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Percy Lund

Percy Lund was an influential figure in the world of photography and publishing. Perhaps his story should not have been included on this site as he did not have a photographic studio but he was in a position of influence in both professional and amateur photographic circles. His contacts were extensive and both Percy and Henry Snowden Ward’s contribution to publishing most certainly had an impact on the dissemination of photographic knowledge and developments, and so he is included and what an interesting tale this is.

Percy was born in Bradford in 1863 the son of Joseph Lund and Maria Terry. His father and his uncle Charles, both born in Kildwick, were responsible for the Lund’s Directory of Bradford published in 1856. The directory is probably a good place to start with the Percy Lund story because it paints a picture of Bradford around the time that Percy was born and it gives us an insight into the industry, the people and the rapid growth that was taking place within the town.

Lunds Directory of Bradford 1856

In 1851 the Bradford Borough had a population of 103,778 it had grown by some 50-60% every ten years for the last 40 years. The industrial revolution brought people in great numbers from the countryside to towns such as Bradford. Of the total population 9279 were from Ireland, nearly 10%, 776 from Scotland, 84 from Wales and 3,105 were from other countries, 46,668 were from within the Borough and 36,310 from other parts of Yorkshire, the remaining 7640 were from other counties of England.

Approximately 33,000 people were under the age of 15 and only 152 were over the age of 80. The average life expectancy in Bradford in 1840 was just 18 years with many children dying in their childhood from diseases such as smallpox, typhoid, scarlet fever and cholera amongst others.  The town was grim, the air was thick with pollution, disease was rife and the Bradford Beck was a health hazard.

33,597 of the working population were involved in Worsted Manufacturing. By 1850 there were 129 working mills in the town and Bradford had become the wool capital of the world.  The place would have been buzzing, a  place full of opportunity and a great place to do business but this most certainly came with its health hazards.

Only a few photographers and artists were listed in the directory, these were.

Joseph Bottomley, Photographic artist and gravestone cutter, Hall Lane

John Garbutt, Photographic Artist, 8 Little Horton Lane

William Chatterton, Photographic Artist, 38a Ivegate

Thomas Litherland, Instrument Maker and Photographer

James Lobley, Artist and teacher of drawing, Master at the Mechanics Institute, Crampton Street

John Preston, Artist, Westgate

Joseph Richardson, Artist, Bolton Road

Faulkner J Bird, Artist, Hustler Terrace

John Hunter Thompson, Artist, Belgrave Place.

Other photographers had visited the town as early as the 1840s, these were so called travelling or itinerant photographers including the well known and respected Oliver Sarony in 1846 and Edward Holland as early as 1842/3. Holland was the one who managed to acquire the rights to use the first commercial photographic process, the Daguerreotype process, and he had paid for exclusive rights within Bradford and surrounding districts, or at least a proportion of the fees. Within a year or two he lost these rights as he was unable to pay the balance of his licence fee.

Bradford Mills

The Family Background

Percy's father Joseph and his uncle Charles came from a large family of ten children of which there were six brothers. The brothers were William b1813, Robinson b1816, Samuel b1821, Joseph b 1823, Charles b1825, and Jonas b1827. The sisters were Elizabeth b1811, Charlotte b 1814, Sabina b 1818 and Sarah b1830. From an early age the children were expected to make a contribution to the families income. Joseph was sent to work at Hargreaves Mill from the age of seven and Charles worked in a mill from the age of eight working from 6 am until 7.30 pm.

Joseph and Charles's father Joseph Snr tried his hand at many different trades in order to support his family including dentistry, cutting hair, working on a cotton hand loom, undertaking, and scissor and knife grinding , he also worked as a sawyer and made tammy piece boards for Bradford Manufacturers. He hand carted these himself 13 to 14 miles from Eastburn to Bradford. His principal customer was Robert Millighan who was a draper and later a stuff merchant, he would become Bradford's first Mayor in 1847. Joseph Snr's wife Sarah Robinson was a very small women with dark eyes. She was an orphan brought up by her uncle at Hill Top in the Keighley Parish. She had no other relatives but cousins and was an ardent Methodist and very religious. She spoke ungrammatically and in dialect and had no schooling at all. 1

When the family moved from Kildwick to Frizingley (Frinzinghall) Nr Bradford in 1829 all twelve of them ended up sleeping in a single room. In the good old Yorkshire tradition Joseph Snr was a very careful man with his money, it was said he was 'very close in money affairs', he would walk five miles to save a penny 1 The children were allowed to read or work by candle light but not by two candles, just one, and they all were brought up on a diet of oatmeal porridge, which in actual fact cant have done them any harm, as most of them lived to quite an old age . The family moved to Bradford in 1833 but even then there was only one living room and two bedrooms for ten people. As time went by things must have improved as they managed to gather enough funds or borrow enough funds to buy houses.

Charles was said to have had little schooling but worked late in the evening on his studies at the Bradford Mechanics Institute, he studied chemistry and later in life in order to engage with the foreign visitors to Bradford who were there for the woollen trade he taught himself French, in which he became fluent, and German. Robinson became a Chemist, Dentist and Druggist in Barkerend Bradford, Joseph set up a bookshop and stationers at 82 Westgate Bradford in 1846 2 and Jonas established a grocery business at 31 Horton Road, Bradford.

Charles worked for several years at Thomas Willett's mercantile warehouse but then set up his own business selling shawls, he then began to sell second hand books in Manchester Road and in the old market and at one stage Charles and Joseph worked together on this. By the time Charles was 25 he added to his business rent collecting, he then moved into accounting. 2a  he also is said to have worked with his brother Robinson making musical instruments and telescopes along with their lenses.

Charles Lund
Charles probably stands out as the most ambitious and possibly the most successful of the six brothers. He was appointed treasurer and lecturer at the Bradford Mechanics Institute, lecturing in the subject that he had studied there. His connection with the Mechanics Institute continued for over twenty years. He helped found with Joseph the Bradford Third Equitable Building Society in January 1854, Charles acted as secretary and Joseph was a Director.  They were both involved with the Society from 1854 through to the early 1870s.2b  It fact the connection with the building society movement proved quite useful, Robinson certainly made use of this when he borrowed £ 480 to build two houses in Hill Side Villas in 1872. The Society was a successful enterprise and continued until 1945 when it was amalgamated with the Leeds Provincial Building Society to form the Provincial Building Society. It then became the National Provincial Building Society in 1982 which became part of the Abbey National in 1996. There were further amalgamations until finally the Abbey National became part of Santander. 

Besides taking care of the treasurers work at the Mechanics Institute, being secretary of the building society Charles was also working as an accountant, his company operated under the name Lund, Binns and Mitchell and later Lund, Mitchell and Naylor. The company were also involved in estate agency and insurance. They built a large commercial  property at 48 Market Street Bradford to which Charles had part ownership. Both Charles and Joseph were also involved in the School Board and the Bradford Board of Guardians for whom Charles served for seven years, one of which he was appointed Chairman. In addition to all this, he was also the Liberal registration agent for twelve years and worked for William Edward Forster a local MP, who was instrumental in setting up the Education Act of 1870, establishing schooling for all children between the ages of five and thirteen years of age.

Photo right is of Charles Lund in later life when he was described as a 'Local Worthy' by the Bradford Weekly Telegraph. 3  The Telegraph and Argus 1961 described him as a 'local character' and a 'pioneer in the building society movement'. 2a

Joseph having an interest in local affairs served as a Bradford Councillor for the West Ward from 1869 until 1871. He managed along with Briggs Priestley and J V Godwin to source 13,400 volumes to start the Bradford Free Library.4 The books had been in a private collection belonging to Alderman S Smith. The reference library opened its doors to the public in June 1872 and the lending library in February 1873

There is no doubt therefore that Percy Lund was brought up into a hard working family who were not only public spirited, ambitious, but also possessed an entrepreneurial spirit and took advantage of opportunities as they arose in the rapidly growing industrial town of Bradford. With the support of his family Percy had the opportunity to get off to a good start in life and in his chosen career, he not only benefited from a good education at the Yorkshire College, but his father and uncle Charles's must have had some political influence, business contacts and entrepreneurial and business skills which they would have been able to pass on to him and this would have been very useful as he developed his own business.

Photo left is of Percy Lund and sister Lucy, portrait by Albert Sachs taken 27th July 1877.

The move to Ilkley

Percy's father Joseph after spending some time in Bramley Leeds retired from his book selling business in 1870, he moved with his family to the Spa Town of Ilkley in 1873, they lived at Overdale, a large house which was built by the Lund family. Ilkley is 12 miles north of Bradford in the Wharfe Valley which is a very pleasant part of the Yorkshire countryside and borders the Yorkshire Dales, one of the most beautiful parts of England . Ilkley was a spa resort at the time with large spas such as the Ben Rhydding Hydro which attracted lots of visitors. It was far enough away from the grime and pollution of Bradford to make it a much better place to live and to bring up a family, merchants and other wealthy people made Ilkley their home. The Carte De Visite below by J Milner of Ilkley shows advertising from four of the Hydros in Ilkley, Ben Rhydding, Wells House, Craiglands and Trout Beck. Percy's uncle Charles also made the move to Ilkley in 1877 to a house he had built and named Hollycroft and later a house named Inglecroft.

Percy's family were living at Overdale on the edge of the moors but by the time the 1881 census came around they had moved to Eldermere a detached residence in Grove Road, Ilkley, another house built by the Lund Family.
2 Both houses still stand today. The 1881 census shows Joseph as a retired Bookseller and Percy aged 17 studying at the Yorkshire College. The College had been established in 1874 as the Yorkshire College of Science but changed its name in 1878 to The Yorkshire College. It provided instruction in Manufacture, Engineering, Mining and Agriculture and after 1877 Literary Studies. Percy first registered with the college on the 4th October 1880 aged 16 with the intended career of Printer. 4a He was awarded a first certificate in Geology in June of 1883. 5  
Earlier in May he had joined the Yorkshire Geological and Polytechnic Society. 6  During Percy's time at the College it was located in buildings in Cookridge Street, Leeds but the College was destined to expand and work had already started on a new site on the Beech Grove Hall Estate where the first buildings on this site would house the Colleges Textile Department. The College would in 1904 become The University of Leeds. 7

Prior to Percy attending the Yorkshire College it would appear that he had access to a printing press possibly at his home at Overdale. He printed a number of documents in late 1878 and early 1879 most probably practising his type setting skills. He was just aged fourteen/fifteen. He named the documents The Sun Series, edited by Percy Lund and printed at the Overdale Press, Ilkley. Here are a few examples, No 1, No 5 and No 7 in the series.

Sun Series No 1
Percy Lunds Sun Series
Sun Series No 7

The 1881 Census

Percy had two elder sisters, Emily born 1845, she was not at Eldermere when the 1881 census was taken, but her daughter Virginia Becker aged 11 was. Emily had married Pierre Leopold Becker from France in 1868. Percy’s other sister Lucy was living at home, she was 31 years old but not married, in fact she would remain single all her life. 

The Cup and Ring stones of Rombalds Moor.

Percy was probably first mentioned in a newspaper article in 1882, when he was eighteen.  The Leeds Times reported on the  24th June 1882 that the ”Ilkley Scientific Society had their first excursion on Saturday afternoon. They met at the tarn and proceeded to the moor. The cup and ring marks, and the botanical geological and other features were shown on the route and a pleasant time spent. Mr Percy Lund conducted the geological party and Mr C Shepherd pointed out the botanical specimens.” There are in fact many examples of cup and ring stones on the moors around Ilkley and Percy would have been very familiar with them because when the family lived at Overdale on the edge of the moors there was actually one in his garden. The stone at Overdale is referred to in an article in Nature magazine and on the Ancient monuments website, but alas it has now been overgrown and cannot be seen. The stone carvings date back to the Bronze age. Nobody actually knows what they were used for and probably never will, some speculate they may have had a religious significance. Three more examples have been preserved, close to Overdale , one of these is known as the Panorama stone. The three stones can be found in a compound opposite St Margaret’s Church on Queens Road, Ilkley.

Percy the Naturalist

Percy joined the Leeds Naturalist Club, and as you would expect there were those within the club who took an interest in photography including Edmund Wormald. On the 22nd of February 1882 the Leeds Mercury reported that the Leeds Naturalist club had met under the leadership of Mr Teasdale (Washington Teasdale) for a photographic evening at ‘their’ room in the Mechanics Institute. Several photographers who had practised the art were present. A resolution was passed to form a Photographic Society. It was stated that there was some sixty amateur photographers in Leeds. This event actually turned out to be the re-launch of the Leeds Photographic Society which had originally been formed in 1852 by enthusiastic workers,  Wm Fieldhouse, Wm Ga..tham, Wm Halliday, Thos Briggs, Thos Dixon, Tom Hope, R J Fowler, Wm Pumphrey (of York) and Henry Brady FRS centred around the vice president Mr J W Ramsden.

In 1883 The Practical Naturalist went to press, it was the journal of the Practical Naturalist Society which was 'conducted' by Henry Snowden Ward and H J Riley of Great Horton Bradford (Herbert Jowett Riley) was one of the Riley Brothers well known for their production of magic lanterns, lantern slides and their work on early cinema), the journal was edited by Percy Lund who was just 20 years old.8  Henry Snowden Ward was more or less the same age as Percy, he had also been born in Bradford and lived in Ilkley. Henry joined Percy Lund & Co in 1885 and they would work together on a number of projects over the next 8 years. 9  H J Riley along with his brother Willie Riley and Henry Snowden Ward had all attended Bradford Grammar School during the mid 1870s 9a

Practical Naturalist Society

Herbert Riley's younger brother Willie Riley recalled in his autobiography 'Sunset Reflections' , the time he and his brother joined the local Naturalist Society. Their interest in Natural History having been sparked by reading of 'The Boys Own Paper' and 'The Union Jack'   Willie goes on to say that Herbert had joined forces with a friend of a similar age to put together The Frizinghall Naturalist. Herbert was 19 years of age at the time and the year was 1882/3. The account doesn't say who the friend was, but a copy of the publication is held by the J B Priestley Special Collections Library within the Willie Riley archive and this reveals that it was F Foston who was the co-editor. Herbert and Willie had helped form The Frizinghall Union Jack Field Club in October of 1880 and the minutes of the club reveal that in 1882 Henry Snowden Ward was involved and was referred to as a 'corresponding member', his address was Parish Ghyll Road, Ilkley.  

Naturalist World
The Practical Naturalist was printed throughout 1883. In the last issue Percy and Henry admitted that the work had been too great for them and they were giving up.  However in the following January Percy launched the 'The Naturalist World and Scientific Record' and incorporated The Practical Naturalist within it. The new journal was edited by Percy and published by his company, Percy Lund & Co, Country Press, Ilkley, it was printed by the Country Press and also by W Swann Sonnenschein & Co, Paternoster Square, London. This publication would last for four years, each monthly issue being 16 and later 20 pages in length, priced two pence, it was bound into four volumes, one for each year. The 1884/5/6 volumes are available in the reference section of Leeds Central Library and all volumes are available at the British Library. It was possible to buy the Naturalist World without being a member of the Practical Naturalist Society but the publication and the Society were linked. Both Percy and Henry Snowden Ward wrote articles for the journal. One article that Percy wrote in the January 1885 edition described a trip he had taken to Cracoe which is just outside Skipton. He described how he had been caught up in a heavy rain storm and was drenched and not having brought a change of clothes with him had to have an early night at the local Inn where he was staying. What is interesting about this account is that he does not mention anyone else being on the trip and he may have well took the trip alone. Perhaps he enjoyed solitude and getting away for a few days to enjoy the countryside, the geology, which is in evidence at Cracoe through its limestone formations and its fossils, and of course the natural world. Some years later the Yorkshire Ramblers Journal described another trip that Percy took alone, camping on Sca Fell in the Lake District. In the same edition of the Naturalist World it was announced that Mr Riley had severed connections with the Society having served two years as secretary, this was due to due to other work commitments. By March of 1885 Percy had been elected an Honorary Life Fellow of the Society and by that time the group had begun to build a library of books and journals. In September there were 331 members and they had put together 177 books and journals, some of which were donated by Percy himself. The January 1886 edition stated that Percy Lund was president of the Society and editor of The Naturalist World. In the same edition a request went out for members to send in their photographs so that an album of members could be put together. 

Members of the Practical Naturalist Society were asked to keep observations in the form of a diary and submit this to the Society each year. The observations were then transferred to the Societies central notebook and Percy would include some of them in the journal, the journal also had many fine illustrations. To further involve the membership five guineas was offered in prize money, being split one guinea for each of the following. The best essay on the life of Robert Dick, The best collection of 100 short sayings by well known Natural History Writers, for the best account of a Natural History Ramble, for the best photograph of British Scenery and lastly for the best collection of 12 spring flowers. The journal was circulated nationwide and received good reviews by newspapers throughout the country. To get these reviews and the publicity needed to increase circulation Percy would send copies of his publications to newspapers throughout the country and this practice would continue later when he published The Practical Photographer. The membership card shown here and dated 1886 shows Percy as president of the Practical Naturalist Society and Henry Snowden Ward as Secretary. Committee members in May 1886 were Miss Linda Gardiner, Mr A H Waters, Mr F W Halfpenny, Mr H P Fitzgerald, Mr W Hutton and Mr T D A Cockerell. The Leeds branch was referred to as the No1 Branch,  London as No2 Branch and a third was proposed for Harrogate.

The Ilkley Free Press.

Percy took ownership of a local newspaper The Ilkley Free Press from Charles Denton in August 1884. The newspaper had been established in 1872. The 15th August edition first mentions Percy as the Proprietor, Printer and Publisher. It is possible that his father bought the business for him on his twenty first birthday as the date at which his name first appears as proprietor and the birthday are very close together.  Percy edited the Free Press and used the pseudonym Matthew Surface, a name he would use in other publications.2   In December 1886 immediately following his fathers death he sold the newspaper to William Walker and Sons.

1885 Wise Sayings – Selected from the writings of Great Men

Wise Sayings
Wise sayings may have been Percy’s first book. It is a small book and a copy of the 4th edition is held at Ilkley library. Percy liked competitions and because all the quotations in the book are anonymous he launched a competition with the prize of three guineas to whoever could identify the names of the authors. Closing date was 25th November 1886. It is not known how many people entered this competition but it would have been quite a challenge to identify some of the sayings and even today Google would struggle with some of them.

No 1 “Every man’s destiny is in his own hands”

No 6 “I hate to see a thing done by halves, if it be right do it boldly, if it be wrong leave it alone”

No 18 “ When a plunge is to be made into the water its no use lingering on the bank”

Perhaps Percy took on some of these ideas in his own life and was the better for it.

Sixpenny Ilkley Guide Book and Directory

In 1886 the Sixpenny Ilkley Guide Book and Directory was published by Percy Lund. It is a small pocket sized book. Within the directory listings there are two printers shown in Ilkley, Percy Lund at Station Road and  John Shuttleworth at Brook Street. There are also three photographers, Jesse Bontoft at Brook Street, William Scott at The Grove and E Thornton at Bridge Lane. At the time Percy’s uncle Charles was living at Queens Road, Ilkley and Joseph at Eldermere on Grove Road, Ilkley. Other sixpenny guides were also produced, one for Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale, one for Upper Airedale and one for Lichfield and its Cathedral. In the 1892 edition of Lichfield and its Cathedral by Henry Snowden Ward and published by Percy Lund & Co Percy had placed a number of advertisements for other goods and services including the St Johns Camera and its accessories. So it is clear that by now Percy Lund and Co were involved in selling not only cameras but the accessories and the associated printed material.

Josephs Death at a public meeting

A tragedy occurred on the 6th December 1886 when Percy’s father Joseph, now a local Ilkley Councillor died at a public meeting. The Ilkley Gazzette reported.

“A public meeting of ratepayers in Ilkley was called to consider the action taken by the Local Board to deprive the ratepayers of one-third of their representation and to consider the means of protecting the interests of the ratepayers on the Board. As the meeting progressed, Dr Little’s attention was called to Mr Joseph Lund, who was suddenly taken ill, and considerable consternation was caused by Dr Dobson being hastily summoned from the audience by Dr Little. In spite, however, of the efforts of the two medical men, Mr Lund expired in a few minutes and the fact was announced to the audience by Mr J Wilde, upon whose arm Mr Lund expired. The meeting was therefore at once dissolved.”  

 The move to St Johns Street, Bradford

Move to St Johns Street
The business was moved to Bradford in 1886 to a site at No 20, St Johns Street. The book Industries of Yorkshire 1888 describes the works.
“The works at St Johns Street viewed from without give no indication of the varied and interesting processes conducted within. The indoors working staff at present number about forty hands, nearly half of whom are girls, while certain other of the firms employees, engage in a more purely photographic part of the business work at their home or in workshops away from the dust and fog of the town. On the ground floor of the works are the photographic stockrooms, packing and forwarding department, laboratories for the preparation of photographic solutions, varnishes, &c and the retail sales room. On the first floor are the offices, printing machine room, gold blocking and bookbinding departments. The machine room contains a well chosen plant of printing machinery, together with paper cutting, stitching, and punching machines necessary for the photographic as well as the general printing business. The bookbinding department is fitted for general work, and the gold blocking room is devoted almost entirely to the blocking of photographic mounts. The second floor contains the composing room, with a splendid assortment of types, ornaments &c., for the English American and German type founders; and also the stockrooms of paper and cardboard. The excellence of Messrs Percy Lund & Co’s productions is evidence by the fact that they were awarded a silver medal at the Royal Yorkshire Jubilee Exhibition 1887 the only exhibition at which they have competed. Besides their own manufactures Messrs Percy Lund & Co keep a large stock of every photographic requisite.”

There is an interesting reference here to the difficulties that were faced when processing photographs in the 'dust and fog of the town'. It is difficult for us today to visualise what the atmosphere must have been like in the industrial towns of the north but a small piece in the book 'Fortunes made in business' Volume 3 describes a journey into Leeds. "The railway approach to Leeds is through an atmosphere of smoke and fire and all the surroundings are indicative of dinginess and gloom. A great town Leeds, there panting for breath while a thousand factories, forges and workshops seem to be doing their best to stifle it out of existence. Great furnaces belch forth flames, tall chimneys emit vast volumes of lurid smoke and miles of brick buildings crowd the views in all directions with smoke above, around and upon them."

There is also an earlier reference in the Bradford Observer to the problems of processing photographs in Bradford. On the 11th Feb 1864 Mr W Keighley Briggs was announcing the opening of his studio at No1 North Parade, he said. "Mr W Keighley Briggs's practice for 30 years as a portrait painter eminently qualifies him for the production of first class and artistic photographs, and as his painting establishment is conducted at Harrogate he will be enabled to produce clear and bright impressions, often quite impossible in the atmosphere of Bradford"

The Photographers World

Photographers World
Ilkley post office and the photographser world

In April 1886 production of the The Photographer’s World began, it was 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. Each edition was 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. It is not known if this album was ever produced and if it was the whereabouts of the album or copies of it. 

Included in some issues were supplement illustrations and Percy would slip in the odd business card and envelope with his advertising on it. In other issues there were supplementary advertising sheets included from companies such as Perken, Son and Rayment, Hazell Watson and Viney Ltd, Bridges and Smith, and Wilkinson & Co of Sunderland. Also when there were gaps in the journal due to all advertising space not being filled he would advertise one aspect or other of his business such as his offer to professional photographers to register their photos for copyright. To register the photographer would have to send two copies of his photograph along with a fee of 1/6.

Percy took every opportunity to promote his business. In the Book “A History of Photography”  also published by Percy Lund and written by W Jerome Harrison F.G.S. , he placed four pages of advertising, a very shrewd business move considering the subject of the book.

Here are some examples of the inserts that were placed in the journal including a business card and one of the envelopes he was producing.


Six additions of the Photographers World with their supplements. The editions are December 1888, May 1889, June 1889, March 1889, July 1889 and February 1889.

In the April edition of The Photographers World 1889 a small notice appeared relating to the position of Henry Snowden Ward within the company. It was stated that for the last four years Henry had been representing Percy Lund & Co on the South Coast and other portions of the English ground and that Henry was taking up a new position in the management of the Photo Materials department. "Mr Wards place 'on the road' was being taken by a Mr C F Reed"

The 1887 Catalogue

June 1887 Catalogue
The range of product offered by Percy Lund in June 1887 was vast.Click on the catalogue here to view the 69 pages. Here is just one example of one of the products that were being sold, a retouching desk.

One feature of the catalogue was the tremendous choice of photographic mounts. The catalogue provides a unique record of the range that was available at the time and any collector of Victorian Photographs would be fascinated by this detail, with names being put to the various sizes and types, and the list of the full range of colours and styles that were used. The most common type of course were the Carte De Visite (4 1/8 x 2 1/2 in.) and the Cabinet Mounts (6 5/8 x 4 1/4 in.), but there was also the Victoria (5 x 3 1/4 in.), the Malvern (6 1/2 x 3 1/4 in.), the Promenade (8 1/4 x 4 in.), the Boudoir (8 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.) and the Imperial ( 10 x 6 7/8 in.) and Royal Mount (10 5/8 x 5 1/8 in.). In addition the Stereoscopic and special sizes for views along with Panels( 13 x 7 1/2 in.), Large Panels ( 17 x 10 1/2 in.) and Grand Panel ( 28 x 13 3/4 in.) sizes. The mounts were produced in many colours, Bristol in Cream, Grey, Blue, Pink, Black, Chocolate, Olive and Black, Enamelled in Cream, Black, Chocolate, Olive, Maroon and Tea. The mounts could also be produced with a bevel edged using real gold leaf and the name and address on the front blocked in real gold. Brass blocks were used for blocking cards and were charged on the first order at 3d per letter, autographed or plain lettering. Monogrammes, Medals and Coats of Arms were always charged for if not in stock.

Portrait of Anne Bronte.
Shown below is a very interesting receipt which must have been given to Mr John Jeremy Brigg when he paid Percy Lund & Co for registering a photograph entitled Anne Bronte. This piece of paper uncovered recently by staff at Keighley Local Studies Library, and shown here with their kind permission, would have been a very exciting find indeed if it referred to an actual photograph of Anne Bronte, as none are known to exist, but with further investigation it was discovered that the receipt referred to a photograph of a drawing of Anne Bronte. Still a very interesting discovery and one which raises many questions. The reference in the National Archives gives us more detail of the item. Dr John Jeremy Brigg, son of Sir John Brigg, MP was along with his father one of the founder members of the Bronte Society in 1893. Although his address is shown here as Guard House he later lived at Kildwick Hall, thought to have connections with the book Wuthering Heights. John Jeremy Brigg is also known for saving East Riddlesden Hall from the demolition crew and selling it to the National Trust. John James Stead was the author of the book Chronology of the principal events in lives of the Bronte family.

 Photo of a portrait of Anne Bronte  Registration of the photograph of a portrait of Anne Bronte

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 as 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 a slide of some Indian Gentlemen weaving, this one is numbered 40. The images here have been taken from the original glass lantern slides which belonged to Percy Lund and are not from the book. Thanks again to Richard Becker for access to these.

Old Bradford illustrated

Old Bradford Illustrated by Harry Fieldhouse
In 1889 Harry Fieldhouse produced a book entitled Old Bradford illustrated, it was published by Percy Lund and Co and it appears that Fieldhouse may have worked for Percy. At about the same time a gentleman named William Scruton was working on a book entitled ‘Pen and Pencil pictures of old Bradford’.  An exchange of letters took place between Percy and William Scruton, the letters are kept by the West Yorkshire Archives. 11 The content of the letters is quite revealing. Fieldhouse was in search of illustrations for his book ‘Old Bradford Illustrated’ and had made an approach to Scruton for the loan of some printing blocks. Percy and Harry Fieldhouse were trying to get the book published before Christmas 1889 and presumably they had set themselves a specific deadline to go to press. It seems that Percy wishing to meet this deadline was pushing Scruton for a decision over the printing blocks, he wrote to him on 1st October. 

“In reference to the subject we have discussed with you. We are compelled to request that you will kindly let us hear from you not later than the 1st part of tomorrow, if possible in the course of this afternoon as we have pointed out to you we have another offer of 100 pictures from a gentleman with whom we will close immediately if you do not tell us where to meet in the matter.”

By 9am the next morning Percy had not received a reply so he wrote again, the letter was timed at 9am “We regret that we have no communication from you this morning. We cannot wait any longer. If you cannot let us hear from you at the latest in the course of an hour, please consider our negotiations at an end. Yours Truly Percy Lund.”

William Scruton’s  reply, a five page letter, was long and in some ways rambling. Only the draft of this letter still exists and this is littered with crossings out, he said

“I have been waited upon during the past few days by a party representing your firm – Mr Fieldhouse – who informed me that you are contemplating the issue sometime between now and Christmas of a cheap work on Old Bradford, to be illustrated by numerous views. He also said that your firm were wishful to negotiate with me for the loan of certain blocks which I have made for the illustration of my forthcoming work, in the same subject, on terms to be mutually agreed upon.

As to this proposal, I may state that I should have been glad to fall in with it had there been a sufficient interval between the issue of my book and yours that would not have prejudiced the sale of mine and would have enabled me to keep faith with my subscribers, which you must know would not be the case if my illustrations appeared within a few weeks time of a four penny issue.

As however you have no intention of delaying the appearance of your book beyond Christmas, I am compelled to decline any offer of the loan of my blocks for the reasons stated.”

What really seemed to upset William Scruton was that Percy was publishing the book at the same time as his own, he also seemed to have an issue with the price, and Percy’s firm had asked for illustrations which Scruton had intended to include in his own book but the most upsetting thing of all seemed to be when Fieldhouse suggested that if William turned down the request that they would approach local newspapers for illustration that had appeared in the last few years. Scruton feared that some of these may have actually belonged to him. So William Scruton did not supply the illustrations and Percy had to go elsewhere to the other Gentleman who had made the offer to supply.  According to the text in ‘Old Bradford Illustrated’ a Dr C F Forshaw had provided old engravings and paintings. He was obviously the Gentleman that had been referred to. Dr Forshaw was a dentist and had an interest in local poetry, he had a number of books published on the subject and may have had his engravings produced for the purposes of including them in his own poetry books, further investigation would be required to determine this.

We can only speculate on what had led to this unfortunate situation perhaps Fieldhouse had handled the negotiations badly or maybe Scruton just felt that the publication of Fieldhouse’s book effectively invaded his personal space, he did say in his reply to Percy’s letter that he felt that “I had the field pretty much to myself”

A comparison between the two Old Bradford books both published in 1889 shows that there was little duplication in the illustrations and that when the same subject was covered such as Bolling Hall and The Bulls Head, Westgate two different illustrations were used. 

My Experience as an Executioner by James Berry – A Shilling Shocker!

When Percy anJames Berryd Henry Snowden Ward worked on a book by James Berry in 1890 it must have been quite an experience. James Berry was the public executioner from Heckmondwike who lived in Bradford, not something his neighbours were too pleased about. He carried out 131 hangings between 1884 and 1891. When word got out that the book was to be published and before it had even been read the Northern Daily Mail published an article describing the book as a ‘Shilling Shocker’ but Percy took exception to this and demanded a retraction. “The book will be no shilling ‘shocker’, we are not aiming at issuing anything of this nature. Every care is being taken to avoid the sensational penny-a-line style which characterises the class of publications mentioned above. “My experiences as an executioner” will be a book to be read by everyone, and the morbid-minded searcher for pernicious literature will be disappointed in this publication” 12  The book was written by Berry an ex Bradford policeman, edited by Snowden Ward and published by Percy Lund in 1892. Berry kept an album of the murderers that he had dispatched, after he had executed Mary Ann Britland he didn’t have her photo so he wrote to the Ashton Chief constable. “ Sir – I would take it as a favour if you would send me a carte-de-visite of Mary Ann Britland, the Ashton prisoner whom I executed at Her Majesty’s prison, Strangeways, Manchester. I did not hear them selling outside the prison, and I thought I should like one to put to my collection of murderers, whom I have hung on different occasions. I herewith enclose you my card, trusting you will send me one, or give me the address of the photographer. – I am sir yours faithfully James Berry, executioner” Mr Danglish duly complied with the request.

The Bradford Observer said "Everyone interested in the pros and cons of capital punishment will get hints from this book"

The Warminster Herald had this to say "A quiet perusal of the pages will show that neither the author or the editor have been actuated with any desire to pander to the morbid cravings of a certain class of readers. The book is free from sensationalism"


The Practical and Junior Photographer
The Practical and Junior Photographer

The Practical Photographer  was published from 1890 through to 1900. Henry Snowden Ward was editor up to 1893 and Percy Lund thereafter. In the early days the journal was 6 inches by 8 inches in size and consisted of around 40 pages. It had a circulation of up to 10,000 copies and could be subscribed to by post.

Like The Photographer’s World it was circulated throughout the English Speaking World to every continent and to far flung places such as St Kitts, The Fiji Islands, Chili and Ceylon. 13

The Practical Photographer was more than for ‘the trade only’ it was pitched at Photographers, Dealers and Amateurs all over the world. Prior to its launch it was stated that 5,500 copies would be sent by post to professionals and dealers throughout the British Isles, the Colonies, America and other parts of the World. These were sent free of charge so Percy could ensure that his advertisers could reach the best and largest buyers. Another 2,500 copies would be circulated through dealers who would supply amateurs at 1d per copy, and through the secretaries of Societies who would supply members at the same rate.  To help launch the journal Henry Peach Robinson had agreed to publish a series of articles on 'Photography as a business' other contributors were Jermone Harrison and Valentine Blanchard.

The Junior Photographer began in August 1894 and continued until July 1900 when both publications were brought together.

The example shown here is of the Practical and Junior photographer dated August 1900. This edition is marked volume 1, No 1 and Matthew Surface is identified as Percy Lund.

Percy wrote many articles for the Practical Photographer and included lots of his own photographs within the text. Here are a few examples from The Practical and Junior Photographer Vol II 1901/2. The photos are tipped-in to the book. Both are bromide prints on Rotograph Paper mounted on two different types of Nature Paper, as sold by Percy Lund. 


Still keen to gather portraits of other photographers Percy published this portrait of himself in the 1897 Junior Photographer.

A gathering of employees

On Saturday February 11th 1893 the third annual 'Social' was held at the Teetotal Hall in Bower Street, Bradford. Employees and friends of Percy Lund & Co were invited. ."Over a hundred persons sat down to tea and a number of others joined them later in the evening for the entertainment which followed. The London Branch of the business was represented by Messrs H Snowden Ward and W. C Hay and the firms provincial travellers Mr F Parkin from the north ground and Mr Spencer Warren from the south were also present. Mr Percy Lund presided over the entertainment which was entirely sustained by the employees. The program included songs and recitals, a mock trial arranged by those taking part in it, several tableaux and a vocal waltz which was received with enthusiasm and vigorously encored. Between the stated items of the program a few games were interpolated for the younger folk and the proceedings finished with a couple of verses of 'Old Lang Syne' " 13a

Henry Snowden Ward and the Royal Photographic Society

Henry was elected as a member of the Royal Photographic Society in 1892 then called The Photographic Society of Great Britain. This was an interesting move as it may have turned out to be contributing factor to him leaving Percy Lund & Co. He had for some time been working in the south of England as a representative of the company. He would have already established many contacts and joining the Society would have most certainly added to the list. He declared his address as being the Offices of the Practical Photographer, EC, this would seem to indicate he was on company business. On joining he donated a copy of the 1891 Practical Photographer which again reinforces this idea. The Society must have had a great deal of respect for him as by August 1894 was he chairing a technical meeting of the Society and by May 1895 he was admitted to Fellowship when he also presented a paper entitled 'The ideal of Half Tone Printing' 13b Meanwhile he had met his wife to be Catherine Weed Barnes and married her in 1893. 

The timing may have been just right for Henry to make the split from Percy Lund, he had gathered the knowledge, and the experience, and perhaps now gained the confidence and motivation to start his own business Dawbarn and Ward. A little push from Catherine might have just been what he needed. The new company started to print books on photography, one of the first being The Photomechanics of Printed Illustration another was A Handbook of Illustration by Alfred Horsley Hinton. He was also writing articles for amateur photographers in the local press and had an article printed in the Sketch on Artificial Lighting. He was certainly establishing a name for himself and no longer needed Percy Lund & Co. His departure would have undoubtedly been a great loss for the company, his technical knowledge, his writing skills and his contacts were lost. This might have been enough for Percy to start rethinking his business.

Photographs of John Ruskin

Percy Lund was a frequent visitor to the Lake District and may have taken photographs of John Ruskin at Coniston. The book John Ruskin a life in pictures page 167 refers to photographs of John Ruskin and Joan Severn in Ruskin’s boat Jumping Jenny. A negative box exists originally belonging to John McLelland but now in the possession of the National Portrait Gallery, it has writing inside describing the negatives. One negative is described as “Professor Ruskin and Mrs Severn in boat on the lake Aug 93 16369 near to this description and what appears to be part of the description are the words Percy Lund & Co.

Marriage to Annie Bertha Field

Percy married Annie Bertha Field in 1892. She was the daughter of master printer Martin Field which created what may have been a very useful family connection. Martin started his letterpress printing business in Bradford in 1850 and the business continued to operate from Bradford for in excess of one hundred and fifty years.

Lund’s Directory of Photographers

It was reported in the British Journal of Photography June 1896 that Percy Lund & Co had produced a Directory of photographers, manufacturers and dealers. The report goes on to say "The ground covered by this Directory includes England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, and Australia. The information is given under the heads of various towns, and also alphabetically, and it comprises the names and addresses of those who are dealers, enlargers, picture frame makers, lantern specialists, manufacturers, and professionals and dealers. The Directory has evidently taken a good deal of trouble to compile, and should prove useful to many." The British library have a copy of the directory which is 196 pages in length and contains over 15,000 entries. Compiling the directory must have been a mammoth task and keeping it up to date equally as difficult. With the circulation of The Photographers World being 5,000 and the Practical Photographer 10,000 plus then this would have helped in building the database.

Lund Humphries Partnership

In early 1895 circumstances came about which led to Percy's uncle Charles writing to an Edward Walter Humphries suggesting to him that he might want to consider going into partnership with Percy Lund. Presumably Charles now aged 70 was acting as Percy's accountant and confidante. Percy Lund & Co at this stage were employing some 50 to 60 persons and perhaps it had reached a stage in its development that it needed restructuring and required additional management. It is not known why Edward Walter Humphries was chosen and invited in this way, he had been working as a bookseller, and had served his apprenticeship at Jarrolds of Norwich a well known printing firm for whom he had worked for several years, 14  The letter of invitation was successful and Edward Walter Humphries joined the company.

Percy Lund & Co were formed into a limited company in 1895 and became Percy Lund & Co Ltd. The company was registered with a capital of £10,000 in £10 shares "to take over as a going concern and carry on the business of printer, publisher, photographic materials manufacturer and merchant, magazine proprietor, &c,, carried on by Percy Lund at 5 Godwin Street, Bradford and at the Memorial Hall, Farrington Street, EC as 'Percy Lund & Co'. " 14a  

The Memorandum of Association dated 1895 shows the Shareholders to be...  

Percy Lund, 43, Athol Road,  Bradford, Publisher and Joint Managing Director

Edward Walter Humphries, 9 Devonshire Terrace, Bradford, Publisher and Joint Managing Director

Charles Lund (Percy’s uncle), Holly Brook, Ilkley, Accountant

Lucy Lund (Percy’s sister) , Wharfe View, Ilkley, Spinster

George Edward Wainwright, Little Down, Edgeboro Road, Guildford, Civil service clerk

Leopold Becker (Percy’s Brother in Law), Westbourne Park, Scarborough, Gentleman

And William Buckle of the Mansion House, Great Horton, Dyer. 

The first directors meeting was held at the offices of Charles Lund on the 20th May 1895. Charles, Percy, Edward Walter Humphries and Percy Metcalfe were in attendance. Percy Lund was appointed Chairman, Edward Walter Humphries Secretary, both were also appointed Managing Directors at a salary of £ 25 per month each. Within two years this was  increased to £30 per month. Percy’s salary seemed to stay fairly static for the next ten years but Edwards monthly salary increased to £83 by 1907. 15

Letter Head from June 1896

On the 4th August 1896 the company changed its name to Percy Lund, Humphries & Co Ltd. The works were at 5 Godwin Street Bradford, having been moved there in June of that year. The company moved approximately every ten years and it would seem logical to assume that this may have been due to leases expiring and the need to move to larger premises.  The moves were as follows:





1884-1886  Station Road Ilkley



1886-1896  St John’s Street Bradford

1890  21, Imperial Buildings, New Bridge Street, Ludgate Circus, London

1893  Memorial Hall, Ludgate Circus, London.


1896-1906 5, Godwin Street Bradford

From Sept 1896 Warehouse and Offices at Amen Corner, London EC.


1906  Priestman Street also referred to as Drummond Road, Bradford. 15 year lease taken on old textile mill.


1907 were at  57, Bridge Street Manchester.

When the company moved to Priestman Street in 1906 a fifteen year lease was taken out on an old textile mill. The ‘shed’ was 184 ft long by 152 ft wide and the warehouse 108 ft long by 30 ft wide. 16 

Lund Humphries Works 1907

Plan of Lund Humphries Works

Larger View

These works continued in use until the 1960s but the site was never redeveloped. Today the Priestman Street works stands derelict with some parts of the building collapsed and machinery still in situ. A very sorry site indeed.

Percy Lund & Co also had agents across the world these are referred to in an advertisement in the British Journal Almanac, the records do not show which year but it was most probably 1892. The agents were as follows:

In the United States. Edward Buchanan & Co, 1226, Arch Street, Philadelphia

In Australia. Baker and Rouse, 37 Collins Street, Melbourne

And in India. John Blees, Calcutta

Richard Appletons take over of Percy Lund's 'Photographic Material Department'.

During 1895/6 there was obviously some restructuring going on in the business. The works and offices had been moved to Godwin Street, the London warehouse had been moved to Amen Corner, the company became limited and changed its name with Edward Walter Humphries becoming a major partner and a significant change in direction was indicated by the sale of the photographic material department to Richard James Appleton. The British Journal of Photography Sept 1896 reported.  "Messrs Appleton state "The stock which had thus come into our hands, combined with our own - which is already a very large one - makes us the holders on one of the largest stocks of Photographic material equipment, apparatus & c in the UK. We have also a considerable trade with the magic lantern and its ramifications - loaning slides, supplying Brio's Oxygen & C." 

The letter head shown above was in use in June 1896, it describes the company as Printers and Publishers and 'Manufacturers of Photographic Specialities'. In Percy’s advertising file held by West Yorkshire Archives it can be seen that the specialities items referred to were things such as Albums, Japanese art tissues, professional masks and discs, art border negatives, hangers, negative bags, and pictorial posters.

Process Work and the Printer Percy Lund
Penrose Pictorial Annual 1907-8
Included in the range of hardware products offered at the time were such things as the St John's Camera, a retouching knife which was reviewed in the British Journal of Photography in February 1893 and Brass Stands for Professional Photographers to display Carte De Visite and Cabinet cards in their studios in 1887. The firm also sold studio furniture and accessories along with consumables for the professional photographer.

With the increasing number of amateur photographers there was a market for photographic albums to take various sizes of photos.  The Sunny Memories Album was developed along with other albums such as the P.L. Album, the Panoramic Album, the Haunts of Memory, the Sunscape, the Variorum and the Sun Pictures Album. 

The sale of part of the business to Appleton clearly pointed to a shift in direction for the company. Percy would have been aware of the gradual decline in photographic studio business, many studios were struggling, prices were under pressure and this resulted in a number of studios going bust. Kodak were also developing their range of cameras for the amateur photographer and other manufacturers were producing cheaper and more portable cameras.     Magazines such as the Amateur Photographer and the Junior photographer along with local camera clubs must have resulted in more people taking up photography as a hobby. At about the same time Percy had picked up a contract to print The Process Yearbook - Penrose's Annual which turned out to be a very prestigious publication. A publication was founded and edited by William Gamble in 1895 17  Percy had already been producing a monthly publication 'Process Work and the Printer' (See notes included in PublicationsTimeline) along with the Practical Photographer and Junior Photographer. Perhaps another factor may have influenced this change in direction for the company, the Half Tone process had been introduced which resulted in better quality and cheaper photo printing in books and journals. Whether this was the trigger for Percy to begin to produce a numerous photographic books it cannot be said but in 1895 and 1896 the company produced the Popular Series of Photographic Books and the Lund's Library of Photography. So there appears to have been a clear shift due to market trends from general publishing and supplying photographic equipment wholesale to the production of more photographic books, an increasing support for amateur photographers and printing to the highest quality, an example being Penrose's Annual.

Leeds Photographic Convention

The eleventh annual Photographic Convention was held at Leeds in July 1896 and Donald Maciver took a group photograph of some of the attendees.

Both Percy Lund and Henry Snowden Ward were at the meeting along with one of the Appletons and Allen Nield. Photo left is of Percy, the central figure in this cropped version of the photo and the photo right is of Henry Snowden Ward with his wife Catherine (Catherine Weed Barnes, an American photo journalist, lecturer, editor of The American Amateur Photographer and an enthusiastic promoter of women's photography 17a), again central to the photo. For more on the Photographic Convention and an amusing story about this photograph follow the link to Donald Maciver.

There was an opportunity at the Photographic Conventions to socialise and make contacts with other photographers both professional and amateur. This was also the case at local camera clubs. Percy joined the Bradford Photographic Society and was elected president in 1899. The Bradford Photographic Society still remembers Percy Lund by presenting an award each year, the Percy Lund Rose Bowl. Prior to this when he was studying at the Yorkshire College and he may have also been a member of the college's camera club. The British Journal of Photography 1887 reported that a 'P Lund' had contributed some magic lantern slides to the Yorkshire College photographic clubs second annual exhibition of magic lantern slides. It was reported that "All the slides were prepared on gelatine plates  (chloride or bromide) from gelatine negatives" If this was Percy then it would have been a few years after he had left the college. The president of the club at the time was Mr C H Bothamley. Bothamley was the senior demonstrator and assistant lecturer in Chemistry at the Yorkshire College whilst Percy was studying there. In 1890 he wrote the book The (Ilford) Manual of Photography, a book which became extremely popular as a plain English guide to photography. It continued in production for over 100 years. Incidentally Bothamley also attended the 1896 Photographic Convention in Leeds and was elected president of the Convention in 1890.

In 1898 Percy was also a member of the Royal Photographic Society and had two prints accepted at their 1898 exhibition, these were The Beech Glade and a portrait. The catalogue reveals that he offered to sell the prints for three guineas and one guinea respectively. In 1899 there was a move to create an umbrella organisation for the local camera clubs and the Yorkshire Photographic Union (YPU) was formed. Percy was a founder member and was elected their first President and served from 1899 until 1903.

Lecturing and Judging

Percy Lund Editor of the Practical Photographer 1899

Percy’s contacts, the fact that he was president of both Bradford Photographic Society and the Yorkshire Photographic Union, and was editor and publisher of the Practical and Junior Photographer journals must have made him a well known celebrity. He was in demand as both a lecturer and a judge at photographic competitions. He travelled to London and Bristol, up to Bishop Auckland and Edinburgh and even across the water to Ulster.

He gave lectures on ‘The Wordworths Country’, ‘Photographers that I have met’, ‘Field days of a sun artist’, ‘Trees as a study for sun artists’, ‘Tom Dick and Harry’ a lecture dealing with most of the matters embraced in the photographic field, and ‘Glimpses of life and scenery in the English Lakes Country’, a lecture which would last one and a half hours and include up to 200 lantern slides 18  In 1899 he offered to give three of his lectures to the Yorkshire Photographic Union and was willing to give each one twice throughout the season. The lectures were ‘Some prominent photographers and  their work’, ‘Tom, Dick and Harry, Amateur Photographers’ and ‘Trees as photographic slides’   

 The ‘Wordsworth Country’ lecture was given to amongst others The London Camera Club, The Cleveland Camera club and the Leeds Photographic Society. When he gave it to the Leeds Photographic Society in 1899 at the Philosophical Hall, Park Row it attracted one of the largest audiences they had ever had. The lecture was "profusely illustrated with lantern slides".19  This lecture was also given to the 1899 Photographic Convention in Gloucester. During the Convention Percy was elected to serve on the Council along with Henry Snowden Ward, Godfrey Bingley, Alfred Horsley Hinton, Henry Peach Robinson and a number of other well known photographers. 

A lecture he gave to the Vegetarian Society in Manchester reveals another part of Percy’s character. Describing his cycling and climbing experiences in the Lake district he said that ‘he found that ten years of vegetarianism had improved, rather than spoiled his form and he took a certain amount of satisfaction in passing several meat eaters on the way’ 20

Percy Lund in 1899 when he was the editor of the Practical Photographer

In the February 1902 edition of the Practical and Junior Photographer Percy advertised the fact that he was willing to give lectures as follows. 

Lectures for Photographic Clubs. The editor of The Practical and Junior Photographer is prepared to deliver lectures to photographic and other organisations during the early months of 1902. The principal subjects available are as follows. 'The Woodlands', 'Trees as a study for the Sun-Artist' illustrated with sixty or seventy slides. 'The Photography of Tom, Dick and Harry' Wherein the mistakes of the man in the street are pointed out. 'Nature poets and nature pictures' a comparison between photography and poetry with about sixty slides illustrating quotations form the poets. 'Field Days of a Sun Artist' being pictorial reminiscences of outings during twenty years the the camera' (ninety slides)  terms and vacant dates on application. Special terms for photographic clubs where no charge is made for admission. Also several popular lectures suitable for general audiences.

Percy the Climber

Percy took an interest in outdoor activities, walking, climbing and even potholing. He took a number of holidays mountain climbing in Switzerland, he was also a member of the Ramblers Club and gave his Wordsworth Country lecture to them in January 1899. He wrote an article in 1902 for the Yorkshire Ramblers Journal on his solitary adventure camping on Scafell this was when he spent a few days in the hills taking shelter not from a tent but from overhanging rocks. He photographed the views and even got a passer bye to photograph him in his shelter, see photo right. His camera equipment alone weighed 16 lbs and so it must have been quite a task to make it on to the tops with all his food, kit and his half plate camera, plus tripod. The total load was 40 lbs. For his food he took butter, cheese and soups but no fish, flesh or foul. 21 
In addition to this article he had another one published in the Ramblers Journal entitled Easter in Eskdale 1903.

To carry all the equipment Percy preferred the use of a ‘Ruck-Sack’. The Evening Standard reported in 1902 on the difficulties in carrying heavy camera equipment. “The carrying of photographic equipment when walking long distances is often productive of much weariness of the arm or shoulder. The following hints at this holiday time may be found serviceable in minimising the trouble. Sir Wm. Abney by means of an extra strap, forms a double loop. An arm is slipped into each and the camera lies in a small of the back. Mr Percy Lund advocates what is known as a ‘Ruck-Sack’ into which he packs all impedimenta not otherwise carried. For larger cameras say whole plate cameras and upwards Mr George Bankart adopts a kind of yoke sling made of four pieces of saddlers webbing. This is made to fit on the shoulders. Two loops, one under each arm, reach down to the waist and end in brass spring hooks. To these, camera, double backs, &c, are attached, leaving the hands free.”

Photo left is of Percy Lund walking through a village in Switzerland with Ruck Sack, shown here with the kind permission of Richard Becker  

Percy's interest in Theosophy

ABC of Theosophy Percy Lund Henry Snowden Ward
Percy was a religious man and took a lifelong interest in Theosophy. He may have been influenced by Rev Thomas Rhonnda Williams who was pastor of the Greenfield Congregational Church and who included in his Sunday evening lectures talks on "What Mrs Basant has left" and "Mrs Basant on Theology and Christianity" 21a  Annie Basant was the second President of the Theosophical Society and followed Helena Blavatsky who was one of the founders. Percy Lund published a number of books on Theosophy including the ABC of Theosophy in 1891 written by Henry Snowden Ward, Karma and its twin doctrine of reincarnation, and a book 'The Key to Theosophy' in 1893 by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. He also published books by Rev T Rhonnda Williams in 1901, 1904, 1905 and 1907. and a book entitled 'Thought Forms' by Annie Basant and C W Leadbeater in 1901 and The London Lectures by Annie Basant in 1907. The London Lectures covered the subjects of Consciousness, Clairvoyance and Telepathy. Percy became president of the Bradford Theosophical Lodge in 1902 and later in 1917 was president of the Minerva Lodge and remained president until its closure in 1937 when his health began to fail. The Minerva Lodge meetings were held every alternative Thursday at Percy's home in Southfield Square. "The study was based upon Percy's own research work and scholarship and was largely connected with the Christian Scriptures, particularly the Genesis story and the Gospel of St John" 22

To give us a slightly better understanding of what the Theosophical Society were about, their objectives were..

- To form a nucleus of universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without the distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour.

- To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science.

- To explain unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man.

Percy's studies of Christian Mysticism involved looking into the deeper things of life, he looked for spiritual meanings within Greek mythology, folk law and even fairy tales. He also worked with W L Wilmshurst of Huddersfield editing ‘The Seeker’.26  Walter Wilmshurst was a solicitor and mystic and was the founder of the Lodge of Living Stones No 4957 in Leeds.The Seeker was a quarterly magazine of Christian mysticism. It was founded in 1905 by Rev. George William Allen. Archdeacon Basil Wilberforce wrote to Walter Wilmshurst on the death of Allen: ‘As to the journal [The Seeker], you could carry it on. I don’t think anyone else could.' So he took over the editorship in 1913 and undertook initially to continue for ‘at least another year'.It had only been possible for Wilmshurst to take over as the editor because Percy Lund, at his own suggestion, took over responsibility for all business transactions. Hilda Wilmshurst in her biography of Walter described Percy Lund as Walter’s "closest friend." Together they carried on from 1913 to 1919 when, because of the increased cost of materials, labour and postage, they decided it was not possible to continue any longer. 26a  

Some speculate that Percy was related to David Lund (1838-1903) from Keighley who was a well known astrologer, theosophist and fortune teller. No evidence can be found at this time to support this connection but David Lund was quite a character. He was prosecuted for 'pretending to tell fortunes' and fined £3, a year later he was prosecuted again and this time fined £5 with a warning that if he continued his work he would be imprisoned. Not long after he was prosecuted again and this resulted in him being sent to Armley Goal for a month. The Yorkshire Evening Post 22nd Jan 1903 reported that his immense clientèle was not restricted to love lorn damsels but "included shrewd business men anxious for guidance for the most likely times for market operations. "


Henry Snowden Ward and X Rays
It might be useful here to summarise some of the direct and indirect local connections that Percy Lund had. Based upon evidence gathered so far the connection between Percy Lund and Henry Snowden Ward goes back to their involvement in The Practical Naturalist Society in 1883, Ward worked for Percy Lund from 1885. He had been a member of the Frizinghall Union Jack Club where Herbert and Willie Riley were Analyst and Secretary in 1882.  At the conference of the field clubs of the Bradford District held on 19th Nov 1882 interestingly Ward gave a paper on the subject of "Old Stones of Ilkley Moor". Henry Snowden Ward and Percy Lund shared a common interest in geology, theosophy, photography, publishing and giving lectures on all manner of subjects . Herbert and Willie Riley attended Bradford Grammar School along with Henry Snowden Ward during the mid 1870s. When Rontgen discovered X Rays in late 1895 Henry Snowden Ward took an early interest in the subject and wrote an article 'The New Light' in the February 1896 edition of The English Illustrated Magazine. In May he published the first text book on X Rays entitled Practical Radiography. He also toured the country giving lectures on X Rays. Henry was a founder member of the Rontgen Society, a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and editor of The Photogram. Richard James Appleton also took an early interest in X Rays and installed the equipment in his Manningham Lane studio in 1896. 
Henry Snowden Ward is pictured here showing how the X Ray apparatus might be used to take an image of his hand. The operator is Adolph Isenthal, he was a manufacturer of electrical and X Ray apparatus and co-author of the second edition of Henry's book Practical Radiograhy which was published in 1901. The photograph is from that book.

There was a connection between Percy Lund and Richard James Appleton via Percy's Photographic Department which Appleton bought in 1896. Appleton had sold products produced by Percy Lund before this date, namely tissue covers, but there could have been others. In 1899 Percy was president of the Bradford Photographic Society and Richard James Appleton and Alex Keighley were vice presidents. An A.Keighley had also been a member of the Frizinghall Union Jack club in 1883 and this may well have been Alex Keighley. Henry Snowden Ward, Herbert and Willie Riley and A Keighley gave lectures to the Shipley Field Club in 1883. Alexander Keighley was born in Keighley in 1861, he became a well known artist and celebrated photographer and was awarded an Honorary F.R.P.S. in 1924 for distinguished services. He was part of the Pictorial Movement and was invited to become one of the founder members of The Linked Ring. 27 Some of his original glass plate negatives were quite recently uncovered at High Hall, Steeton, where he used to live. His portrait and some of work can be seen at the most impressive Cliffe Castle Museum in the town of Keighley itself. In 1936 Alex Keighley published 1000 signed limited editions of a book with many of his photographs and in 1947 the Royal Photographic Society again recognised the work of Keighley by publishing the book 'Alex Keighley Artist and Photographer' by Hankey and Johnston. More recently in 2013 another book was published entitled 'Alex Keighley: A pioneer of the pictorial movement in photography' by Ray Vintner.    

Perhaps an article in the The British Journal of Photography in January 1896 best illustrates the close working relationship between Lund, Appleton and Keighley. Percy was giving a lecture to the Bradford Photographic Society on 'The Utility of Photography' on very similar lines to 'Lets have a goal' lecture' Alex Keighley was chairing the meeting and Richard James Appleton was operating the lantern.

Richard James Appleton had connections with Cecil Wray who may have made a lens attachment for his Cieroscope in 1896 although advertisements for the Cieroscope do show a W Wray and this may have been the same W Wray who advertised in the Photographers World promoting his photographic lenses from his base in Highgate London and whose lenses are featured in Percy Lund's 1887 Catalogue referred to above. However as to Cecil Wray of Borough Mills he had patented the Kineoptoscope in January 1895 which the Riley's had acquired the rights for in 1896. Appleton is known to have moved into Borough Mills in 1902 - see the article on this website describing the connection between Appleton and Wray. Both Appleton and the Riley Brothers had been producing 'moving pictures' prior to 1900. The Yorkshire Film Archive have a copy of one of Rileys earliest films which is Queen Victoria's visit to Sheffield in 1897. Whilst researching this article quite a long list of Riley's early films was discovered and for those interested it is shown here

Joseph Oulton, Clockmaker had connections with both Cecil Wray and Appleton as he had worked on patent designs with both of them.

As further connections are uncovered they will be added to this article but it can be seen here that Bradford was at this time a hotbed of talent. Percy Lund, Henry Snowden Ward, Willie and Herbert Riley along with Richard James Appleton, Cecil Wray and Alex Keighley between them were destined to make an impact on the world of photography, the magic lantern trade, the practical use of X Rays and even the early days of cinema. They certainly had connections through their business ventures and outside interests but undoubtedly some of them if not all were good friends.

Generations of Photographers

Percy was the first in a number of generations of photographers in the family. His interest in photography, his skills and the need to use photography in his business no doubt led to members of his family getting involved and taking up the profession, in particular Ernest Lund Mitchell (b 1876) who was Jonas's grandson and Percy's second cousin.

Ernest Lund Mitchell along with his father Oliver Mitchell and his mother Eliza Mitchell (nee Lund) moved to Australia in 1884 due to Oliver’s poor health, but they returned in 1891. On their return Ernest was taken on as an apprentice at Percy Lund & Co.  He then went back to Australia in December 1899 '"by which time he owned good cameras and was a skilled photographer'" He became a very well known photographer in Australia had his own studio and was appointed official photographer to the Governor of Western Australia.17 He later became a JP. Some of his photos can be viewed by visiting the National Library of Australia website if a search is made for Ernest Lund Mitchell. A book by Joanne Sassoon on E. L Mitchell's life and work will shortly be published. It is entitled ' How E. L. Mitchell's photographs shaped Australia '

Clarence Owen Becker (b 1869) who was Percy's nephew and Emily's son was an engineer and designer of steam engines, he took up photography along with his children Sylvia and Maurice 'who used photography in their every day' Sylvia's daughter Rosalind Kimball Moulton became a professional photographer and taught at St Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri. 24

Pelican Pie

Pelican Pie a new ration
Pelican Pie - a new ration  (follow link to read online or download) was a light hearted journal published by Percy Lund Humphries & Co for a West Riding Division during World War 1. The first edition was produced in December 1917, the content being written and drawn within earshot of the guns. It sold for sixpence or half a Franc the money raised being used to support the families of the troops. Money was also raised through advertisers such as  the Eagle and British Dominions Insurance Company who offered a War Life Policy with a maximum benefit of £2,000. But, and there is always a but, the benefits varied according to the risk to which the insured life is exposed ! Other advertisers included Lister & Co, Fattorina, The Theatre Royal, The Alhambra, The Bradford District Bank, The Bradford Coop, Sunbeam Motor Car Co. and others.

General W. P. Braithwaite C.B. remarked "such magazines offer much pleasure to the troops and furnish interest to those who in private life follow artistic and literary pursuits helping them to 'keep their hands in' " 25 

Although not specifically mentioned in the magazine the editor was reported in the Hartlepool Mail 14th June 1938, as being Scott Cowell and the circulation 100,000

World War One brought tragedy to many families and this included the Humphries family. Edward Walter Humphries had four children, two daughters and two sons. He suffered a great loss when his youngest son 2nd Lieutenant Thomas Humphries at the age of 20 years made the supreme sacrifice when he was killed on the Somme on the 1st July 1916. "His eldest son Eric also had an heroic war record being in the Bradford Grammar School Company of 6th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment he was mobilised on August 4th 1914 and on the conclusion of hostilities retired from the Army with rank of Captain (Flight Commander), he also received the military cross and M.B.E. " 25a 

The Lucy Lund Charity

Percy's sister Lucy Lund died in 1918. She had remained a spinster and spent a great deal of time looking after her parents.2  She had always longed to be a teacher and when she died she created a charitable trust for the benefit of teachers who had fallen on hard times. This took the form of holiday grants. The Lucy Lund Holiday Grants Charity is still active today.  The book ‘The story of Lucy and Percy Lund’ by John Appleyard published in 1988 looks at the history of the family and John Appleyard and his book and the additional information given by John have been invaluable when researching this article on Percy Lund. The book was produced as a limited edition by, and for the trustees of the charity but a copy is available from the British Library Ref UIN: BLL01007921710 Dewey: 942.810922 ISBN: BNBGB9920235 and there is a copy also held at Ilkley Library.

Death of a Well-known Bradford Man.

Percy had suffered a long period of ill health when in February 1943 he died at his home in Southfield Square, Bradford. An obituary in the Telegraph and Argus was headed ‘Death of a well-known Bradford Man’ it attempted to summarise his life and achievements, and amongst other things describes Percy and his wife Annie as ‘rare souls’ having spent their lives giving help and happiness to others. “They leave none of their own behind them, and yet many are ‘children’ who in the last fifty years have had reason to rise up and call them blessed.” 26

At Percy’s funeral service the Rev Rhys T Richards paid tribute to Percy. “He was a man of great generosity, never advertising his gifts, a man of flawless integrity – steel true and blade straight.” 2

Further information

Percy Lund Products and Services

Publication Timeline

Applications for Copyright

Photographers World Album

The photography of Tom, Dick and Harry an article and lecture by Percy Lund

Lets have a goal an article written for the Practical Photographer by Percy Lund, translated into French and included in the March 1904 edition of the French journal Photo Magazine.


1  The Lund Family - Compiled by Alice Becker (daughter of Charles Lund)  in 1934

2  The Story of Lucy and Percy Lund by John Appleyard 1988

2a  Bradford Telegraph and Argus 18th Nov 1961

2b Minutes from the Third Equitable Building Society West Yorkshire Archives.

3  Bradford Weekly Telegraph supplement 19th May 1911

4  Historical notes on the Bradford Corporation by William Cudworth 1881

4a Volume 1 of the register of students. Yorkshire College at folios 51 and 89

5  Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 25th June 1883

6  Newcastle Courant 18th May 1883

7  Leeds and its history a publication produced by The Yorkshire Post 1926

8  Yorkshire's contribution to science by T Sheppard

9   Dictionary of National Biography Second Supplement vol 3.djvu/601

9a Origin and History of Bradford Grammar School by W Claridge M.A. 1882

10  The Practical Naturalist

11  West Yorkshire Archives Ref BC000DB box 6. letters between William Scruton and Percy Lund

12  Hartlepool Mail 8th may 1890

13  Practical Photographer 1st July 1890

13a The British Journal of Photography Feb 24th 1893

13b Photographic Journal 1895

14  Article by Graham Hall in the  Bradford Antiquary 3rd series no14.

14a Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 11th May 1895

15  West Yorkshire Archives Ref 56D94/11/8

16  West Yorkshire Archives Ref YA 56D94/4/1

17   History of Hunter Penrose

17a Catherine Weed Barnes Ward, Pioneer advocate for Women in Photograhy. By Peter E Palmquist

18  Leicester Chronicle 27th Oct 1900

19  Leeds Mercury 25th Jan 1899

20  Manchester Courier 27th Oct 1901

21  Lund, P. (1902) Solitary Camping On Scafell. Yorkshire Ramblers' Club Journal Volume 1 Number 4: pp299-308. Leeds: YRC

21a Bradford Portraits

22   The history of the theosophical movement in Bradford

23   Biography of Ernest Lund Mitchell by Joanna Sassoon

24  Four generations of photographers by Rosalind Kimball Moulton, a proposal put to the UK's National Museum of Photography in 1984

25  Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 26th Dec 1917.

25a British and Colonial Printer and Stationer No.24 June 1920

26  Telegraph and Argus 14th Feb 1943

26a  Lodge of the Living Stones No 4957

27 The book Alex. Keighley Artist and Photographer 1883 1947 by Dr J. L. Hankey and J Dudley Johnston Hon. F.R.P.S. 


Special Thanks to those that have helped with information on Percy Lund.