W is for Willson’s
Richard Roberts Willson, a photographer from his teens, had his studio in
Street from 1877 to 1883 and then at 116 Walworth Road
until his death in 1891.
The studio then changed hands to Thomas Nye & Co. who continued to produce pictures of every description “copied, enlarged, reduced and finished in oil, water or carbon.” It is not always recognised how popular photography had become in the Victorian and Edwardian era. There were countless photographic studios everywhere, with each high street having at least one. Most popular were the playing card size printed portraits – the carte de visite, or CDV. Later came the larger cabinet cards, and in the decade before the First World War millions of picture postcards were sent all over the world. Indeed there were so many produced, it now appears like an early form of social networking!