Planning & Design Practice were thrilled to be able to tour the W.W. Winter Ltd studios in January and see this incredible world unique premises that transports you back to the days when photography was in its infancy and the general public were able for the first time to have a reproduction of themselves previously only available by the hands of artists. Winter’s premises, built in 1867, include the oldest purpose-built photographic studio still in operation for its original purpose, built to a design by the Derby architect Henry Isaac Stevens.
W.W. Winter – a history
W.W. Winter Ltd is said to be the oldest extant photographic business in the UK, tracing its history back to its establishment in 1852. William Walter (or Walter William) Winter who was born at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk in 1842, son of Cornelius Jansen Walter Winter (1819-1891), a portrait and animal painter, and his wife Anna Self Shipston. Winter started off as an assistant to E.N. Charles at 2 Midland Road. When the latter died in March 1863, Winter married Charles’ widow Sarah and took over the business, this took place sometime after 1866.
W.W. Winter advertised himself in Wright’s 1874 Trade Directory as a photographic artist and dealer in works of art, with premises at Midland Road, Derby. In 1881, he had a studio at 22 & 24 Midland Road – and resided at 3 Midland Road – but had moved his premises to number 45 by 1887. By 1891, his wife Sarah had died, and in 1889 Walter married a second time, to Hannah Ness Ruddle.
He was an Alderman (member of council) retired in 1909 and sold the firm in the following year. The business continued to operate under the name W.W. Winter, and from at least 1912 had additional premises at 22 St. Peter’s Churchyard, Derby (Craven, 1993). Winter himself died in 1924.
In 2018 the company launched the W.W. Winter Heritage Trust, with the intention to advance the education of the public in the history of photography, in particular that relating to W. W. Winter Ltd., the city of Derby and the East Midlands. This is achieved through a series of public meetings and lectures; and to manage, care for, make accessible and develop the collection of images in the W. W. Winter archive.
Whilst some of the thousands of images have been archived and added to a database, many thousands more remain still to be rediscovered and part of the W. W. Winter Heritage Trust’s remit is to scan and record these old glass plate and film negatives.
W. W. Winter Ltd for 170 years have been photographing the people of Derby, and recording the changing face of the city. The company is an institution in the local community, holding extensive archives of photographic material and associated artifacts which chart the company’s history alongside the history of Derby. Planning & Design Practice wish to thank the volunteers and staff at W W. Winter for the incredibly insightful tour and highly recommend you visit this one of a kind premises that truly is a window into Derby’s past.
Planning & Design – Built heritage specialists
At Planning & Design Practice we recognise the importance of the built heritage in our towns, villages and rural areas. We have worked on numerous schemes affecting Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
Our Heritage Team is comprised of Director Jon Millhouse who specialises in heritage planning and is a Full Member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation together with our Architectural team leader Lindsay Cruddas, a registered Specialist Conservation Architect and our Heritage Consultants Ruth Gray recently completed a Masters in Public History and Heritage at the University of Derby.
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