Viner Postcards of Bath

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Viner & Co. Photographic Postcard c.1910. Bath - Milsom Street.

Viner & Co. Published a large number of real photographic Postcards of Bath before the First World War. They are very scarce now and provide a snapshot of many areas of the City in the Edwardian era. I have attempted to display just a few of these to show their wonderful quality compared with those produced by the major postcard publishers.
There is surprisingly little information to go on about the photographer whose name they bear. I have pieced together below all I could find on him from various sources and would be very interested to add to this (my email is
Fred Viner was born in 1860 to Ann and Charles Viner, a Publican living in Bermondsey in London. He was their fifth and youngest child. He is already described as a Photographer when in 1882 he marries Sarah, daughter of Henry Benson a Master Baker at St. Phillips Church in Lambeth in Surrey. They have a daughter, Ethel Maud, christened at St. Anne’s church, Bermondsey in 1885. They are living at 110 Southwark Park Road.
The following year an advert appears at this address in the South London Chronicle, where he describes himself as an Art Photographer, who was many years with the London Stereoscopic Company and Alex Bassano of Old Bond Street, London. Customers would pay one shilling for a cabinet photograph. He must have been very successful as a number of these Carte de Visites have come down to us with his distinctive advert on the obverse side.
They have another daughter, Dorothy May, who is christened in 1895 at St. Mary’s church in Bermondsey. Soon after he moves to 40 Walworth Road, South East London, where it is described as an Electric Mezzotint Studio.
By 1899 Fred appears to sell his business to Lawrence & co and moves to Ramsgate on the east Kent coast. He opens a studio at 88 High Street in that town. He is only then briefly and sells the business to his assistant, Louis Carpenter, who is just 21 at the time for £750, which he pays back in instalments. An advert appears in the Reading Mercury in September,1899 from Fred Viner, seeking a family residence in the town.
We next find him opening a photographic studio at 198 Kings Road in Reading. Again, he is only there briefly, before moving on to Swindon, where he is to remain for many years. The 1901 Census records him living with his family at 99 Victoria Road. By then he is aged 41 and his wife, Sarah is 42. Their daughter, Ethel is 16 and is described as being an apprentice to her father. Her sister, is just 5 in that year. Fred has both his mother-in-law and sister in law living with him.
He runs his photographic business from 23 Fleet Street in the centre of Swindon. It is described as a Mezzotint Portrait Gallery with questionable branches at Ramsgate and London. Again, many of his photographic portraits on card, known as Carte de Vistes have come down to us. The Swindon Library has a large collection of these as well as group photos and buildings that he captured. He is still shown in Swindon in the 1911 Kelly’s Directory, but must have moved in that year.
When the next Census is taken in 1911, we find that Fred has moved to Weston Super Mare on the coast of Somerset. He is now aged 51, living with his wife, Sarah and daughter, Dorothy as well as Ada Benson, his sister in law. They are all at 30 Landermann Terrace Boulevard in the town. He runs his photographic business from a small premise at 55b Oxford Street opposite the Town Hall, which still stands, although today it is a phone repair shop. He appears in the Kelly’s Directory in 1914 at that address. From there on the story of Fred Viner, is difficult to fathom out. He seems to have produced a later series of postcards called Viner Bromo in the 1920s. His lasting claim to fame are the huge number of real photographic postcards that he produced of Bath, Bristol, Swindon, Chippenham and South Wales.

The entry for the marriage of Fred Viner in 1882 at St. Philip`s Church, Lambeth, Surrey to Sarah Benson. He is living at 107 Southwark Park Road and is described as a photographer and his father, Charles as a Publican.
18 Jan 1885 Ethel Maud Viner Saint Anne, Bermondsey, Southwark, England

FRED. VINER .ART PHOTOGRAPHER, Portrait & Miniature Painter. Malty Yeats with the LONDON STEREOSCOPIC Co. Also with ALEX. BASSANO OLD BOND STREET, UUTILJUNE 21st ONLY.F.V. has decided to demonstrate the quality of the work he is now producing by taking a Cabinet Photograph for 1/-.
12 June 1886 - South London Chronicle - London, London, England

In 1891 Fred Viner is living at 110 Southwark Park Road and is described as a photographer on his membership of the Freemasons.

anworth Park last Bank Holiday, comprising photographs of tho committee, the cricket team, and tho testimonial, taken in the park by Mr. Fred Viner. Mr. Lofone, in thanking tho members for the photographs, said that ho had not words to express his feelings 
17 October 1891 - South London Press - London, London, England

alls Messrs. Howell and Son, Mcssrt. Thorn and Co., Camberwell (whoe® acetylene generator was view operation), Mr. Fred Viner, Messrs. Willcox and Co.
07 March 1896 - South London Press - London, London, England
Lawrence & Co. - Late Viners - Electric Mezzotint Studio, 40 Walworth Road S.E.
Bermondsey St Mary Magdalene, Southwark,
The 1899 Kelly`s Directory has Fred Viner as a Photographer at no. 88 High Street in Ramsgate.

With considerable enterprise Mr. Fred Viner, photographer, of High-street, Ramsgate, had improvised a studio at the Hall, and a large number of the dancers took advantage of the opportunity 
21 January 1899 - Thanet Advertiser - Ramsgate, Kent, England

juveniles had tea on the grass, the friends and senior scholars taking their repast half hoar later. After tea Ur. Fred Viner took couple of photographs of groups of scholars, teachers and friends. After an hour of races for the youngsters, the return journey 
10 June 1899 - Thanet Advertiser - Ramsgate, Kent, England


miles from) not less than 5 rooms or to ten rooms, with large garden or grounds preferred.—Full particulars to Fred. Viner, High-street, Ramsgate. WANTED to RENT, with option of Purchase, a FAMILY RESIDENCE, within a short distance of Reading or near a railway 
23 September 1899 - Reading Mercury - Reading, Berkshire, England

Louis G. Carpenter was born in 1878 and in 1899 at the age of 21 came to Ramsgate, where he worked as an assistant to a Mr Fred Viner, (Photographer also found at Swindon, Bath & London at various times) at No.88 High Street. After six months he had the opportunity to purchase the business for the sum of £750. Having no money of his own Louis borrowed £150 from his cousin Henry Hooker and the remainder was paid by way of an arrangement with Mr Viner at £5 per week during the summer months and £3 per week the others, this being a considerable amount at the time.
He was also married during 1899, and with his wife Emma and others, were very much responsible for the forming and the success of the town’s original Operatic & Dramatic Society. People who knew Louis revelled in his spontaneous wit and say that he could always be relied upon to extract the utmost from the humorous roles that he was called upon to play, his best remembered and most famous character was that of “Ko-Ko” in “The Mikado;” his photographic studio was often used as a rehearsal room.
Louis and Emma had two daughters, Margaretta (known as Margie) and Katherine. Margaretta married Alfred Buxton and they had three children Olive, Jack and Francis. Louis’s wife Emma, at least one of her sisters and Margie took part in the stage productions, and it’s known that one of the daughters helped out in their father’s studio putting colour on his pictures.
He had many, many friends in the town. Friendships that were formed in the early days in Ramsgate include that of Charles Sutton, Thanet’s favourite comedian, Sam Dyson who went on to sing in the B.B.C. Choir in Bristol and many more.
Lack of quality work caused by the cheap postcard trade affected Louis’s business; the situation was also compounded by the continuing problems of his wife’s ill health. Louis had to employ skilled assistance to keep the shop ticking over, and he had a very difficult struggle in endeavouring to make ends meet, but he kept on, hoping against hope. The postcard trade had come to the front considerably with very small profits, thus knocking the better class trade on the head. Also scores of so-called amateurs had been posing as professionals in the district, so by 1912 it was time to move on.


a small photo, just 3in by 2in, and it was taken photographer .. Fred Viner of Mezzo Portrait Gallery, 198 King's Road, Reading around the turn of the century.
23 April 1996 - Reading Evening Post - Reading, Berkshire, England


The 1901 Census has Fred Viner, age 41, as a Photographer living with his wife, Sarah, age 42, and their Daughter, Ethel, apprentice to Photographer at 99 Victoria Road, Swindon.. Their other, daughter, aged 5 is also shown.
Sarah Benson, aged 70, mother in law and Ada Benson, aged 39, sister in law are living with them.

1903 Viner and Shilk appeasr on CDV`s.


 H. Glaysher, C. Wise, and C. G. Storey made efficient M.C.’s. During the evening photographs were taken by electric light in one of tbe committee-rooms Mr. Fred Viner. The drwees were much the average, the ladies in fancy costume including Mrs. G. Mills 
30 March 1901 - South London Press - London, London, England

8 breakfast, which was provided at the residence of the bride's parents, aud the wedding group were afterwards photographed Mr Fred Viner. The wedding presents were pretty and useful, and numbered betweeu 60 and Following is the list: Bridegroom to Bride 
31 July 1903 - Swindon Advertiser and North Wilts Chronicle - Swindon, Wiltshire, En

c1905: Group Portrait in Rectory Garden - The Skyrmes and The Robesons (Blunsdon)
c1905?: Prestbury Cottage, Blunsdon High Street - formerly the School House (Blunsdon)
1903 Kelly`s Directory has Fred Viner as a Photographer at 23 Fleet Street, Swindon.

prise list, the of which was "The Relief of Ladysmith. H. King also received framed photograph of himself, presented by Mr Fred Viner. Mr W. Horrell proposed a vote of thanks to Aid. Brown for distributing the prises, and said they could not have bad a better 
18 September 1903 - Swindon Advertiser and North Wilts Chronicle - Swindon, W

There is a wedding in 1906 between Ethel Maud Viner and Frank Colville of Reading. Frank is a Photographer.

The 1911 Census shows Fred Viner, aged 51, as a photographer born in Paddington, London living with his wife, Sarah, aged 52, daughter, Dorothy, aged 15 and Ada, aged 46, sister in law. In that year they are living at 30 Landermann Terrace Boulevard, Weston Super Mare.

c1905: Groves' Weymouth Stores on Fleet Street, Swindon.
1911 Kelly`s Directory shows that Fred Viner is a Photographer based at 23 Fleet Street, Swindon. It is probably in that year he moves to premises at 55b Oxford Street, Weston Super Mare with his business, aged 51.
The Groves Company Inn, 22-23 Fleet Street - A Wethersppon Pub is on the site today.
Back of Postcard with Fred Viner, Opposite Town Hall, Weston Super Mare.
Fred Viner is a photographer at 55b Oxford Street, Weston Super Mare in the 1914 Kelly`s Directory.
Postcard Weston Super Mare Somerset the Pier and Fountain posted 1914 RP Viner
Viner & Co.Publishers, Acton
Fred Viner`s former Photographers at 55b Oxford Street is now HD Beauty Lounge/Phone Repair Centre, opposite the Town Hall in Weston Super Mare.
There is an Ethel Maud Viner who died in October 1977 in Barnet aged 92, which is probably his daughter. Although another Ethel Maud could be the one shown below as marrying Frank Colville in Reading. and who died in 1964.
An example of the obverse of Viner Bromo Card, dated 1924
1910 Kelly`s Directory for Chyalford shows Frank Colville as a Photographer.
1911 Ethel Maud Colville Cadouer Studio, Coppice Hill, Chalford, Glos. Vera Gwendoline Colville
1916 Frank Colville - Self - OxfordshireLightInfantry 4411

British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920

1920 Swindon - Frank Colville, Photographer, 130 Victoria road, Swindon

1923 Shepton Mallet - 24 High Street, Photographer.

SHEPTON MALLET Waterloo Road Boys, Pageant? RP Postcard by Frank Colville of S Mallet
Staff of the Co-op, Shepton Mallet c.1925. Taken by Frank Colville, Shepton Mallet.
Colville & Starr
Colville, Frank
Colville, Leonard D 
Colville, William Roy
Viner, Fred 
Viner, Frederick
Viner, Frederick & Carpenter
Viner, Frederick & Shilk
Viner, Frederick (aka South London Permanent Enlargement Co.)
Viner, William Robert 
1935 Frank Colville - Photographer - 50 High Street, Shepton Mallet, Somerset.
The Chequers Hotel by Frank Colville, Marlow.c.1920
1939 entry for Frank Colville, born on 19th December 1879 , Photographer, living at Coombe House, Shepton Mallet, Somerset.
Frank Colville is a Photographer at 50 High Street, Shepton Mallet in 1939.
1947 Frank Died aged 68 in the Wells District
1940 Vera G Colville married Thomas E W Preston
Ethel M Colville aged 79 born about 1885 died July 1964 Croydon
1939 Claude Colville - Harrow, Middlesex, England Auctioneers Estate Asst and Vera Preston - Dyers and Cleaners Shop Manager.
Claude and Ann Colville are living at Little Rowsham, South Hill Avenue, Harrow in 1958 -1965
1976 Claud Colville - 21 Wood End Rd,Harrow


Abbey gate Street three tuns old bath maps East Gate 1 Abbey Green