The Monson Brothers
The Monson Brothers
The Monson family produced four brothers, each of whom took up the occupation of photographer, and each of whom appears in one or more of the county directories on this website. These notes represent a preliminary attempt to outline the brothers’ careers. They make use of information supplied by David Gobbett, and they draw on the following printed sources:
Appleby, David & John, The Magic Boxes (Essex Record Office, 1992)
Heathcote, Bernard & Pauline, A Faithful Likeness (Heathcote, 2002).
The Monson family
James and Susannah Monson of
Edward, born 1821/2,
Benjamin, born 1824,
Philip, born 1829,
Charles, born 1830.
1848. Was working as land surveyor in
Ipswich, . Suffolk
1849-1853. Ran a photographic studio (and taught handwriting) in
Falcon Street, Ipswich. His daguerreotype licence covered Essexand part of . Suffolk
1851. Temporary studios in
Colchester( Crouch Street), and Walton-on-the-Naze (The Crescent).
1852. Temporary studios in Stowmarket (near the Market Place),
and Sudbury ( Braintree Bank Street).
1853. Temporary studios in Colchester (25 Queen Street), Chelmsford (New London Road), Maldon (High Street), Saffron Walden (High Street), and Cambridge (2 Addenbrooke Place). In
he added portraits on glass and paper to his repertoire. Cambridge
1854. Temporary studios in
( Northampton Bridge Street), and (Warwick Row). Coventry
1854-5. Ran a studio in
( Birmingham 117 New Street), where he began manufacturing plates for the decreasingly popular daguerreotype process.
1855. Temporary studios in
Wolverhampton(Mr Warr’s, Darlington Street), Bilston ( 9 Oxford Street), Walsall( Lichfield Street), and Lichfield(Mr Welch’s, Market Place).
1858-9 (and possibly longer). Period of residence at
57 Regent Street, Cambridge, where he took photographs and drew and published a plan of the town.
1859. Sued Eardley Eardley of Trinity College, Cambridge. (See Monson v Eardley.)
1861. Returned to
Ipswich, with the intention of settling in the town, and set up a carte de visite studio in Friars Street. But at some stage during the 1860s he gave up photography and moved to Acton, Middlesex.
1871/1881/1891. Recorded in censuses as surveyor, civil engineer and printer.
1851. His occupation was writing master, but he also acted as contact for his brother Edward’s temporary
1854. Was running a photographic studio at
14 Crouch Street, Colchester, using the wet collodion process.
1855. A temporary studio was set up during August in the premises of Mr A Ruthers of Cornhill, Bury St Edmunds. (This was run in addition to his
Colchesterstudio.) Other temporary studios also seem likely in the mid-1850s.
1859. Described in Kelly’s Directory as ‘tobacconist and photographic artist’.
1861. Described in census as ‘photographer, seedsman and printer’.
1870. Running a new studio at 7 East Hill,
1902. Last trade directory entry for his studio.
1853. Shifted the main focus of his activity from portrait and miniature painting to photography and set up a temporary studio at Mr Francis’ Nurseries in Hertford, in partnership with his brother Charles.
1855. Was practising alone in Hertford as a daguerreotypist. Later set up temporary studios in Reading (
161 Friar Street), and ( Winchester 7 Jewry Street).
1856. Temporary studio in
1859. Trade directory record of a studio at 40 Newland,
1853. Shifted the main focus of his activity from portrait and miniature painting to photography and set up a temporary studio at Mr Francis’ Nurseries in Hertford, in partnership with his brother Philip.
1855 or earlier. Left the partnership with Philip.
1859. Trade directory record of a studio at
53 Leicester Road, Northampton.
1861-1872. Regular trade directory entries for a studio at
12 Bridge Street, Northampton.
1881. Shown in census as portrait painter and photographer, widower, living in Belgrave, Leicestershire.
1891. Living in
at time of census, but not described as a photographer. Northampton
1893. Trade directory entry for a studio at
39 Overstone Road, Northampton.
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