Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

Samuel Coulthurst

Samual Coulthurst

Samuel Coulthurst: Victorian Salford, Manchester(UK) – (1889 – 1890)

19th Century street photography

Back in 2002 I was back home in Manchester and visited the Lowry art museum and gallery at the Salford Quays, Manchester. This exhibition has stayed in my memory ever since so I thought I would share a post about the display of work I attended that day.

During a two year period (1889 and 1990), Samuel Coulthurst and his brother-in-law James Higson both members of the Lancashire and Cheshire photography union, dressed as what was known then as rag and bone men.

They carried their camera on the back of a cart they used and took many photographs of the people they met and got to know. Many of these photographs have been archived along with details of who these people were and what they did.

They were not simply doing a street walk about with a camera but spent time both living the lives and getting to know the people of Salford.

Many for the street children that the two photographed would have attended the Charter Street Ragged School, they had either lost parents to industrial accidents or to famine or disease. In the grounds of this church owned school is a grave yard that contains 6000 such parents. The city of Manchester has many such locations from this period.

It was in such conditions that these two photographers lived and worked taking pictures that made history. Without them most people would have forgotten in part at least, the kind of live’s that the 19th century people of Manchester lived including my Own Ancestors.

The exhibition is repeated by the Lowry Gallery so if you are in Manchester and into history/photography then maybe you could call in.


Samual Coulthurst 1

Flat Iron Market Salford. Manchester 1890.

Samual Coulthurst 2

Swan Street, Salford Manchester 1890.

Samual Coulthurst 3

Organ Grinder – Swan Street Salford, Manchester 1890.

Samual Coulthurst 4

Tom Shudehill, Poultry Market. Manchester 1890.

6 responses

  1. victoriaaphotography

    Must have been an interesting display going by the images you’ve shared. I especially love the light & shadows in the last image of the Poultry Market.

    Having just finished scanning (yesterday) a couple of hundred of my own B & W images of my Ancestors from the 1850s to about the 1930s, I know how fascinating it is to look back on fashion & daily activities of the past.

    Thanks for sharing – I would love to see some more.

    March 11, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    • Many thanks Victoria…

      Yes, you can just image what these kids are talking about?

      Would love to share more and see you own images

      your very kind as always!


      March 11, 2013 at 9:50 pm

  2. Impressive work, thanks for sharing it in this post!

    March 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm

  3. I too love images from the past….in most cases from a lost world, though some of these remind me of my childhood years in Birmingham. We have a small collection from the 1880s and I’ve put a few on my blog….must dig out some more, they are fascinating. The quality of the images you show is very fine….they certainly knew how to work with the light and the compositions and groupings are perfection. Even with modern cameras most of us lack the skill to replicate these scenes. Thanks Nigel for posting them.

    March 15, 2013 at 5:46 pm

  4. I also attended that same exhibition in 2002 and like you the pictures have stayed with me. I have since done some research and got to know a bit more about it. I’ve also taken up photography as a result. Thanks

    April 8, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    • Hello David 🙂 🙂

      Thank you 😉

      The exhibition still remains top of my list David and it just brilliant that it inspired you into photography yourself 🙂 🙂 🙂

      April 9, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.