house in Salford, with two residential servants in 1911. JEC Lord also became a Justice of the Peace in Salford. The family tradition is that Ralph was promised a partnership, but for whatever reason this was not forthcoming and so, after returning to the North, Ralph set up on his own account, in the mastic asphalt business, which is used for floors and flat roofs . The firm Ralph established has remained in his family. It was made into a limited company in 1931 and still trades today in Salford, run now by Ralph's great granddaughter and his great great grandson.

Ralph's photographic studio at 19-20 Market Street, Cambridge, was taken over by photographers Mason and Basebe. The photograph below shows the premises at 19-20 Market Street today 2017.

19-20 Market Street Cambridge, former studio of RH Lord

19-20 Market Street Cambridge in 2017 - RH Lord's former studio


Portrait of Ralph and Annie in retirement in Salford (Lord Family Collection)

Whilst he was in Manchester, Ralph set up another successful venture in the form of a Rough Collie kennel in Preston, kennel name Seedley, and he was very successful in breeding collies, exporting some of his dogs to America. Ralph has been described as one of "the great breeders who in effect created the modern show collie" (Bred for Perfection: Shorthorn Cattle, Collies, and Arabian Horses Since 1800 by Margaret E. Derry). "Seedley Sterling, considered the finest Rough Collie of all time, was bred in England by R H Lord, whose dogs became the foundation stock of some of the best known Rough Collies in America. Seedley Sterling was painted in 1916 by F Sinet" (The Giant Book of Dog Names by Laurie Bogart Morrow)

Ralph died in Salford in 1922.



It is believed that more of Ralph Lord's award winning exhibition prints may have survived. If you know of the whereabouts of any of his prints which are not illustrated here, please get in touch with webmaster@fadingimages.uk as we would like to complete this page in memory of one of Cambridge's outstanding photographers. Currently missing are at least: 'Florizel II', photographs of Bishop Harrington, "Netting", and "Osier peeling"



  • We are most grateful to Ralph's great granddaughter for much of the information above and for permission to reproduce photographs above by Ralph Herbert Lord and marked as from the Lord family collection. She appeared on the Antiques Roadshow, Series 23, Episode 17, in Salford on 26th January 2001 with a number of Ralph's photographs.
  • Mike Petty, The Photographers, (a handlist of local photographers), Cambridge, Cambridgeshire Collection, 1992.
  • Spaldings Directory of Cambridge 1884
  • Mike Petty, An Eye on the Past, Cambridge Weekly News, 7/3/1991
  • Kelly's Directory of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, Kelly and Co London April 1888 lists Ralph at 13 Market St, Kelly's Directories of 1892, 1896 and 1900 in Market St
  • List of exhibitions at the Photographic Society of Great Britain, later the Royal Photographic Society every year from 1884 to 1894 (he was a member from 1887-94) http://erps.dmu.ac.uk/exhibitor_details.php?year=1887&efn=R.+H.+Lord
  • Some of Ralph's non studio work is in Cambridge University Library, recorded here: http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0012%2FMS%20Add.9845%2F3%2F1
  • Cambridgeshire Collection, Cartes de visite collection, c.65.5, (17 RH Lord cartes de visite and 8 cabinet photographs)
  • Photosleuth blog by Brett Payne https://photosleuth.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/henry-lord-1815-1887-of-huddersfield-buxton/

Top of page

Photographers are listed alphabetically by surname on the following pages.

0 - 9 | Aa-Ak | Al-Ao | Ap-As | At-Az | Ba-Bak | Bal-Bam | Ban-Bd | Be-Bh | Bi-Bk | Bl-Bn | Bo-Bp | Br-Bt | Bu-Bz | Ca-Ck | Cl-Cn | Coa-Cor | Cos-Cz | Da-Dh | Di-Dq | Dr-Dz | Ea-Ec | Ed-Ez | Fa-Fh | Fi-Fz | Ga-Gd | Ge-Gq | Gr-Gz | Ha-Hd | He-Hh | Hi-Hn | Ho-Hz | Ia-Iz | Ja-Je | Jf-Jz | Ka-Kz | La-Ld | Le-Ln | Lo-Lz | Maa-Mad | Mae-Mar | Mas-Mb | Mc-Mi | Mj-Mz | Na-Nh | Ni-Nn | No-Nz | Oa-Oz | Pa-Pb | Pc-Ph | Pi-Po | Pr-Pz | Qa-Qz | Ra-Rd | Re-Rh | Ri-Rz | Sa-Sb | Sc-Sf | Sg-Sk | Sla-Slz | Sma-Ss | Sta-Std | Ste-Sth | Sti-Sy | Ta-Te | Tf-Ti | Tj-Tz | Ua-Uz | Va-Vz | Wa-We | Wf-Wh | Wi-Wz | XYZ


www.FadingImages.uk is a non-commercial web site for local and family historians, listing photographers in Cambridgeshire 1840-2000
This page was last modified: 13 November 2020, 17:16

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