Orkney Image Library

<< back
The Orkney Image Library

Help us get organised! If we haven't correctly identified which area this picture is best listed under, please select it below and click Done!

view a random pic

Whilst sorting some old photos I came across this Cartes-de-visite (small visitng card portrait measuring 4 1/2 x 2 1/2") The photo on the front was of an unidentified child in a pram but the real point of interest was this advert on the back. Does anyone have knowledge of 'The Orkney Photographic Company, of School Place, Kirkwall ?
They were described as 'Artists and Photographers' and amongst the services provided were 'finishing in oil' and copying glass pictures. The latter would indicate this was long ago and before the days of James W. Sinclair, the photographer, who also had a studio in School Place, prior to moving to King Street.
Picture added on 24 August 2007
The Kirkwall Trades Directory in Peace's Almanac is a good source of information. That of 1884 lists only one photographer in Kirkwall, John B Russell in King Street. 1888 gives the Orkney Photographic Co in School place, as well as T M Macgregor in Palace Road and Russell still in King Street. 1895 has the Orkney Photo Co in Castle Street, J & J Sinclair in King Street plus the Palace Street Photo Co. Macgregor at some stage became proprietor of the Orkney Photo Company, for he is mentioned as such in their advert in the 1908 Almanac. These are only the Almanacs I have. The Orkney Room of the Kirkwall Library has a full set which will enable you to trace more accurately when the firm started and how long they were in School Place, so you should be able to date the photo to within a few years. Note though that the Almanacs were usually produced at the end of the year prior to the date they bear.
Added by Paul Sutherland on 27 August 2007
Many thanks Paul for your extremely useful information. For my purposes this gives me a close enough estimate - between the late 1880s and the early 1890s.
Added by Rob Thomson on 28 August 2007
Paul, there was also T. S. SWAN from Palace Road - 1880 or before.
Added by Barbara on 28 August 2007
I lived in School Place from 1962 - 1986 and I wonder if this business could have been on the same site as the wooden store used by Palace Players across the road from the council offices. If I remember rightly when I was a peedie boy the building was used by Hugh Inkster who did picture framing and stuff like that. Hugh lived in Copland's Lane at the time.
Added by Whassigo on 28 August 2007
There are several photographers listed in Palace Road (or Street as it was then more usually called - Palace Road, confusingly, was also used to refer to the Watergate) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their studio seems to have been in part of the building used by D M Kirkness the Orkney-chair maker. George Macgregor jr in 1893 refers to the photographic studio there belonging to "Miss Brass, a young lady of kindly business tact". He also mentions the studio at the corner of Laing Street and King Street "carefully superintended by Miss Sinclair, a young lady of excellent artistic taste." I don't know if that Miss Sinclair or J & J Sinclair, as her business traded for a time, had any connection to James W Sinclair of later years. Neither do I know where the Orkney Photo Co's studio was in School Place, but in the 1900 OS map there is nothing on the site of the wooden building referred to by Whassigo.
Added by Paul Sutherland on 28 August 2007
I believe Miss Brass the photographer was Isabella Brass (born 1865) daughter of John Brass and Mary Thomison of Orphir. Isabella died in 1894. She was the sister in law of William Sinclair, draper in Kirkwall.
Added by Stuart Robertson on 04 October 2007
From the information above am I safe in assuming that a photo taken by Macgregor Castle St Kirkwall would be after 1895 up to and after the almanac dated 1907
Added by Kelly Du Bois on 06 October 2007
<< back

St Margaret's Hope

St Margaret's Hope pier aerial shotB. Doull & Son, St Margaret's Hope, 1989Fisher LadGumpick Ness Battery in TankernessFestival of the Horse 5/5Festival of the Horse 3/5Festival of the Horse 2/5Festival of the Horse 1/5Kirkwall City Pipe Band on board shipMary Louttit