George Frost, a local photographer

scan061sepiaIn acquiring local articles for the Alresford Museum, many of these unearth snippets of local history. One such is a card from the Photographer “Geo Frost” of the West End Studio, Market Street, Alton and Alresford, Hants. While the address is relating to his Alton premises, obviously he considered himself as the local photographer for Alresford also.

The card is playing card sized, and presents a picture of a little girl (we presume it is a little girl, rather than a boy), holding what appears to be a doll, sitting on a low table, like a coffee table. The initial thought was that we should publish the picture to see if anyone recognised the little girl as one of their relations, but a little more research suggests another possible identity.

In the book “Alton, Hampshire: A History” by the local historian Jane Hurst, All Saints’ Church, in Butts Road Alton, is described as being built in 1873-74, and among other donations, the wrought iron chancel screen was provided by “Mr and Mrs George Frost (in memory of their daughter)” in 1894. Other research shows George Frost was still taking pictures in 1900, when he recorded the celebrations in the town over the relief of Mafeking.

scan062sepiaSo possibly this picture was taken by George and shows his daughter, prior to 1894, and at some time later she died prematurely. It would be relatively straightforward to use his daughter’s picture to promote his business, whereas it might be less easy to use a picture of another young girl in that way. The picture also shows the Masonic symbols fairly prominently on both sides.

Adding some confusion, the very small writing at the bottom on the back of the card, which is a good quality thick card, says “Marion.Imp.Paris” in inverted commas.

Maybe you have some George Frost pictures or postcards from this period? If so we would be delighted to see them, and if possible, copy them for our collection – many such local postcard views can be found on www.alresfordheritage.co.uk, which is accessible via the museum website, http://www.museum.alresford.org

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