Early in 1839 the wonderful invention of photography was officially announced to the world. Soon its commercial potential was becoming realised and a new occupation was emerging – that of the professional studio photographer. The first photographic rooms offering luxury daguerreotype portraits opened during the 1840s. In the following decades, as photographic techniques advanced, prices reduced and demand for portrait photographs extended throughout society, and the number of commercial studios soared. In the 1851 census 51 professional photographers were recorded operating throughout Britain; by 1861 there were almost 3,000 and in 1871 more than 4,700. These figures continued to grow until the 1910s: then professional portrait photography reached its height before beginning a slow decline, reflecting the rise of amateur photography.
Taken from Home Office Records series and The National Archives *TNA), a data set available online at www.thegenealogist.co.uk features more than 89,000 criminal records covering indictable offences in England and Wales between 1782 and 1892. The records also uniquely cover prisoners 'pardoned’ and those classed as 'criminal lunatics’. With records dating back to before civil registration began, they are another useful source of early information for family historians.
The brutality of the Highland Clearances forms some of the most painful historical memories both within Scotland today and much of the modern Scottish diaspora. Known in Gaelic as 'Fuadach nan Gàidheal’ ('The Expulsion of the Gael’), the Clearances were the mass forcible evictions of Highland tenants from their ancient clan lands by those in whom they had previously placed their trust. The reason was the lucrative profitability of sheep farming, achieved through an exercise in ethnic cleansing.
Herefordshire is one of the historic counties of England, dating back to Anglo-Saxon times. More than a millennium later, it remains predominantly an agricultural region, with only one larger settlement, the cathedral city of Hereford. Only the wilds of Northumberland and Cumbria have a lower population density.
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