Edwardian & later Albums of Views


An example of the late Victorian souvenir photograph album can be seen in the 12 Photographic Views of c.1880. By the turn of the 19th Century the cost of photographic reproductions had decreased sufficiently to make an Album of Views a suitable impulse-buy in the mass tourism market in which the Island specialised. Sets of photographs were also sold for the buyer to stick into souvenir albums (though these photos were soon superseded by coloured postcards) Earlier late Victorian single-sheet Leporello albums have been covered elsewhere, the latest date for these is c. 1905. After this date the more usual multi-leaf book format was adopted, though most were loose-leaf bound using string to keep the leaves together. An early example was: "Manxland: the Isle of Man" in "The 'Coronation' Series" published by Brown and Rawcliffe, Exchange Works, Liverpool who had published several of the Leporello albums. Like its predecessors, many of the photographs show painted figures on a photographic background, the photographs are glued onto one side of a page of cheap paper (my copy is fairly brown and fragile)on the obverse of which is a brief description of the photographs on the next page. Most photographs are those used in their Leporello Albums; also like its predecessors, and virtually all subsequent albums, it was not dated, though presumably the 'Coronation' referred to is that of Edward VII of 1901.

The earliest album was probably the three volume set, each containing 24 views, in the Beecham's Photo-folio series - these small volumes, 150 x 120 mm, were printed in Holland and sold for 1d a volume - possibly subsidized by Beecham's of St Helens who used them as advertising material. The photos are often signed A. D. Jones & Co and would appear to date c. 1895 (e.g. still showing Falcon Cliff dance hall demolished c.1896 and not showing Port Soderick cliff railway of c.1897).

The Victoria Terminal for the ferries fully opened in 1902 and included an arcade of shops as well as shops around the outside. As might be expected from the location through which virtually every visitor to the Island had to pass, these catered to the tourist trade and included several 'Bazaars' which published such albums under their own name. The postcard collecting mania had started around 1900 (reaching a peak c.1910) and many of these albums recycled photographs originally used for postcards. Valentines of Dundee, a major producer of view postcards, also issued such albums under their own name - a practice that continued post WW2.

Most adopted a landscape format 12.5 in x 8.5 in (300 x 220 mm) usually with soft covers and bound by a tie string for ease of opening, though those published by Valentines used a card cover but still tie string binding. The oblong format suited full page landscape views well, but most albums had a mix of sizes from half page (requiring the book to be rotated), through quarter page and smaller, including many quite small reproductions which looked as though they had originally been intended for the photographic view strip postcard.

Those produced on the Island generally contained a map on the inside front cover - this was often "Map of the Isle of Man showing the Stations on the Isle of Man Railway" which must have been confusing for the visitor as it continued to show the projected route of the Manx Northern Railway via Glen Helen and not its actual route! Some of the albums had the same map but entitled "... Stations on the Manx Electric Railway" which managed to show neither the MER nor Snaefell Mountain Railway !

An early example of the photographic album is Picturesque Manxland published by W. Kneale Duke Street & Victoria Street, Douglas in the Poulton Colotype Series, possibly c.1910 (one photo of Douglas clearly shows an advert for Vesta Tilley appearing at Derby Castle which may date it more accurately) which includes relatively high quality photographs. The 150 Views probably dates c.1911 - unlike the books published by Star Bazaar the Valentine plate numbers appear to have been mostly removed (or the plates artfully cropped) thus making dating of individual plates difficult. All the albums appeared to emphasise the number of photographs included, even though many were very small and sometimes duplicates of larger plates. Some retouched plates are obvious - faked night-time views are one example, another shows a painted sailing ship progressing through the Sound between Kitterland and the Calf !

Post 1990 there has been a spate of nostalgia books illustrated by old postcards - many of these are given on my Postcards page.


All my albums are undated and contain photographs covering a wide range of dates, my estimated date is based on what I think is the latest photograph included. Sizes are width x height in mm.

  Manx Note Book


Tourism etc.

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2003