Bedford Lemere & Co was the pre-eminent English firm of architectural photographers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Taking photographs at a time of extraordinary change and unparalleled optimism, its customers were leading architects, designers, industrialists, estate agents, hoteliers and retailers. Over the years Bedford Lemere & Co. photographed country houses, factories, hospitals, shops, banks, railway stations, cruise liners and, during the First World War, armaments manufacture. Its work centred on London, but it received commissions throughout the British Isles and occasionally from abroad. The firm's work was technically outstanding and executed with a distinctive sympathy for its subject matter. Its photographs are perfect illustrations of the buildings of a confident age.
Today the Bedford Lemere collection, held by the Historic England Archive, is an important source of images of English architecture and life from 1870 until the Second World War. This book features over 250 striking photographs from the collection. Printed from the original negatives they include stunning images of the rebuilding of London around 1900, and of early cinemas, power stations, car showrooms, department stores and factories of many kinds. Especially evocative are the firm's photographs of those – mostly women, old men and children – involved in war work between 1914 and 1918.
Complemented with an informative introduction and captions by the author, this book will appeal to anyone with an interest in photography, architecture and social history.
'an enthralling depiction of British buildings at a time of technological innovation and exuberant stylistic diversity. . . The illustrations have a pin-sharp sparkle that matches the originals.'
Michael Hall, Country Life
'This is a beautifully presented introduction to a remarkable photographic archive. The images are sensitively reproduced and the selection illustrates well the company's range during its heyday.'
Francis Marshall, The Victorian
'an intriguing portrait of a bygone age'