Playing at Shops

Playing at Shops

A portrait photographer by trade, Englishman Edgar Lee was an active exhibitor in the Royal Photographic Society Salons from 1890-1903. The body of work he is best remembered for however is documentary, with 300 of his lantern slides held in the Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives chronicling the residents, mostly poor, of the Quayside area of Newcastle upon Tyne. PhotoSeed owns several examples of Lee’s work, including this street view showing a group of little girls- with two clad in white aprons at front and left- pretending to sell what appears to be an assortment of rocks or broken tiles arranged on a table made from slate and rocks. Interestingly, a postcard of this image: “Playing at Shops: The Slums, Sandgate” was later published by his Newcastle firm Thompson and Lee, the work possibly part of his earlier documentary involvement with investigations conducted by the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and Relief of Distress in England held from 1905-09.

The following is some background on Lee’s firm Thompson and Lee published in London’s The Amateur Photographer: January 7, 1908:

Thompson and Lee.—Mr. Edgar G. Lee, of Newcastle-upon Tyne, has an excellent photographic reputation of many years’ standing, and over half a hundred medals to show. Conducting a photographic business as Thompson and Lee, at 17, Eldon Street, Newcastle, he has turned his abilities to useful account, and sends us a charming calendar for 1908, which includes a picturesque rendering of the Mauritania’s debut on the Tyne.

And an earlier 1899 mention in the London-based Photogram (Process Engraver’s Monthly):

The Price List of Thompson and Lee, technical photographers, of Close Works, Newcastle-on Tyne, shows the business open to photographers who specialise. This firm devotes itself to the requirements of engineers, builders, and others, and undertakes the taking and printing of photograms in various processes and as half-tone blocks, as also the copying of engineers’ tracings in ” blue” and other processes. They are also agents, for four northern counties, for Tillotson & Son, photo-engravers and printers, of Birmingham. (p. 387)

Details written on slide:

along top edge: LEE     SHOPS

within upper border: “Playing at Shops.”  sticker denoting class: upper right corner: 3a

lower border: Class 3.

Playing at Shops

Support Dimensions8.2 x 8.2 cm