s Harry Cartlidge - Life Through a Lens - Hull Museums Collections

Harry Cartlidge - Life Through a Lens

harry cartlidge on the wilberforce monument

Harry Cartlidge was born in Hull in 1893 and was always fascinated by photography. When he was 13 his mother bought him his first camera, a quarter plate box-camera. He once remarked "when I was a youngster you could buy little negatives showing pictures of footballers and various personalities which you printed by exposing them to the sun!".

When he left school be became a clerk in the Territorial Army Office before joining the London and North Eastern Railway Co. as a shorthand clerk. He worked at St Andrews Dock and Hull Dock Offices (now the Maritime Museum). He continued to work in Hull moving between the dock and the Police Office at Paragon station. He developed his skills as a photographer taking portraits of staff at the railway and dock offices and wedding photographs of soldiers getting married on leave.

Public recognition of his work

During the 1920s he began to submit his work for publication and his work appeared in a number of magazines and papers. He also entered, and won, a number of photography competitions. In August 1929 he spotted smoke from the Hull Fish Market and rushed to the scene with his camera. Fish dock fire His pictures of the fire were quickly developed and appeared in a number of national newspapers the following day. The images were also requested by the fish merchants and the Fire Insurance Companies.

His camera captured over events across the city including a detailed series of the Wilberforce monument being taken-down and moved to Queens Gardens in 1935. He even climbed the scaffold, as the public were invited to do for a small fee, and documented the city from this unique vantage point.

Queens Gardens from top of the Wilberforce MonumentHe regularly took photographs of locations close to Hull, with favourites including Beverley, Whitby and Scarborough. A picture of a floodlit Beverley Minster, a popular subject, even featured in an album presented to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to celebrate their coronation, 1937.

In 1951 he married May Terry who he worked with the North Eastern Railway Co. A few years later at the age of 60 he retired from the railways enabling him to devote more time to photography, including joining the staff at a local photographic shop. He regularly took photographs of Hull street scenes, shop fronts and buildings. He continued to give slide talks around the city too, even into his nineties. In 1982 he even featured in and episode of the BBC TV series "Magic Lantern Show" called "Yesterday's Humberside."

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