Derek Medhurst

Early Sevenoaks photographers

My interest in taking photographs, plus long ago finding a couple of old "cartes-de-visite" photos by Victorian era Sevenoaks professionals, led to an interest in historical local photography, particularly early professionals in the local area around Sevenoaks in Kent, England.


I've found evidence of a number of professionals operating in Sevenoaks in the 19th and early 20th centuries, including

  • "Mr Neale", an itinerant photographer - probably Henry Neale - setting up his photographic carriage on the Vine in 1858
  • J WIllis of London at "Sevenoaks Photographic Studio" in late 1863, probably only a visiting service and seems to have been short term
  • H G Inskipp, High Street : probably the first professional photographer in Sevenoaks, opening his studio in 1864
  • R Wicks of St John's Photography Gallery & St John's Studio
  • T H Challis, St John's Studio
  • Charles Essenhigh Corke, 39 London Road (he took over St John's Studio from Challis)
  • Henry Essenhigh Corke (son of Charles)
  • Beatrice Essenhigh Corke (daughter of Charles)
  • Howard M King
  • George P King
  • Stanger & Son, 26 High Street
  • E Sims
  • T S Swatridge
  • W E Wallis of 74 High Street (also Wallis & Barton at same address)
  • Cranbourne Photo Co Ltd, 74 High Street
  • James Brunton
  • W Brunton
  • Ernest Fielder
  • Frank Holbrook
  • Francis H Jeffery
  • Albert Jeffery (son of Francis H)


In the course of my research into professionals, I also found the names of some amateur photographers active in and around Sevenoaks. Here are some for starters, most in no specific order.

  • Anna Atkins: credited with creating the first photographically illustrated book - made in parts starting in 1843 - she lived at Halstead Place.
  • Hon. Edward Stanhope
  • Gertrude Rogers - of Riverhill House
  • Rev Charles Few - Seal Vicarage
  • Sir John Kirk
  • De Barri Crawshay

Sevenoaks & District Photographic Society

In 1922 the Sevenoaks & District Photographic Society was formed. Details I have gleaned have been from local newspapers, not from any official documents of the Society. The following are some of the names associated with the Society. Some of these were recorded as being at early meetings about setting it up and so had some interest, but that does not necessarily mean they went on to become members.

  • Colonel J M Rogers
  • W H House
  • C W R Knight
  • Mrs Rogers
  • Mr H G Wallis
  • Dr Gordon Ward
  • G Bradbury
  • T E Weller
  • M Colebrook
  • N Payne
  • C W Payne
  • J Brunton [local professional photographer]
  • W Ansell,
  • E Cable
  • "Thorogood"
  • "Baker"

The Society does not seem to have been very long-lived and there was no direct continuation through to the current Sevenoaks Camera Club.