13 June 2011

New photography acquisition - capturing local and family history

 

Our latest photography acquisition is a beautiful photograph album dating from 1872.  The leather album is covered in high quality filigree silver panels which are engraved with the names of Julius and Theodora Knoop. 

Other engravings on the cover include their wedding date of 1847 in Cheltenham and their 25th anniversary date of 1872 in Bremen, Germany. Most likely a silver wedding anniversary gift, the album contains 30 large prints relating to the life of the couple showing their homes and workplaces in England.

Reference: AL2366_front cover Front cover of the Knoop album Reproduced by permission English Heritage.NMR

Reference: AL2366_front cover Front cover of the Knoop album Reproduced by permission English Heritage.NMR

Julius and his bride were both born in Germany, but Julius moved to Manchester around 1840 to work and this acquisition casts a fascinating light both on one of the nineteenth centuries most important industries, cotton, and on the ease with which entrepreneurs moved between countries at the time.

 "Corridor in New Warehouse", 14/16 Blackfriars St, Salford Reference: AL2366/005/01 Reproduced by permission English Heritage.NMR

"Corridor in New Warehouse", 14/16 Blackfriars St, Salford Reference: AL2366/005/01 Reproduced by permission English Heritage.NMR

Work Life

Some of the images illustrate the Manchester business premises associated with De Jersey & Co, where Julius worked with his uncles and brother. The prints show the warehouses in Lower Mosley Street and Blackfriars Street, Salford, and the Hamer and Townhead Mills in Rochdale. Amongst these prints is a view of a palatial corridor in the "New Warehouse", emphasising the role that such buildings had in impressing clients as well as acting as stores.

De Jersey & Co specialised in the export of cotton to Russia, and became extremely prosperous. Ludwig, Julius's brother, managed the Russian end while Julius organised the finance, the export of textile machinery from England and the supply of cotton. Their business empire stretched from New Orleans to the depths of Russia.

Regent House, Conservatory and Greenhouses Reference: AL2366/015/01 Reproduced by permission English Heritage.NMR

Regent House, Conservatory and Greenhouses Reference: AL2366/015/01 Reproduced by permission English Heritage.NMR

Home life

The other photographs show houses in the Manchester area where Julius and his family lived, beginning with a bleak lodging house and moving on to ever larger and more luxurious homes. There's particularly good coverage of Regent House in Rusholme, with its conservatory, stables, and comfortable, upper-middle class rooms.

Drawing Room, Regent House Reference: AL2366/024/01 Reproduced by permission English Heritage.NMR

Drawing Room, Regent House Reference: AL2366/024/01 Reproduced by permission English Heritage.NMR

By the time the album was produced Julius and his wife had moved back to Germany, to Wiesbaden, and he was increasingly handing over the reins of the business to the next generation. Julius was raised to the Prussian nobility in 1877 and made a hereditary baron in 1888, before dying in 1893.