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Old Photographs - Cambridgeshire Photographers - Ra-Rd

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

Address: Briefly 20 St Andrews Street Cambridge 1932-4 then in 1934 moved to Post Office Terrace, incorporating the business of J Palmer Clarke. See also our entry for PAL Brunney
Working Dates: 1932 - 1980
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information: Lettice Ramsey Née Baker, 1898 -1985, a graduate of Newnham College Cambridge married Cambridge mathematician and philosopher, Frank Ramsey in 1926. Frank died in 1930 and Lettice looked for a new way to support herself and her two young daughters. In 1932 she set up in the photographic business with Helen Muspratt, a Dorset photographer who had trained at Regent Street Polytechnic in London. Lettice had the Cambridge contacts to get the firm work while Helen had the photographic skills and experience. In 1937 Helen Muspratt moved to Oxford and set up a second studio for the firm there. While the partnership continued, Helen ran the Oxford Studio and Lettice the Cambridge one. In the 1939 Register Lettice was listed as a photographer and widow, living at 4 Mortimer Road, Cambridge. Living at this address as lodgers were a university law lecturer and a research student, plus a domestic servant.

One of the firm's long term employees from 1936 to 1958, and a Director of the firm after WW2, was Philip Alexander Lake Brunney. PAL Brunney's son, John, recalls that there were other employees at Ramsey and Muspratt over the years. Lettice was one of those people who "collected" interesting people around her and all of her staff were "real characters". After the war there were photo spotters and re-touchers Connie, (From Greece?), Eileen (later a photographer with the firm) and Greeta (a German Jewish refugee?) and by the mid 1960s there were three ladies working there as photographers: Eileen, Elizabeth and Jill, the surnames all not known by John. We have been helped here by Sandy McPhoenix who says that Connie was her husbands grandmother, Constance Goldschmidt (née Harlow 1895-1964), who came to Cambridge to escape from Nazi Germany in 1935 and lived in Victoria Road with her daughter Evie. Her co-worker Greeta was Grete Zobel (1913-2005).

Nicholas Lee took over the business in 1978 when Lettice retired. In 1980 the Cambridge Yellow Pages listed "Nicholas Lee of Ramsey and Muspratt". The business was then purchased by Peter Lofts in 1980. There is an extensive indexed negative collection from the firm in the Cambridgeshire Collection, deposited by Peter Lofts after he bought up the business. Cambridge Yellow Pages continued to list the firm's name from 1980-85, but with the same telephone number as Peter Lofts. The old Post Office Terrace Studio building was renovated for other use in 1985.

Ramsey and Muspratt are best known for their portrait work. Their sympathetic, well lit images quickly made the firm fashionable, photographing the up and coming and influential throughout the 1930s, including Anthony Blunt and Virginia Woolf. The firm also undertook a wide range of commercial photography. On 25 Oct 1935 the Cambridge Daily News reported "Ramsey and Muspratt's photographic work will be even more distinctive by the use of the solarization process in certain of their portraits. It produces quite different results from the usual photograph as by chemical means a black line is made to outline the face of the subject giving it the appearance of a drawing. Their other work captures not only the face but the character of the subject." They were very successful where they entered exhibitions, having two photographs accepted in the London Salon of Photography in both 1936 and 1937.

The postcard below, with a close-up section beneath, is from a 1925 glass plate negative by Edward Mott in the Cambridgeshire Collection ( B.And.K25. 3965 - negative MNH 46.8 - reproduced with their permission). The "Dyers" sign on the left hand side of the road in the distance relates to the firm on the ground floor of 20 St Andrews Streeet, the building where Ramsey and Muspratt started their business.

We have transcribed the studio diaries for the firm for 1932, 1933 and 1935 and an order book from 1934. You can download the transcripts and an introduction to the diaries here: RMCompleteV2.pdf (134 page .pdf)

This link will take you to more on the firm's first premises at 20 St Andrews Street, Cambridge

Below is a charming portrait of a baby with rattle 14 x 10.5 cm, with backstamp "Ramsey & Muspratt 20 St Andrews Street Cambridge" c.1932, (author's collection). Below this is a portrait of Miss Charmian Goldney WVS, c.1950 (author's collection) photo size 8cm x 11cm on cream mount 6in x 4in. The face of the mount has written in manuscript in pencil "Ramsey & Muspratt Cambridge & Oxford". The rear is stamped with a simple rubber stamp " Ramsey & Muspratt Post Office Terrace, Cambridge" the stamp measures approx 6cm wide. Below this is a portrait of Lettice Ramsey by PAL Brunney c. 1970. Next is a 1950s portrait of an unknown woman - the name "Edith" is written on the reverse in manuscript, a 4.25 x 5.75 inch photo on cream card and tissue mount with "Ramsey & Muspratt Cambridge" in manuscript on the tissue mount.

There is more on Post Office Terrace Studio and the extensive archive of negatives from the studio on this site here: www.fadingimages.uk/POT1.asp

References: Mike Petty, The Photographers, (a handlist of local photographers), Cambridge, Cambridgeshire Collection, 1992
20 St Andrews Street - Spaldings Directory of Cambridge 1932-34. Moved to Post Office Terrace late in 1933 or early in 1934.  Took over the premises and business of photographers J Palmer Clark, whose last photographer, Charles Goodrich, died in January 1934. From 1934 - 1940 the entries in Spaldings Directory of Cambridge read "Ramsey and Muspratt (incorporating Clarke, J Palmer) Post Office Terrace"
Kellys Directory of Cambridgeshire 1937-75
An Eye on the Past, Cambridge Weekly News, Mike Petty,  10/1/1991, 18/1/1991
Petty MJ, The Cambridge Photographers at Post Office Terrace, Cambridge No 29, Winter 1991-2.
Kelly’s Cambridge Directory 1962, 1964, 1965/66, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1974, 1975. Nicholas Lee of Ramsey and Muspratt is listed in Cambridge Yellow Pages 1980. Cambridge Yellow Pages 1982, 1984 and 1985 the firm’s name re-appears in Yellow Pages with the same phone number as the entry for its new owner, Peter Lofts.
Jessica Sutcliffe, Face: Shape and Angle, Helen Muspratt Photographer, Manchester University Press, 2016, ISBN -10: 1526100843
Obituaries, personal family photographs and examples of Lettice's work can be found on her grand-son's excellent website www.stephenburch.com/lettice/lettice.htm
A set of examples of portraits by Ramsey and Muspratt can be found in the National Portrait Gallery: www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/set/260/Photographs+by+Ramsey+%26+Muspratt

St Andrews Street Cambridge

St Andrews Street Cambridge

Baby portrait by Ramsey and MusprattBackstamp, Ramsey and Muspratt

Ramsey and Muspratt portrait of Charmian Goldney WVSRamsey and Muspratt stamp

Portrait of Lettice Ramsey by PAL Brunney, c.1970
Portrait of Lettice Ramsey by PAL Brunney, c.1970 (J Brunney family photographs)

Portrait of "Edith" by Ramsey and Muspratt

Portrait of "Edith" by Ramsey and Muspratt Cambridge

Name: RAMSEY PHOTO SERVICES   b:       d:
Address: 36 Great Whyte Ramsey
Working Dates: 1980 - 1983
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information: commercial, industrial and studio photography, 5 minute passport photos
References: Cambridge Yellow Pages 1982, 1983, Peterborough Yellow Pages 1980


Name:  RANDS, William  b: 1839 Ramsey.       d:1861
Address: Whittlesey.
Working Dates: c.1861
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information: The Cambridge Independent Press of 18 May 1861 reported the death at Whittlesey on 14th May of William Rands, "photographic artist", son of the late William Rands hairdresser of Ramsey. In the 1861 census William was shown living in Church Street Whittlesey with his step father, mother and two step brothers. His occupation was shown as plumber and glazier, suggesting the photographic artistry was a secondary occupation. Given his untimely death, surviving photographs by Rands are likely to be extremely rare.
References: Cambridge Independent Press 18/5/1861

Name:  RANFT, Paul   b:       d:
Address: 22A Lincoln Road, Peterborough, also at 3 and 4 Wellington Lane, Stamford.
Working Dates: c.1990
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information:
References: Peterborough Yellow Pages 1990

Name: RANGEL Blas  b:1840 Singapore  d: (before 1901)
Address: New Photographic Studio, Roman Rooms, Jesus Lane, Cambridge
Working Dates: 1868-9 in Cambridge - otherwise a career spanning at least 1864 - 1878
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information:

In 1861 Blas Rangel was listed in the census return as a lodger in South Street Greenwich, acting as clerk to a commissioning agent. Blas Rangel could have come to Cambridge from Oxford. The Oxford Journal 23rd April 1864 and the Oxford Times 14th May 1864 carried an advertisement for a photographic firm of "Rangel and Taphouse at 7 Park-End Street Oxford", offering "12 copies of your own cartes de visite for 50 stamps". Blas married Elizabeth Eleanor Swornsbourne (b.1849 Hackney) in Greenwich in 1867. Rangel had an advertisement in the Cambridge Chronicle 18th July 1868 announcing "B.Rangel's new photographic studio specially constructed for rapid portraiture is now open. Roman Rooms, Jesus Lane, Cambridge." Rangel must have built up considerable debt in setting up this new business because Cambridgeshire Archives contain a copy of a sequestration writ dated 1 Jul 1868 for the goods and Chattels of photographer Blas Rangel of Jesus Lane Cambridge to the value of £58 18s 2d owed to Thomas Piggott. (Ref CB/12/5/77) The new venture obviously didn't go well and in January 1869, Rangel, listed as an assistant photographer, Cambridge, filed for bankruptcy (London Gazette 8th January 1869). It would seem that Blas might have split from his family at around this point and set off in search of work. Blas has not been found in the 1871 census returns although this is possibly because his unusual name has been mis-transcribed. In 1871 his wife and daughter were in Park Street Cambridge with Elizabeth's parents and four of her siblings. Her father was a musician and band leader as shown by this advertisement from the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal Saturday 3 November 1877 p6:

Advertisement for services of Charles H Swornsbourne

Blas and Elizabeth appear to have had four children: Lilla (b.1869 Cambridge), Ethel (b.1872 Cambridge), Blas (b.1873 and d.1873 Stafford) and Adelina (b.1881 Manchester).We are grateful to Pete Bryan who has picked up in his research into photographers in Stafford that Blas Rangel was at one point operating there, as well as in North Wales at Penmaenmawr. A surviving carte de visite in Pete Bryan's possession has on the reverse "B Rangel photographer Penmaenmawr North Wales Forebridge Stafford". This can perhaps be dated to 1873 as it was in that year that Blas and Elizabeth's son, also named Blas, was born in Stafford and sadly also died there in 1873. In 1875 an article on botanical curiosities at Penmaenmawr in the North Wales Chronicle recounted that "Mr Rangel, a chinese photographer from Penmaenmawr, was engaged in taking the third and last view and it took no less than 20 minutes exposure to obtain it. "

Charles Swornsbourne's income as a musician must have been somewhat variable and so he was not always able to support his extended family. In November 1878 the Cambridge Independent Press reported a Poor Law case against Blas Rangel, then described as a photographer living in Farndon Avenue, Manchester, for failing to maintain his wife and children, who had become chargeable to the Cambridge Union. Blas pleaded that he had not earned on average 4/- per week for the last five months and also that he did not know his wife and family had become so impoverished that they had become chargeable to the Union. In 1881 Elizabeth's parents were living in Northampton Street Cambridge and with them was their grandchild Lilla. Blas's wife, Elizabeth, may have been elsewhere giving birth at the time. No trace has been found of Blas in the 1881 census. But, there is a sign that he may have become more successful as the National Portrait Gallery holds a carte de visite (undated) by B.Rangel showing addresses of "246 Regent Street and Penmaenmawr NW". The 1891 census shows that Elizabeth Rangel and her two children Lilla and Adelina were living at 35 Merton Place, Northampton Street, Cambridge with Elizabeth's parents. Blas was not listed in the return, but Elizabeth was shown as married. By 1901 Elizabeth was living with her daughter Lilla and Lilla's husband in Leicester. At that point Elizabeth was shown as a widow. No trace of Blas has so far been found in the usual photographic historical resources derived from local trade directories relating to Wales, Staffordshire, London or Manchester.

Below is a carte de visite by Blas Rangel, around 1869, of an unknown mother and child. On a square cornered cream mount "B Rangel Cambridge" on face. The reverse bears the name "B Rangel Jesus Lane Cambridge". Below that is another later carte de visite of an unknown child. On the face is written "Art finished. B Rangel, 246 Regent Street and Penmaenmawr NW" and on the reverse, partly in a green scroll, "B.Rangel Photographer, 246 Regent St London W and Penmaenmawr North Wales".

References: Mike Petty, The Photographers, (a handlist of local photographers), Cambridge, Cambridgeshire Collection, 1992.
New Photographic Studio, Roman Rooms, Jesus Lane, Cambridge Chronicle 23/5/1868
PO Directory of the Counties of Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk, Kelly and Co London Aug 1869
North Wales Chronicle 12 June 1875. Cambridge Independent Press 23rd November 1878
Cambridge Chronicle and Journal Saturday 3 November 1877 p6



Name: RANSOM, John Walter b: 1878 d:
Address: Duxford
Working dates: c 1914
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information: Hardware dealer and RPPC publisher included in a "Directory of Cambridgeshire Postcard Publishers/photographers noted before 1914" by Michael Rouse in "Cambridge in Early Postcards", Oleander Press 1978. Not currently known whose images used. The 1921 Census lists John Walter RANSOM with his wife Rose Anna and their 13 year old daughter at St Peters Street, Duxford. John was a hardware stores shopkeeper working on his own account from home.
References: Kelly's 1916 Directory, 1921 Census.

Name:  RAPID PHOTO CO       
Address: 24 Narrow Bridge Street, Peterborough 1914 (later at Princes Street, Peterborough)
Working Dates: c.1914-16
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information: Produced real photograph local postcards, and may have had other activities. The example postcard below is a river scene from the River Ouse at St Neots, it is one of a series numbered 3. This was postally used in May 1915. The reverse shows this is one of a "Rapid Series" and the company address is shown as Princes Street, Peterborough. The number in Princes Street on this card is unreadable, but 40 Princes Street Peterborough was the home of John Borrill Etches. Also below is a portrait of an unknown woman 1920s, on brown textured card mount 4.25 x 2.75 inches with Rapid Photo impressed into the mount, reverse blank (author's collection).

See also the entry for Stickybacks photographers in Peterborough. The Rapid Photo Co in Narrow Street Peterborough could have been a stickyback photographer in 1916, or it could be that a sticky back photographer took over the firm's premises in 1916.

It would appear that in 1916 John Borrill Etches had control over the Rapid Photo Co. It is not clear whether this was his company throughout or whether he took over the company in 1916. The Nottingham Journal on Wed 12 October 1921 p2 carried a report "A BREACH OF CONTRACT. Mr Justice McCardie, in the King’s Bench Division yesterday heard an action brought by Miss May Bone, of Market Place Peterborough against Mr. John Barrett (sic) Etches, of Narrow Street, Peterborough, claiming damages for, and an injunction against, breaches of the terms of a covenant to sell the stock-in-trade and connection of the Rapid Photo Co., of Narrow Street, Peterborough to the plaintiff in April 1916. His lordship found a clear breach of contract, and assessed the damages at £150, refusing a stay of execution." So John Borrill Etches clearly had some involvement with the Rapid Photo Co Peterborough in 1916.

There was another more famous Rapid Photo Company, addresses, New Broad Street, London EC, 4-5 Bridgewater Square, London EC and Hampton Hill, who were major publishers of real photograph postcards, specialising in photographs of the stars of stage and music hall as well as topographical subjects and animals, children and greetings. Their trade mark was the word "Rapid" with an arrow through the word, direction lower left to upper right, with two swallows or swifts flying right to left. This firm's name sometimes appears as "The Rapid Co", "Rapid Photo", "the Rapid Photo Co" or "The Rapid Photo Printing Co", all of London EC. Some of their portrait postcards also bear the name of the photographer or studio from which they originated. There are 97 portraits published by this company in the catalogue of the National Portrait Gallery. This company, founded by a Mr. J. Mengel, operated from around 1901. Mengel left the company in 1905 to form The Kingsbury Works, another postcard publishing company in St Albans. The Rapid Photo Printing Co was active in England and Scotland and employed a number of commercial travellers. In 1908 they were advertising a service producing private postcards from your own photograph, suitable for greetings or XMas cards at 7/6d for 50, 10/- for 100. (Era 29 August 1908 p34). By February 1910 (Yorkshire Post 26 Feb 1910 p13) the Rapid Photo Printing Co Ltd was in liquidation, so pre-dates the Rapid Photo Company at Peterborough, but was there any connection between the two or was the use of the word "Rapid" simply a popular choice for the photographic trade of the time? There was also a Rapid Photo Co in Midland Street, Hull, in 1908 (Hull Daily Mail 6 Oct 1908 p1.)

References: Kelly's Directory of Northamptonshire, a single entry for 1914. No trace has been found of the Rapid Photo Co in The Gazette or in searching Companies House online records.
The Rapid Photo Co is included in a "Directory of Cambridgeshire Postcard Publishers/photographers noted before 1914" by Michael Rouse in "Cambridge in Early Postcards", Oleander Press 1978.

Postcard by Rapid Photo Co riverscene St Neots

Portrait by Rapid Photo

Name:  RATTLE, Douglas William   b: 1918     d: 2002
Address: 16, Corrie Road Cambridge, Cambridge
Working Dates: c. - 1957
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information: Doug Rattle was a photographer/printer employed by Edward Leigh. He trained Frank Bird when Frank joined the firm in 1957, but left shortly afterwards. Frank remembers him as a regular pipe smoker, usually producing clouds of tobacco smoke which emanated from the vents in the darkroom where he worked. Tom Johnson remember Doug started his career with the Cambridge News, later working for Stearn and Sons and for Campkins at their Mill Road Studio
References: Personal recollections of Frank Bird and Tom Johnson.

Name:  RAWLINGS, David  b:       d:
Address: In 1980 no address given – just Peterborough. In 1986, Orchard House, 18 Downham Rd Outwell , Wisbech
Working Dates: c.1980 - 1987
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information: From Yellow Pages: commercial, industrial, advertising, architectural, PR, Video, portraits, weddings. The Lynn advertiser, Tues 19 August 1986, advertises: " David Rawlings Photography (Outwell) for creative and distinctive wedding and portrait photography, please telephone Wisbech 772034 for details of our range of services." (Thanks to Garry Monger for this reference).
References: Peterborough Yellow Pages 1980, 1986, Fenland Citizen, 14 Jan 1987 p 4.

Name:  RAWLINGS, Wilfred  b: 18/9/1912      d:
Address: 59 Brampton Road, Cambridge
Working Dates: c.1939
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information: In the 1939 Register Wilfred Rawlings is listed at the above address and his occupation is shown as "photographer to University". At the same address was Hylda Rawlings b: 6/8/1912.
References: 1939 Register.

Address:  11 Laceys Lane Exning
Working Dates: c.1995
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information:
References: Cambridge Yellow Pages 1995

Name: RAYNER, Mrs Ellen b.1852 Arrington
Address: High Street, Barrington
Working dates: 1901-1911
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information: In 1901 Eleanor and her husband William ran the Barrington Post Office, and were grocers and drapers. By 1911 Ellen (Eleanor), then a widow, was the village Post Mistress, and Grocer, assisted in the business by her daughter and two sons. By the 1921 census Ellen was 70 and had retired from the grocery and drapery business. RPPC publisher included in a "Directory of Cambridgeshire Postcard Publishers/photographers noted before 1914" by Michael Rouse in "Cambridge in Early Postcards", Oleander Press 1978. Not currently known whose images used.
References: Kelly's Directory 1916; England Census 1891, 1901, 1911.

Name:   RAYNER M.P.W.  b:       d:
Address: 27 Station Road Willingham
Working Dates: c.1990
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information:
References: Cambridge Yellow Pages 1990

Name:  RAYNER, Thomas           b:       d:
Address: Long Causeway, Peterborough
Working Dates: c. 1861-1862
Subjects, styles, advertising, other relevant information: A single trade directory entry of 1862 records Thomas Rayner as a photographer. No trace can be found of a photographer with this name in the census returns. In the Peterborough Advertiser 22 June 1861 appears an advertisement "To be let and may be entered upon immediately, the house, shop and premises now occupied by Mr Thos. Rayner, on the Long Causeway, Peterborough, suitable for almost any business. An excellent photographic business is carried on, and may be greatly extended. To any person with small capital this is a good opening. If not let, would not object to treat with any one at partner. Mr R's musicall engagements demanding his whole attention is the sole cause for leaving. Stock optional".
References: Slater's Directory of Northamptonshire 1862

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: 27 March 2023, 10:34

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