A general background
My great grandfather was a master photographer based in Rugby, he started the Redding studio in the town which lasted for 100 years. John Frearson writes1 how Redding moved to Rugby and took over the studio at 29 High Street, which had been operated by John Hensman until about 1911. Early in his career he would photograph boys from Rugby School, and some of the local boys were photographed in their uniforms after they had joined up for WWI. By 1935, he had moved his studio to Church Street. George Redding died on 2nd March 1964, aged 85. Many people in Rugby know about the studio and knew its last owner Graham Wiseman who was well liked in the community. My interest is in my great grandfather and his photographs, but stories and information about the studio are also welcome.
Appeal for help
I am researching him and the studio and I am trying to track down photographs by him. My project aims to document photographs by George Redding as well as producing portraits of people in Rugby today. I would be delighted if people with portraits by him would come forward and share them! It would be important to note that George put his name on the back of the prints and sometimes embossed his name on their borders, and it is these images that I am particularly interested in. It would be even better if these photographs are ones still owned by the family of the subjects in the portraits/group photos, as my aim is to take portraits of these family members holding the photographs of their relatives taken by my great grandfather. This way I can capture Rugby today with echoes of the past, and also include my own family history.
If you can help me with this, do please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Redding Collection
Meanwhile, Rugby Museum and Art Gallery are looking for funding to archive and digitise what they call the ‘Redding Collection’, which includes all the photographs that were donated after the studio’s closure. The Museum has many negatives and prints from the early days of the studio right through to the 1950s and 1960s onward. Some of these portrait prints are on display in the Rugby Museum, they offer a wonderful portrait of Rugby’s changing face.
1 His booklet including a chapter on Redding is currently in preparation. Frearson writes: I look forward to hearing of Alistair’s findings and will review my own material to see if any has identifiable family members etc. I suspect however, that many of the photographs may have lost their names and provenance, but sufficient may still be trackable for the project. It will be very useful if there are any print or negative references that may assist the projects various with dating material. This may not have been done as formally as for the work of later photographers such as John F Hughes in the 1850s and 1960s.