Appleton & Co

Thomas William Appleton

Thomas William Appleton, the son or Richard Appleton Snr and Martha Kane was born in Yarm, Yorkshire in 1828. His father was a Corn Merchant and Miller. Thomas Appleton had four sisters and two brothers. The brothers were Richard Henry Appleton b1819 and Laurence Frederick Appleton b1824. He served an apprenticeship at Meeks in Manchester and later moved to Bradford working with his brother Laurence running a Linen Drapery business at 22, Westgate. In 1851 they employed four assistants.1 Soon after Lawrence decided to emigrated to Melbourne, Australia 2 The partnership was wound up in August 1854 and after that the business was sold. 3In 1851 Thomas married Anne Green and they had eight children. Six daughters and two sons. The eldest son was Richard James Appleton b1856. The other son was Henry William Appleton b1864

The earliest advertisement that can be found for Thomas operating a photographic business is in the Richmond and Ripon Chronicle 1st Dec 1855, and it reads as follows.

"Appleton & Co. Photographic Artists, Beg to apprise the Gentry and Inhabitants of Ripon, that as their stay is drawing to a close, they will feel obliged to those parties who wish for one of their life-like portraits , to favour them with an early call. Gallery opposite Proctor's Hotel in Market Place, open 9am to 4pm"

It was 1854 when Desderi introduced the carte de visite format, which made portrait photographs affordable by the general public, so it was a perfect time for Appleton to start his business.

The post office directory of 1857 shows the business to be operating from Skell Bank, Ripon and in 1858 from Western Hill, Durham. An advertisement in the Durham Chronicle 2nd April 1858 indicated that Thomas was now working with H Berlon from Sunderland. Henry Berlon was a member of the Palatine Lodge No.114 in Sunderland and he transferred his membership to the Lodge of Hope No.302 in Bradford in April 1859, which would seem to indicate that he had now settled there. His occupation in the ledger shows that he was an artist. Berlon was a naturalised British subject, born in Prussia in 1824.

Shortly afterwards an advertisement appeared in the Bradford Review 28th May indicating that Appleton & Co were operating from the bottom of Horton Lane and that their stay was drawing to a close. They asked for particular attention to be drawn to their "Finely finished paper pictures" and that they were having a clearance of their stereoscope slides before leaving.

It would appear therefore that Thomas and Henry Berlon were operating from a number of locations before deciding to set up a permanent base in Bradford, in 1859. A statement on the reverse of many of Appleton's carte de visite suggests that the business was established in 1859. Other sources suggest the business started in 1853 or 1856 and these must refer to the two men operating from other locations.

The business's permanent base in Bradford and his partnership with Henry Berlon was at the top of Manor Row, on a site where the old Yorkshire Penny Bank still stands, they also opened a studio at 7 Horton Lane. An advertisement appeared in the Bradford Observer 1st Dec 1859 and it reads as follows.

"Photographic Establishment - Bottom of Horton Lane

In order to meet the requirements of their increasing business and at the solicitation of numerous Patrons Appleton & Co have decided on a considerable enlargement of their present premises, so as to give increased comfort and accommodation. The alterations they hope to have in a few days. "

Appleton's photographic business continued in Horton Lane for nearly 50 years but the partnership between Henry Berlon and Thomas Appleton was not to last.

Perry's Bankrupt Gazette 19th Dec 1863 reported that the partnership based at Horton Lane and Manor Row had ceased on the 21st Nov 1863. Berlon made an announcement in the Bradford Observer on the 7th Jan 1864 which said. "Mr Henry Berlon (late Appleton & Co) respectfully informs his numerous friends and the public that, since the dissolution of partnership, he continues the PHOTOGRAPHIC BUSINESS, at the top of Manor Row, on his own account and will endeavour to merit a continuance of the patronage he has hitherto enjoyed" In the same publication Appleton announced that he had bought the freehold of some land at the bottom of Horton Lane and contracted for the erection of an establishment "which for extent and perfection of its arrangements and appointments shall be second to none in the provinces" While the new studio was being constructed he moved his Gallery to the bottom of Manchester Road. The gallery may have been portable, and maybe this was the same gallery he had used in Ripon. Most probably a wooden structure that could be pulled by horse, in essence a portable studio. This was not unusual, other photographers such as Oliver Sarony operated in a similar way in the 1850s.

The reason for the break up of the partnership with Berlon is not known but the timing of the purchase of land at the bottom of Horton Lane and the statement by Appleton regarding how prestigious his new studio would be might just suggest that the reason may have been related to this move. Clearly from the evidence on the back of the photographs both the Horton Lane site and the site at the Top of Manor Row were operating for some years along side each other. After the partnership broke up Henry Berlon took the site at the Top of Manor Row and Thomas Appleton the site at Horton Lane. The first time Berlon's studio was shown in a local directory in his own right was in Whites Directory 1866.

Portrait of William Huntriss

Here is a very rare example of two carte de visite showing a portrait of William Huntriss (1804 - 1883), one print by Appleton and one by Berlon. The rarity is with the fact that the same negative number is shown on both cards and has possibly been written by the same hand. The Appleton card shows the original hand written name on the back of the card whereas in the case of the Berlon card the name has been written some years later possibly by a descendant of Mr Huntriss. Because the Appleton print has both addresses it must have been produced before 1864 and the Berlon one printed afterwards. The Appleton print has survived rather better than the Berlon one and this could either by due to the success of the printing process, or the way in which the photograph has been stored or handled over the last 150 years. As for William Huntriss, he was born in Sowerby Bridge in 1804. In 1836 he established the first steam powered worsted spinning textile mill in Halifax. The mill was Stone Dam Mill in Well Lane, a building which still stands today. He later went into business with his brother George as a wool stapler operating under the name The Huntriss Brothers, and following that in partnership with a Mr Illingworth, worsted spinning. William took an active part in the town’s affairs throughout his life. He was a constable (an important position at that time) – and during that period had to deal with the Chartist riots in Halifax.4

An early group photo from the studio

Photo left is an early and very unusual photograph from the studio showing the interior, the glass roof and blinds. It cant be certain that this is the Horton Lane studio as two addresses are shown on the back of the photo. The photo was taken before the partnership brake up, so pre 1864 when 'Daylight' studios were the order of the day. Blinds would be used to control the lighting, as can be seen on the right hand side.

The Methodist Ministers

Thomas Appleton had a close connection with the Methodist church and Methodist ministers. There is evidence that when a minister spent time in a certain area they would get a local photographer to take a portrait, perhaps giving them out, or more likely, selling them to the congregation, possibly using them to raise funds for the church. The Bradford Observer reported on 24th October 1861 that the ladies who were organising the Protestant Alliance Bazaar were selling portraits of the ministers. The article goes on to say “An interesting feature in this Bazaar will be the portraits offered for sale of the various Wesleyan and other ministers in the town, photographed by the well known gallery and with the best skills of Messrs Appleton & Co. We have been favoured with the sight of these portraits, and can assure the admirers and disciples whose likenesses are offered that they may possess themselves of pictures which will grace any album, however costly.”

A Wesleyan Methodist Conference would be held every year. It was held in Bradford in 1864 and in Leeds in 1866. The conference brought all the ministers together. A committee was formed and they decided where each minister would be stationed. They would usually stay in the same locality for one, two or sometimes three years. The conferences in Leeds and Bradford was an opportunity for Appleton to get portraits of the most influential people in the church, as well as portraits of many of the other ministers. Each year a new president was elected and during the period 1857 through to 1870 Appleton managed to get portraits of most of them. These included Francis West, Samuel D Waddy, John Rattenbury, Charles Prest, George Osborn, William L Thompson, William Arthur and John Farrar. To try to deter anyone from copying the portraits Thomas decided to register the most important ones for copyright. Records in the National Archives provide us with evidence as to the dates that these photographs were taken, and allow us to study the card designs that were being used at the time. Most of the portraits of the Ministers were registered from 1864 through to 1866 and would have had just the Horton Lane address on them. However there were some that were registered prior to 1864, during the Appleton/Berlon partnership, and so the mounting cards would most likely have had two addresses. Some examples are shown below. .

Two of the portraits submitted for copyright are shown here.

Rev Thomas Jackson is shown on the left, and and Rev James Dixon DD on the right.

Thomas Jackson image ref 1/7/297 copyright paperwork submitted 31st August 1864 and described as follows 'Photograph of Reverend Thomas Jackson, ¾ length, ¾ face, sitting, left arm on table'.

The Rev James Dixon image ref 1/9/547 copyright paperwork submitted 24th July 1865 described as 'Photograph of Reverend James Dixon DD, ¾ face, sitting, hat on, hands clasped on top of staff'.

Sitters were not usually named on most of Appleton's portraits, however, in the case of the Methodist ministers many were named, as shown in the Jackson example above. The name would be hand written on the back of the portrait. A collection came up for auction recently which were from an album full of Methodist Ministers and nearly all the ministers were named. This has served as a useful reference. Also included was also a composite image made up of forty individual portraits. It was dated 1866 which was the year the Wesleyan minsters conference was held in Leeds. The image was registered for copyright on the 4th January 1867. The copy shown here was sent to me by one of volunteers who were sorting out the archives at a Methodist church and just happened to see the Appleton name in the bottom right hand corner. A press report printed in the Bradford Observer on the 7th Feb 1867 describes the image and says “it was finished in sepia with great artistic skill” Appleton made the picture available in various sizes, including 8 x 10 for 7/6, 13 x 20 for 21/- , 20 x 32 for 63/- excluding mount. 5 It was also reported in a small advertisement in the same edition of the newspaper that Appleton's had on display in their rooms in Horton Lane a "large photographic picture (38 in x 25 in) of the principal ministers and laymen of Methodism." There was obviously a demand for portraits of local ministers and preachers but this also raises an interesting question, was this a way of the photographic studios generating more sales, or was it a way of raising funds for the church and commissioned by the church itself? Within the group are Isaac Holden, 2nd from the left on the back row, William Morley Puncheon on the back row immediately below the light and John Farrar at the front. Other ministers can also be identified by reference to the individual portraits taken by Appleton. We wouldn't question today how an image like this could have been produced but to produce one in 1866 from forty plus individual glass plate negatives is quite remarkable.

Portraits of Rev John Farrar shown left and Rev William Morley Punshon LL D shown right. These ones probably date from the 1870s. John Farrar was Governor of Woodhouse Grove School from 1858-1868 6 and president of the Wesleyan Conference in 1854 and 1870. Rev William Morley Punshon was a well respected preacher who Appleton photographed a number of times. In the 1860s ¾ length or full length portraits were much more common than these head shots. The cards are also different. In the 1860s the cards tended to have square corners rather than round, and were generally thinner.

It is interesting to compare the location of where a minister was stationed with the period in which a particular photographer was operating in that area. By doing so it is often possible to date a portrait quite accurately. In the case of Rev Peter MacKenzie, shown left, he was stationed in Leeds from 1874 until 1880 and in Shipley from 1880 until 1883 and following this he moved to Dewsbury where he ended his days. Prior to Leeds he had spent time in Burnley, Monmouth, Melksham, Gateshead, Sunderland and Newcastle upon Tyne. 7 The portrait shown here was taken by William Grant Thompson of Shipley operating from 1 Westgate. Since MacKenzie was in the area from 1880 to 1883 and Thompson, the photographer, was at 1 Westgate from 1881 until approximately 1887 we can say with some confidence that the portrait was taken between 1881 – 1883. Other examples can be found where similar conclusions can be drawn. As for the Appleton Studios, however, they stayed in the same location for a long time so it is more difficult

to match the date that a minister was in Bradford with the date of a particular studio address.

Another photo of Rev Peter MacKenzie, his wife Mary Thompson and two of his five daughters is shown right, c1860 this is most likely a hand coloured Collodion Positive on glass plate. In this case we do not know the name of the photographer. The families first two daughters were Margaret b1848 and Jeanette b1852.

Portrait of Sir Titus Salt

Throughout their careers Thomas and later his son Richard James Appleton photographed some very important people in Bradford of which Titus Salt was one. There is probably no portrait from any Leeds or Bradford Studio photographer that is more well known and more widely used than this one. On the 17th May 1870 it was reported in the Bradford Observer that the Appleton studio in Horton Lane had a life size portrait of Sir Titus Salt,Bart,in oil which had been taken direct from a small photograph. It represented Sir Titus sitting in an easy chair holding a letter in his hand. A photograph with this description was registered for copyright on 4th May 1869. This may have been the same image which appears in the book Yorkshire Past and Present. Vol 1 and is shown here. The image in the book is in actual fact a copy of an engraving by William Holl based on the original photograph. A copy is held by the National Portrait Gallery. G Daniels also produced an oil painting of this image and it is held by the Bradford Museum service, they have dated it 1879. This is currently displayed at Cartright Hall Art Gallery in Bradford. Another coloured version of the image, possibly a copy of the painting held by Bradford Museums can be found at the Lord of the Manor Public House in New Crofton Nr Wakefield, a place where Titus Salt used to live, most definitely before it became a Public House! More copies of the image which have been coloured and possibly completely redrawn appear in the book 'The Modern Portrait Gallery' by Cassell, Petter and Galpin and appear on the website Even Wetherspoons have fallen in love with this image. Further investigation is required before it can be determined if the Daniels painting is the same one referred to in the Bradford Observer article. What is also interesting about this portrait is the fact that if the oil painting referred to by the Bradford Observer was based upon a small photograph and the Holl engraving must have been based upon that same photograph, so where is the photograph? In fact a Woodbury version of the original photograph appears in the book 'Historical Notes of the Bradford Corporation' published in 1881 by Thomas Brear and in the book 'Sir Titus Salt his life and its lessons' by Rev Robert Balgarnie published in 1877 by Hodder and Stoughton. Both these Woodburys are a cropped version of the full image. Further research has revealed that an even earlier version of the image was printed in the Illustrated London News 2nd Oct 1869 P4. This more or less confirms that the 1869 date is the correct one. In fact the Belgarnie book also features three other Woodbury type images by Appleton and these are a photo of Crows Nest where Titus used to live, a photo of the Titus Salt statue in Bradford, which is now in Manningham Park and a photo of the mausoleum at Saltaire.Could the photo on the left be the original, or a fake. It seems to be embossed on the bottom right hand corner as some of Appleton's photos were. It is clearly a cropped version to fit a carte de visite size and does not show his hand with the letter. This copy came up for auction recently.

When Sir Titus Salt opened the Sunday Schools at Saltaire on 29th April 1876 he was presented a life size portrait of himself by the officers and teachers of the Saltaire Congregational Church. It was suspended over the East Gallery. The portrait had been supplied by Messrs Appleton and was a 'production of great artistic merit'. 8 Sir Titus's health was failing at this stage and it was said that he was too frail to take a full part in the ceremony. He died in December that very same year.

Richard James Appleton's education.

The 1871 census shows all the Appleton family at home in Carr Hall, Wike, near Bradford except for eldest son Richard James Appleton who was now aged 14. He appears in the census boarding at the Wesleyan College in Sheffield (Now King Edward's VII School). The college was run by Wesleyan Minister and Governor John Hardvard. At the college there were tutors in mathematics and the classics including one from Jamaica. The students, all male and mostly between the ages of 12 and 17 were from all over the UK and some from abroad including Canada, Ireland and the Natal. This education would serve Richard well in years to come.

The Carr Hall Estate

Carr Hall, Wyke was part of the Carr Hall estate. The estate was put up for sale in June 1869. Thomas William Appleton had taken the lease for seven years on Carr Hall from 20th July 1866 at an annual rent of £50 per year. It seems the estate was being sold as an investment property with a sitting tenant. Carr Hall was a Mansion House consisting of a drawing room, dining room, breakfast room, two large kitchens, seven bedrooms, bathrooms and all suitable domestic offices. The estate included a newly erected cottage, reservoir, garden, pleasure grounds and appurtenances and land.'The property was pleasantly situated between Low Moor and Pickle Bridge Stations on the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway.' 9 Thomas's father had died in 1865 and he had left a substantial sum of money, a proportion of this may have found its way to Thomas. The estate was next door to where Appleton Academy now stands. Is this a coincidence or is there more to it? The Academy was named after Nobel Prize winner Sir Edward Victor Appleton a famous son of Bradford, but as far as can be ascertained he is not related to Thomas William Appleton.

Carr Hall Road in Wyke leads to where the estate once stood. An old map of the area can be found at The National Library of Scotland this website has a useful archive of old maps of England.

While at Wyke Thomas made a significant contribution towards the building of the Wesleyan Chapel. He contributed £25 towards the £400 that had been raised. The same as Titus Salt. Mr H W Ripley and D Whittington. Henry Mitchel also offered to give 10% of the total sum realised. The building was designed by Andrews, Son and Pepper and the structure was erected in the Gothic style. (Bfd Observer 16th April 1870)

A new studio on Manningham Lane

In 1872 Thomas Appleton wishing to expand the business opened a studio at 60 Manningham Lane Bradford and in 1887 took the adjoining premise at No 58 Manningham Lane. A The premises were at the junction of Spring Gardens and incorporated a glass roof studio. The book Industries of Yorkshire published in 1888 describes the studio. "The stately and elegant entrance to this studio is more suggestive of a public art gallery than of the business premises of a private firm, but on proceeding further it is quite in keeping with the rest of the place, the fine staircase and the large and lofty rooms relete with all requisite accessories, confirming the first favourable impression. After a visit to this magnificent establishment and a careful examination of the specimens of photography shown there, one feels that Messrs. Appleton Co are in every way deserving of the patronage they receive from the elite of the West Riding. Messrs Appleton & Co are licensees for the Van der Weyde, Platinotype, Autotype and other processes and during the period that they have been in business they have sought by diligent study on their own part and by taking advantage of all modern discoveries, to contribute to the advancement of their beautiful art. Not satisfied with the fame they have acquired in photography Messrs. Appleton and Co have recently added to it in other directions, having opened a spacious shop at 58 Manningham Lane where they are already doing a large wholesale and retail business as manufacturers of photographic apparatus and dealers in chemicals and other goods used in the art. “….......... “ This enterprising firm are also widely known as manufacturers and dealers in dissolving view apparatus, their lanterns, either for oil or limelight, being exceptionally good, while their many thousands of artistic photographic transparencies are unsurpassed, if equalled, by any firm in the country."

When the studio at 60 Manningham Lane was opened it was under the direction of James Gunston whilst Thomas Appleton looked after the Little Horton Lane studio .(Bfd Weekly Telegraph 28th April 1873),

It would appear then that the premises at 58 Manningham Lane was not set up simply to extend the studio but it was set up to expand and diversify the business with Richard James Appleton taking a prominent role, establishing a wholesale and retail side. It might be suggested that the Appletons were edging their bets here. Amateur photography was beginning to take off and so there was a demand through retail for cameras, consumables and accessories, but there was also still a considerable demand from professional photographers to source product from wholesalers. Perhaps even at this stage Richard James Appleton had an eye on Percy Lund's Photographic business and the full range of product that Percy Lund was offering to the trade via his journal The Photographers World (1886-1889) and later The Practical Photographer (1890-1895) . Percy Lund's catalogue of 1887 shows the vast range of product being offered. The property at No 58 and No 60 Manningham Lane still stands today and the exterior of the building has changed little since the 1880s

Amateur Photography

For Apparatus, Material and Free Lessons go to

Appleton & Co 's, 58 Manningham Lane, See Appleton's "1887" camera

(Bradford Daily Telegraph 18th August 1887)

The Woodbury photomechanical process

In 1864 Walter Woodbury patented a photomechanical process which allowed high quality permanent prints to be included in books and on carte de visite. The images were referred to as Woodbury types. As far as we are aware Appleton studios didn't use this process for producing carte de visite and preferred in the 1870s to use the Autotype carbon printing process for some of their output. However, Appleton's photographs were used in a number of books in the late 1870s and early 1880s using the Woodbury process. The images had to be pasted into the books and were usually covered by a tissue to preserve them. It was not until the 1890s that the widespread use of half tone printing allowed photos to be printed directly into books and other publications. Three books in particular are worthy of note, these were 1876 The History and Antiquities of Morley by William Smith , 1877 Rev R Balgranie's book on Titus Salt and 1881 "Historical Notes on the Bradford Corporation" by William Cudworth.The Balgarnie book included the well known Appleton portrait of Titus Salt, his residence at Crows Nest Lightcliffe, a photo of his statue which stood in Town Hall Square (Now at Lister Park) and a photo of the Titus Salt’s Mausoleum in Saltaire, shown here.

The following text covers Cudworth's excellent book on the Bradford Corporation.

The Mayors of Bradford

The Appleton studios were responsible for a number of excellent portraits of Bradford Mayors. The portraits appear in the book "Historical Notes on the Bradford Corporation" by William Cudworth. The book was published by Thomas Brear in 1881 and the images are again of the Woodbury type and they are still as good today as the day they were produced. In fact this book serves as testament to the excellent work and the longevity of Appleton's business. There are portraits of eighteen Mayors of Bradford in the book, seventeen of them taken by Appleton & Co including those of, Robert Milligan the first Mayor of Bradford (shown right), Sir Titus Salt Bart, William Rand, Sam Smith, Henry Brown, Isaac Wright, Charles Semon, John Venimore Godwin, William Brashaw, James Law, Edward West, Mark Dawson, Manoah Rhodes, Henry Mitchell, Wilson Sutcliffe, George Motley Ward and Briggs Priestley. The eighteenth portrait is that of Angus Holden taken by Albert Sachs.

The 1881 Census

The 1881 Census shows Thomas’s son Richard James Appleton married with their first child Richard Norman Appleton and living at 24, Cunliffe Terrace. Richard James’s occupation is shown as Photographer and Chemist. Later Richard James and his wife Eliza Mary (Maddison) had four more sons and a daughter. These were Thomas, Reginald, Harry, Eric and Nina Lila.

Bradford's Fine Arts Exhibition

As can be seen on the left here Appleton & Co were awarded the highest award of Silver Medal at the Bradford Fine Arts Exhibition of 1882. Tissue covers were printed to celebrate the event. You would think that this also helps date the design of the mounting card and the portrait itself, however the photo on the right also shows a similar tissue cover with Richard James Appleton's name on both the mounting card and the tissue cover and this photo must surely have been produced much later.

Royal Visitors to Bradford and Saltaire

In June 1882 the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Bradford to open the Bradford Technical School and stayed at Milner Field, the home of Titus Salt Jnr. The house was located just outside Bingley. Today the remains of the house can still be seen along with one of its mosaic floors. The Prince and Princess of Wales marked the occasion by planting a tree in the grounds, a photo was taken by the Appleton Studios and is shown here. The book on Milner Field by Richard Lee Van den Daele and R David Beale refers to this event and suggests that one of Titus's children Gordon Salt was not at the event and yet he appears in the photo on the extreme right. It is suggested that he must have been 'patched into the photo' later. The photograph was registered for copyright 7th August 1882. In fact Gordon Salt had taken an interest in photography and in 1887 as part of a photographic competition he submitted, and won first prize, for his interior photographs of the drawing room and the conservatory at Milner Field. This was a competition organised by members of the Bradford Amateur Photographic Society. The judges were three professional photographers, J Gunston Bradford, T Illingworth Halifax, and W Eskett York. (Bfd Daily Telegraph 8th March 1887) The photographs may be the ones that appear in the Milner Field book.

When Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry visited Saltaire on the 6th May 1887 to open the Royal Jubilee Exhibition Richard James Appleton and Charles Maddison (Richards brother in law) were responsible for a photograph which captured the moment when Titus Salt’s wife handed the keys over to Princess Beatrice. Prince Henry, Titus Salt Jnr, Mr Chubb and others were also in the picture along with the royal carriage and the military guard. This photograph was was registered for copyright, the details of which can be found in the National Archives. The photograph may be the one that appears in the book Salt and Saltaire by Dr Gary Firth. Saltaire Village was built by Titus Salt Snr for his workers and is now a World Heritage site. . Charles Madison actually had his own photographic studio at No 8, Saltaire Road, Shipley.

The Family Album

Two of the most prominent families in Bradford during the late Victorian period were the Holdens and Illingworths. Isaac Holden and his first wife Marion Love had four children, two sons, Angus and Edward and two daughters, Margaret and Mary. Three of the four children married into the Illingworth family and this created a bond between the two families. Angus Holden married Margaret Illingworth, Mary Holden married Henry Illingworth and Margaret Holden married Alfred Illingworth. Through their marriages Margaret Holden became Margaret Illingworth and Margaret Illingworth became Margaret Holden, most confusing.

We are fortunate that one of their family albums has survived and we are able to show it here. Thanks to Trevor Illingworth for rescuing it from an auction and from those that might have split the album and thanks for letting me purchase the album. The album dates from around the 1870s .

Not all the photographs in the album were taken by the Appleton studio, there are quite a few by Albert Sachs and some by Sagar of Keighley and others.

Some other examples of Appleton's studio portraits.

Angus Holden Mayor of Bradford (an Autotype), the second photo is his wife Margaret Holden nee Illingworth, the third and fourth are unnamed.The one on the right is dated 1877.

A couple of family photos are shown here. The third photo is a group of actors and dates to pre 1864, and the fourth is William Jackson, composer, organist and conductor, who had a music shop in Kirkgate. He was closely connected with the Festival Choral Society and led a choir that performed for Queen Victoria at Bucking ham Palace. He died suddenly in 1866, the choir sang at his graveside. A year later the proceeds from a special concert raised funds for a memorial at Undercliffe Cemetery.

On the left we have a jolly looking chap whose name we don't know, followed by a hand coloured photograph of Mrs Tetley. The third photo is Harry Holden Illingworth who was mill owner Henry Illingworth's son, again this is hand coloured, and the fourth is a portrait of the two gents, one expecting rain at any time.

The final two family photos were produced in landscape format. It is unusual to see photos presented in this way as it would have been awkward to display them in a family album. Most albums were not designed for landscape portraits.

Other than Autotype Appletons were also licensed to use the Van de Weyde and Platinotype process.

Front cover of the album and the first few pages featuring Sir Isaac Holden 1st Baronet MP, his second wife Sarah Sugden and son Angus, Mayor of Bradford, who later became Baron Holden of Alston.

Sir Isaac Holden, Alfred Illingworth MP and what is thought to be Henry Illingworth, Alfred's brother

Unknown Boy and girl, in profile, most likely family members and on the right Dudley with hoop and brother Holden Illingworth

Sarah Sugden, Mary Illingworth and daughter Mary Gurtrude dated 1872, and photo on the right unknown sitters, again thought to be family members.

Some of Appleton's portraits were produced using the Autotype process whereas Sachs used the Permanent Chromotype process. Both these processes were patented and the studios would have had to have a licence to use them. They were both carbon printing processes which ensured that the prints would note fade. These would have been more costly to produce than standard prints. There was clearly competition between these two major studios and both showed that they were keen to take on new processes as they came to market. Sachs was very successful with his Permanent Chromotype prints and many more of them survive today than do the carbon prints from the Appleton studios.

When the carte de visite format was first introduced in 1854 it was always envisaged that they would be mounted in albums. The early albums were similar to scrap books in that the photos were pasted in. Later, certainly by 1860, the albums were designed such that each portrait could be slotted into the album. Queen Victoria took a great interest in photography. The Bradford Observer reported on 14th Jan 1858 that an Antwerp newspaper stated "Queen Victoria, who has of late devoted much time and displayed great talent in the art of photography, has lately sent the Empress Eugenie, as a New Year's present, a charming album full of photographs taken by herself. On the leaves of this very unique work are to be found portraits of the Royal children in the costumes of various Shakespearean characters, the portrait of Prince Albert, together with views of Windsor Castle, Balmoral, and Osborne House."

In August 1860 London photographer John Mayall got permission from the Queen to publish fourteen photographs he had taken of the Royal Family. By the 25th August Messrs Harvey, Reynolds and Fowler of Leeds were advertising the fact that they had produced an album which had the fourteen Royal photographs. It also had space for others. "The album has spare leaves for additional photographs, and the leaves are so formed as to receive the pictures and hold them in their places without the use of gum or paste" (Leeds Intelligencer 25th August 1860)

The price being asked for the Royal album was £2 10s or for the set of Royal portraits without the album £1 3s 6d (Leeds Intell 15th Sept 1860) In addition to the Royal album the company were also offering albums of living celebrities containing 25 or 50 and portraits, from life, of the most remarkable personages of England and France. Prices £3 3s and £5 10s. These were so called celebrity carte de visite and were popular at the time. Some photographers such as Sarony offered celebrities significant sums of money to have exclusive rights to their portraits. The portraits found their way into ordinary family albums, especially the Royal ones. For a better understanding of this trend see article on this site concerning the studio of Camille Silvy.

Richard James Appleton takes over the running of the business.

By 1892 Richard James Appleton was advertising in ‘Bradford Portraits’ from the address at 60 Manningham Lane and by 1901 his father Thomas is shown on the census as being retired so it is likely that Richard probably took over the business from 1892, certainly at the Manningham Lane address although Thomas’s obituary in the Bradford Weekly Telegraph suggests that he didn’t retire until 1897. The Horton Lane studio was being advertised in the Byles directory of 1898 and 1900 under the name Appleton & Co and another address which is mentioned in Byles of 1898 was 23 Charles Street.

Bradford Portraits and its sister publication The Leeds Biographer were published in monthly parts. The biographies and portraits of some of the most prominent local people of 1892 are detailed in these publications. Appleton & Co were responsible for portraits of Alderman Ezra Hammond, Rev Featherstone Kellet, Mr John Holmes, W Suddards, Rev James G Miall, Rev W B Dalby and Richard James Appleton for the portraits of Rev Alfred Holborn MA, Rev Professor Shearer and Rev T Brain Castle.

A recognition of the rise in the number of amateur photographers.

The 1893 edition of the Amateur Photographers Annual mentions Appletons along with some other establishments in their Holiday Guide for Photographers. " R J Appleton & Co, 58 Manningham Lane stock all makes of plates, paper, chemicals, apparatus etc. Dark Room - No charge for use of room; available 9am to 7pm" They go on to say " There is not much to photograph in the town except one or two buildings" They suggest visiting Peel Park and Manningham Park or Bolton Abbey.

Other Business Interests

Richard James had business interests elsewhere, he had a business partner in Leeds named Robert Henry White and they ran the business R H White and Co. The business was based at 18 Park Row. The partnership is referred to in an article in the Leeds Mercury 22nd March 1895 which describes a court case in which Richard Appleton and Robert Henry White’s father H K White take a third party to court over a number of boxes of Magic Lantern slides which were owed to them. The book Industries of Yorkshire describes the business and the shop. The business was an Opticians and dealer in photographic apparatus, the shop being 35 feet long and having a 17 foot frontage. They stocked opera glasses, telescopes, eye glasses, spectacles, photographic apparatus, chemicals of every description and variety of scientific instruments. They even made artificial eyes.

The Appleton's Business Expanding

Richard Appleton took over the photographic department of Percy Lund and Co in 1896. The book 'British Cameras' by Channing and Dunn refers to this and says that " In August 1896 they disposed of their camera department to R J Appleton" .A considerable amount of material on Percy Lund & Co is held by the West Yorkshire Archives in Bradford. It does seem that prior to the takeover the two companies had a working relationship. The Appletons were in 1892 stockists of the Practical Photographer, a publication produced by Percy Lund. At the time Appletons were also operating from an address in 11, Leeds Road Bradford. In an advertisement in the Practical Photographer in July 1891 Statuesque Tissues was being advertised, this was used in the production of Carte de Visites and Cabinet cards to protect the finished image. Only Appleton, Percy Lund and Fallowfields of London are shown as wholesale stockists of this product. A sample box of Japanese Art Tissues is shown here along with a sample sheet of designs. There were dozens of designs for the photographer to choose from.

Percy Lund & Co were printers and dealers in photographic equipment with branches in Bradford and London, The company produced many books and magazines including the Junior and Practical Photographer magazines, they also produced the St John Camera. . Prior to this in April 1886 production of the The Photographer’s World began, the only trade journal for photographers. Over 5,000 copies were sent gratis as Percy would say to photographers and photographic material dealers all around the world. The first edition was published in April 1886 and from then on the 15th of every month. They were filled with advertising from companies such as Elliot and Fry, Morgan & Kidd, The Britannia Works Co, Marion & Co and Spicer Brothers amongst many others. The advertising was looked after by Parry and Crawford of Fleet Street. Articles were also included along with information on the latest patents. Percy ran a competition where he awarded medals for the best photos, a competition judged by Henry Peach Robinson and Valentine Blanchard. He requested in his column ‘Cabinets if Possible’ for a cabinet sized portrait of the Photographers themselves to be sent to him so he could produce the Photographers World Album. Each card would need to have the photographers name, address and date on it. By December 1887 one hundred and thirty portraits had been received. Further investigation is required to determine if this album was ever produced and the whereabouts of the album. Included in some issues were supplement illustrations and Percy would slip in the odd business card and envelope with his advertising on it. Percy's interest in Photography and Magic Lantern slides also got him involved in local camera clubs where he gave presentations supported by the use of his Magic Lantern Slides. In 1899 Percy Lund became President of the Bradford Photographic Society with Richard James Appleton and Alex Keighley Vice presidents. Percy was also president of the Yorkshire Photographic Union (YPU) from 1899 to 1903. In fact the Bradford Photographic Society still remembers Percy Lund by presenting an award each year, the Percy Lund Rose Bowl. The connection between Richard James Appleton, Percy Lund and Alex Keighley is an important one and it is investigated further in the article on Percy Lund.

Another Bradford Photographer A E & C Fox bought card stock from both Percy Lund and later Richard Appleton. It can be seen here that Percy Lund sourced the cards from Vienna whereas Richard Appleton was using a manufacturer in Berlin.

Appletons Cieroscope.

Since the idea of moving pictures or Living Pictures came to light there were many creative minds that worked on ideas, designs and modification to existing designs. The book Living Pictures by Henry V Hopwood 1899 has a useful chronology of British patents and details some of the inventions including those from Lumiere and other well known figures.

Leeds and especially Bradford was at the forefront of these developments with Richard James Appleton, Cecil Wray and the Riley Brothers either working on various designs and/or producing films prior to 1900. The Appletons had already produced their own Magic Lanterns including those made from Mahogany and Russian Iron and a triple lantern illuminated by limelight. Although the Lanterns and their slides were very popular the future was in moving pictures and so R J Appleton & Co designed and produced the Cieroscope.

It was on Monday 6th April 1896 when Lumieres Cinematograph was used to project moving images at the Peoples Palace in Bradford. This was the first time it was shown in the area.

The Leeds Times reported on 19th December 1896 that “Messrs R. J. Appleton and Co are giving a series of exhibitions at the Mechanics’ Institute illustrative of the powers of their “Cieroscope,” and apparatus for presenting to view animated photographs or living pictures".

The advertisements shown here are from the book Living Pictures by Henry V Hopwood 1899

In the following year Appleton pulled off one of his greatest achievements. He filmed Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London, processed the photographs on a train on the way back from London and showed his moving pictures via his Cieroscope to tens of thousands of peoples in Forster Square Bradford the very same day and for three days following the event. This was a remarkable achievement at the time. The story is told by the Telegraph and Argus The book “Movie Maker and Picture Palaces” by G J Mellor also describes the event in some detail. The BBC has recently recognised the achievements of Richard James Appleton and produced a documentary Railways the making of a Nation.

In the Yorkshire Evening Post 21st Feb 1898 R H White & Co placed an advertisement as follows.

“Animated or Living Pictures. Appleton’s ‘Cieroscope’ for bazaars, private parties,& c – Terms and particulars apply R H White & Co, 103 Albion Street. Leeds.”

A photograph of the front of these premises can be seen on the Leodis website.

Appletons and X-Rays

G J Mellor says in his book that in 1897 a chap named Ernest Rutherford gave a lecture at the Bradford Mechanics Institute on Rontgen Rays which were an early form of Xrays. Richard Norman Appleton ( R.J’s son) aged 17 worked the lantern. This got the Appleton’s interested in Xrays . They later worked in collaboration with a number of Bradford doctors in using this new technology. (In 1908 Ernest Rutherford was awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on radioactve substances.) In fact there is evidence that Appletons were involved with Xrays slightly earlier than 1897, as detailed below.

Mr F Brundett of Clayton gave a lecture at the Bradford Photographic Societies meeting on Thursday 27th February 1896. It was illustrated by about one hundred lantern slides. R J Appleton operated the clubs lantern. "During the evening he put on two remarkable specimens of the new photography taken by himself." A ( ref Bradford Daily Telegraph 29th Feb 1896)

The publication The Invisible Light, a Journal of the Radiology History and Heritage Charitable Trust number 15 dated 2001 has reference to Appleton’s and Xrays. It describes Appletons as non medical practitioners of the X-Rays and typically getting involved in demonstrating fractures and dislocations in hands, feet, arms and legs and detecting foreign bodies such as needles, bullets and swallowed objects such as coins. It refers to three articles that were published in relation to Appletons and X-Rays, as follows.

The Practical Photographer, VII, 152 May 1896 reported that “Messrs R J Appleton & Co, photographers of Bradford, are prepared to treat cases with the Ronten rays. This firm has been successful in photographing portions of the backbone, the arm and other parts of the body”.

The Photogram III 131a (May 1896) reported that Professional Radiography was being undertaken by Appleton & Co, Manningham Lane, Bradford.

The English Mechanic and World of Science, LXVI, 504a(January 14, 1898) printed an article as follows. ”The Rontgen Rays and Surgical Operations. – Dr Moorhead, of Tong (a village near Bradford) has had a somewhat peculiar experience in connection with X rays. A lady patient of his having got a portion of a needle into her foot, he took her to Messrs. Appleton of Bradford, where the X- rays were applied, and the needle localised the following morning, with a life size tracing of the negative, the doctor attempted to cut out the needle, but, to his surprise, it was not where it should have been. On the photograph the needle was in a horizontal position, but it was found in a vertical position, and was extracted from the dorsal surface of the foot instead of the planter surface. The needle extracted was 1 1/8 inch in length, and had struck the bone with such force as to bend the point. Surgeons resorting to X- rays will, therefore, have to devise some means of operating immediately a negative has been obtained. “

It was said in the obituary of Richard Norman Appleton that when he left the grammar school that he joined the Photography business, this would have been about 1896 when Rutherford gave his lecture at the Bradford Mechanics Institute. The article which was printed in the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer on Tuesday 4th August 1936 goes on to say '"they claimed to be the first in England to obtain results when experimenting with Rontgen Rays. Working in collaboration with Dr Campbell of Manningham , their first success was to prevent a man's finger from being amputated by showing that the root of the trouble was an abscess and not a disease. After this success they worked in collaboration with many other Bradford doctors '"

After the discovery of X Rays by Rontgen in late 1895 Henry Snowden Ward took an interest and was the first to publish a textbook on the subject in May 1896 it was entitled 'Practical Radiography'.Before this he wrote an article 'The New Light' in The English Illustrated Magazine in February 1896 and 'Marvels of the New Light' in the Windsor Magazine. He had worked for Percy Lund for many years however it was about this time when he left his employment and started his own business. One of the things he did was become an itinerant lecturer on the subject of X Rays. At first there were only a few practitioners including Appleton of course and in the Windsor Magazine article Ward says these were "overwhelmed with applications for their professional services from doctors to sufferers of all degrees. No doubt before long we will have public laboratories fitted for this work, and probably one will be attached to every great hospital.'" See the Percy Lund story for more information on Henry Snowden Ward and a picture of his hand being X Rayed during one of his demonstrations.

Magic Lantern Slides of India

The book 'The Indispensable handbook to the optical lantern' by Welford and Sturmey dated 1888 refers to Appletons having a collection of 459 Lantern Slides on the subject of India. The slides were from original negatives purchased by Messrs Appleton. "They make up a large series under many headings, from which lecture sets are to be prepared from time to time, one being now ready under the title 'Two months in India with a camera' " Percy Lund must have acquired a set of these slides along with others. Here are four examples from his collection with the first two being from the 'Two months in India with a camera ' series. These are number No 18 and No 26. The last slide is by Newton & Co the subject being Indian Gentlemen weaving. The images here have been taken from the original glass lantern slides which belonged to Percy Lund and are not from the book. Percy Lund must have gathered a huge collection of slides to support the various lectures that he gave not only on photography and theosophy but many other subjects. Thanks again to Richard Becker for access to these. According to the Lucerna website there were 40 slides in the 'Two Months in India' collection and they were produced by York & Son between 1886-1888. They say that R J Appleton and the Riley Brothers had stock. We don't know if these were for sale or for rent by Appletons and Rileys. The Magic Lantern Society have the 'Reading' for this lecture in their collection. Efforts are being made to acquire a copy of this.

On the back of some of Appleton’s Carte De Visite photographs there is a copy of an engraving which shows the front of the premises at Horton Lane. The building has a glass roof. A Carte de Visite of this type is held by the National Media Museum in Bradford and is dated 1880. There are other examples in the Holden/Illingworth Album dating back to 1872. At least four different versions of the engraving exist, with minor differences. The photograph shown right is the front of Appleton’s Horton Lane studios in 1904 with crowds gathering for the Royal visit to the city. From the marks left on the side of the chimney stack it can be seen that the glass roof had been lowered at some point by perhaps three or four feet.

The 1904 Exhibition was an important event in Bradford’s history, The Prince and Princess of Wales came to open Cartwright Hall and unveil Queens Victoria’s Statue. It is unclear if Appleton had any involvement in this event but other studios such as the Rosemont Studios of Leeds and Alfred Coe of Bradford took advantage of a business opportunity and produced many postcards of the event. There is no doubt that the photographic studio business had peaked and perhaps Richard became more interested in 'talking machines'.

The Bradford Weekly Telegraph reported on 10th May 1907 that the Corporation's Street Improvement and Buildings Committee had accepted an offer by Thomas Appleton to sell his studio at 7 Little Horton Lane, along with 103 sq yards of land for £2000, and so this was the end of the studio which had been such a success for the Appletons.

Talking Machines

The advertisement shown here is from the Talking Machine News 1st Sept 1906 it shows that R J Appleton were stockists of the Duexphone, the only machine at the time to play disc and cylinder records. The address is North Parade Works, Bradford.

Explosion at 15, Oak Villas

Thomas Appleton suffered burns to his face and was in shock when there was a gas explosion at his house at 15 Oak Villas, Manningham on 12th July 1899. There had been a gas leak from a chandelier in the back room of his house when it was drawn down. A young plumber named Hiram Dawson attended the premise, he was in the employ of Steven Dobson. Dawson foolishly stuck a light in order to locate the defect and this caused the explosion. He was severely burnt on his hands and face and Thomas Appleton now aged seventy one was knocked against the wall and suffered burns to his face. The explosion was heard 'from some distance round'. 'Both the back room and the drawing room were completely ruined. The windows were shattered and the blinds were blown into the back yard. Several valuable pictures, ornaments and mirrors were smashed to atoms, a large table in the drawing room was broken down, the ceilings in the two rooms were blown down, and the vicinity of the rooms was in a state of disorder.' 10

The Connection with Cecil Wray

Richard James took over the business of Cecil Wray in late 1902. Cecil Wray had set up a business in partnership with William Baxter their company Baxter and Wray was based at Borough Mills, Manchester Road, Bradford. They worked with Joseph Oulton, Clockmaker and together they applied in May 1897 for a patent for the “Improvements in Apparatus for Taking and Exhibiting Kinetoscopic Films or Animated Photographs”. The partnership between Baxter & Wray was wound up in June 1898 and a new company was formed in 1899, Cecil Wray & Co Ltd, it was registered with a capital of £5,000 in £1 shares 11 , unfortunately the company went into liquidation in late 1902. Articles were printed in the local press, on 22nd July 1901 announcing a winding up notice for Cecil Wray & Co, and on 10th June 1902 reporting the partnership had been dissolved between Cecil Wray and John Henry Ashworth, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers of 24 Simes Street. The fixtures and fittings and stock in trade were sold at an auction on 7th and 8th November 1902. The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer reported on 1st November the details of the upcoming auction, as follows.

To Photographers, Electricians, Magic Lantern Exhibitors

On Friday and Saturday next

at Borough Mills, Manchester Road, Bradford

Cecil Wray and Co (Ltd) Electricians, Photographers, and Magic Lantern Outfitters (In Liquidation)

Mr G F Lockwood will sell by auction

The valuable fixtures and fittings comprising counters, showcases, tabling, partitioning, desks, benches, glazed show cases, table tops and trestles. 1 1/2 hp electric motor 110v counter shafting etc.

First portion of stock in trade comprising. 2 bi-unial triple drawer magic lanterns, one mahogany condenser (complete), 6 magic lantern bodies, 3 Russian lantern bodies, 73 penny-in-slot cinograph with pedestals quantity of lantern lamps, sundry lanterns, 6 calloscopes, 5 monoscopes, 4 penny-in-slot phonographs, one Edison Bell electric ditto, 5 Gramophones, one penny-in-slot ditto, quantity of photographic fittings, and accessories etc.

Toys comprising clockwork, steam and hot air locomotive and stationary engines, 12 dozen magic lanterns, photographic cameras, card games,and other effects.

A timeline in connection with these events is shown here.

The 1902 telephone directory records Appleton to be at Borough Mills and in 1902 and 1904. Appleton and Joseph Oulton, Clockmaker also applied for patents. Cecil Wray's business was certainly going through some turbulent times. He was declared bankrupt in late 1903 when a creditors meeting was held, his address was shown as 16 Chevin View and business address 24 Simes Street.It was stated that his debts were due to law suits intended to prevent him from doing business on his own 12 In fact it was Richard James Appleton that had taken legal action against Wray and this may well have led to his bankruptcy. 13 . Clearly there was a dispute between the two men.

Cecil Wray was undoubtedly a pioneer in cinematography. The Grantham Journal 18th Feb 1899 reported on an evenings entertainment he had put on in Langham. "On Tuesday evening last 14th February a very interesting and novel entertainment was given in the Village Institute by Mr Cecil Wray (Assoc. Inst E.E.) consisting of a lecture on the Phonograph Cinematograph illustrated by means of a powerful oxy-hydrogen lantern and slides and the Bettini Micro Phonograph giving musical selections by the leading artistes of England and America; also the Perfection Cinematograph showing animated photographs of up to date events including the great Spanish Bull-fight reproduced by means of 100,000 pictures. The lecturer also brought a record taker with him which was fixed up to the church steeple, and some changes were rung on the church bells which the Phonograph reproduced in the evening to the great delight of the crowded audience..... It seems unanimous that we may soon have the pleasure of hearing Mr Wray again"

Local directory listings of the Appleton's business

The Post Office Directory of 1898 has the following information

23 Charles Street. R J Appleton Photographic Dealer (Well stocked showroom with free darkroom where they will be pleased to see amateur photographers, Bradford Daily Telegraph 27th May 1895)

87 Emm Lane, Heaton. Appleton, Richard J. Optician. The Yorkshire United Independent Theological College

7 Little Horton Lane, Appleton & Co, Photo Artists

58, 60 Manningham Lane Appleton, R J & Co, Photographers, Photographic Dealers, Lantern Outfitters, Opticians, Apparatus Makers.

15 Oak Villas, Appleton, Thos. W. Photographer.

The telephone directory of 1902 shows the business of R J Appleton & Co, photographic Lantern Outfitters to be at Boro’ Mills and also with the same telephone number to be at Market Street Bradford and with the description of Printers and Stationers to be at North Parade and Manningham Lane. Borough Mills stood at the junction of Manchester Road and Sharpe Street close to where the Bradford local studies library stands today.

The Leeds Times reported Jan 1898.

“ W. C. Harmsworth, clerk, of Lonsdale Street was at the Bradford City Police Court, on Saturday, charged with embezzling £13, the property of his employer. Mr R J Appleton, photographic instrument dealer, of Bradford. The prisoner had charge of a branch establishment in Charles Street, and he had to make up the books for the Manningham Lane shop. At the end of last year he made excuses when asked to make up the accounts and when finally pressed he absconded. Inquiries then proved that he had for two years been appropriating his employers moneys, and up to Saturday it had been ascertained that he had embezzles £120 in account and there was a deficiency of £100 in the stock, making a total of £220. The Stipendiary, in passing a sentence of four months imprisonment said the offence was aggravated by the defence, which was bad company.” The Tamworth Times also reported on the same incident and said that Harmsworth got into bad company by attending various places with the cinematograph.

The Horton Lane Studio

Advertisement from September 1909 by Gunston and Co, 60 Manningham Lane.

New Century - New Opportunities

By 1909 Gunston & Co were occupying the Manningham Lane studio. The turn of the century brought new opportunities and the Appleton's both Richard James his son Richard Norman Appleton started a business manufacturing Gramophones, they started the company Appleton (Leeds) Ltd which operated from Hanover Place.(1936) Perhaps they had bought some of the gramophones from Cecil Wray and saw ways they could improve upon the device, once again demonstrating their entrepreneurial spirit. Richard Norman was involved in the business until 1932 when he retired from being a Director however his father continued in the position of Managing Director. A (R N's Obituary Yorkshire Post 4th Aug 1936)

Portrait of Richard James Appleton is shown here, looking in his later years very much like his father Thomas. (Courtesy of Tim Mitchell)

Between 1902 and 1909 Richard James Appleton applied for at least seven separate patents, also his son Richard Norman Appleton applied for at least two patents between 1923-1927. Full details of these patents can be found at The patents were as follows.

19/03/1902 Improvements in or relating to switches for electric motors.

Richard James Appleton, Manufacturing Optician of Borough Mills and Joseph Oulton, Clockmaker.

14/05/1904 Improvements in Certain Brakes.

Richard James Appleton, 55 North Parade Bradford, Electrical Engineer and Joseph Oulton, Clockmaker.

9/06/1904 A new or improved combination of gearing.

Richard James Appleton, 55 North Parade Bradford, Electrical Engineer and Joseph Oulton, Clockmaker.

6/03/1909 Improvements in or connected with talking machines

Richard James Appleton Rombalds Ben Rydding, Talking Machine Factor.

19/03/1909 Improvements in or connected with talking machines

Richard James Appleton of Rombalds Benn Rydding, Phonographic Factor and William Hatton of 43 Union Street, Otley, Printers Engineer.

27/05/1909 Improvements in or connected with talking machines

Richard James Appleton of Rombalds Benn Rydding, Phonographic Factor and William Hatton of 43 Union Street, Otley, Printers Engineer.

3/05/1909 Improvements in or connected with Phonographs

Richard James Appleton of Rombalds Benn Rydding, Merchant and William Thomas Force of London, Engineer.

28/02/1923 Improvements in or related to Gramophones

Richard Norman Appleton of 15 Air Street, Leeds. One of the diagrams explaining the invention is shown here.

4/05/1927 Improvements in or related to Gramophone Cabinets

Richard Norman Appleton of 15 Air Street, Leeds

Death of Thomas William Appleton

Thomas Appleton died in 3rd February 1912 aged 84 his probate details are as follows:

Appleton, Thomas William of 15 Oak Villas Bradford died 2 Feb 1912 Probate London 4 April to George Edwin Waddington merchant James Strickland Mawson cashier and Cecil Hartley stuff merchant. All three were son in laws. Effects £ 4441 8s 1d

Thomas William Appleton’s obituary in the Bradford Weekly Telegraph – 9th February 1912“Mr Thomas William Appleton who died on Saturday last at 15, Oak Villas, Manningham had a long and interesting business career, he being established in Bradford for about forty years as a photographer. He first started business in Bradford as a draper in Westgate, having served his apprenticeship at Meek’s Manchester. In 1853 with a partner named Berlon, he established a studio at the top of Manor Row, on the site where the Yorkshire Penny Bank now stands.

The business transferred in 1865 to the bottom of Horton Lane and 1872 he opened up a branch in Manningham lane at the premises now occupied by Gunston & Co. Previous to opening the Manningham Lane branch he resided at Wike but then he went to live at 15 Oak Villas, Manningham, which he occupied to the time of his death. He retired from business in 1897 at the age of 70.

He was a member of the Wesleyan Methodist body and attended Carlisle Road Wesleyan Chapel at which place he was trustee. Mr Appleton who leaves two sons and five daughters stood over 6ft in height and on the morning of his death was out walking, but succumbed to heart failure later in the day.”

The photo right is of Thomas's grave in the magnificent Victorian cemetery at Undercliffe, Bradford. (section 22) He is buried with his wife Ann and daughters Isabella and Amelia. Not too far away are the graves of the some of the most important industrialists and merchants of Bradford such as the Holdens and the Illingworths along with the Mayors of Bradford, many of which the Appletons photographed.

Son in Law brought into the business

In 1920 Richard James Appleton’s daughter Nina Leila Appleton married Ronald Mervyn Curtis Watkinson, in 1924 he died and six years later Nina got married again to a Ronald Booth Walker. Ronald Walker was a photographer and had premises at 7 Commercial Street, Halifax trading under the name Appletons. The 1939 telephone directory shows the address as “Appleton R J, Optcn, Photos, 53 Crown Street, Halifax. Tel Halifax 2345” The advertisement shown right was placed in the Halifax Courier Saturday 16th December 1939

Richard James had moved to live in Ilkley and in the 1901 census his occupation is shown as Optician and Photo Dealer. By 1911 his occupation was described as Talking Machines Factor and optician and when his daughter Nina married Ronald Walker in 1930 Richard James’s occupation was shown as Gramophone manufacturer.

Richard James Appleton died on 24th November 1946. He left £96,800 13s 1d to his daughter Nina Leila Walker and her husband Ronald Booth Walker. The equivalent today of £3.2 million. Richard had been a successful businessman, entrepreneur and pioneer with involvement in not only photography but moving pictures, X rays, and gramophones.

Press Clippings

Applications for Copyright by the Appleton Studios

Examples of work from the Appleton Studios


1. 1851 Census

2. Bradford Observer 17th Aug 1854

3. Bradford Observer 7th June 1855

4. Information provided by Geoff Huntriss

5. Evidence from the back of the carte de visite

6. The story of Woodhouse Grove School by F C Pritchard

7. page 90

8. Bradford Observer 1st May 1876

9. Bradford Observer 20th May 1869

10. Bradford Daily Telegraph 13th July 1899

11. Leeds Times 23rd Dec 1899

12. Leeds Mercury 24th December 1903

13. Bradford Daily Telegraph 22nd Dec 1902