Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tracking Down a WW1 Photographer in St Albans

Advert from Herts Advertiser, April 1907
Post Cards
In my search for information about how the First World War affected Hertfordshire I have come across several post cards showing wounded soldiers - apparently all taken at Napsbury Military Hospital - and embossed with the words "Ricardo Studios, London Road, St Albans." At last I have found some clues as to who the photographer might have been - as the result of finding a 1907 advert for the studios. It would seem that in about 1907 William Harold Cox moved from Luton and set up the Ricardo Studio in St Albans. However he returned to Luton and a Richard Catcheside seems to have been operating as a photographer from the same address, and apparently continuing to use the name "The Ricardo Studios."  Click on the pictures for full details of what has been discovered.
Wounded Soldiers at Napsbury Hospital - Picture from City of Vancouver Archives
We Will Remember Them
Next year we will all be remembering those who fought, and in some cases died, during the First World War. If you have any post cards with a definite link to the war in Hertfordshire why not let me know - so the people in the pictures can be remembered when we come to the anniversary of the outbreak of the war in August 1914.


  1. Another Luton photographer with WWI photos was A. E. Nicholls. Tales of Gustard Wood has pics of the FMS Hospital at Blackmore End and convalescent soldiers. The 1911 census brings up an Albert Ernest Nicholls photographer then at Potton Beds as a visitor. I can find no other records that match but perhaps your trade directories might help? There is a Luton postcard on Flickr. Anthony

  2. A quick check on ebay shows about a dozen post cards by Nicholls currently on sale - all but one were of Luton or Bedfordshire places nearby. Most of those posted were sent in 1914 or 1915 and two of the cards have WW1 connections - including one of the FMS Hospital at Gustard Wood (which was the only one with Hertfordshire connections). In the 1910 Kelly's Bedfordshire Directory Albert (Ernest) Nicholls is listed as a is newsagent at 10 Castle Street, Luton, and in 1914 he is listed as a tobacconist.

  3. He may have had friends in Herts as in 1901 he was with his parents at Albert Villa, Albion Road, St Albans. Profession greengrocer on own account at home. He seems to have been a jack of all trades. By the way there are some quite detailed accounts of the FMS Hospital at the National Library Singapore site.

  4. I have a family photo embossed Ricardo Studios that I am trying to date, does anyone know when this Studio started and ended?

    Many thanks in advance

    1. The newsletter simply highlights what is on the main web site - and by clicking on the Ricardo advert you will be taken to the page on the Ricardo Studio. (Direct link is Your picture cannot be earlier than 1907 and if the picture includes a soldier it is probably between 1914 and 1919. However I have no information if the studio name was still in use at the start of the 1920s.


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