Fred C Palmer Boys Brigade 001



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Description Postcard portrait of South London Boys Brigade, probably taken at or near Herne Bay, Kent, England from 1907 to 1922. The group is probably at summer camp. The postcard is unused postally. The photographer was Fred C. Palmer who was working at Tower Studio, Herne Bay, Kent 1907-1922, who is believed to have died 1936-1939. On the back of the unused card is printed: "F.C. Palmer, Tower Studio, Herne Bay". Someone has handwritten in pencil: "46 S London BB".

This print has darkened with age, but it would be inappropriate to adjust the brightness because detail would be lost.

Points of interest:

  • A boy at the front is wearing a caliper; he is probably a polio survivor.
  • A few boys at the front are wearing puttees.
  • The boy with the glass is reflecting popular contemporary music-hall humour
  • Fred C. Palmer has done or said something just enough to make the boys smile, but so as not to make the group fall apart with laughter; a difficult balance to achieve with young, excited kids.
  • The boy in uniform, who is standing almost in front of the man in waistcoat and watch-chain, has "London" written on his shoulder.
  • Two of the adults in charge are discreetly holding cigarettes in their folded hands.


The remaining border of this image is important for researchers of this photographer. Some photographers trimmed their images more than others, and Palmer has a reputation for producing smaller postcards than other early 20th century UK photographers. He took his own photos, developed them in-house onto postcard-backed photographic paper and trimmed them himself. It is worth adding that during hand-developing the border is actively masked with equipment which both crops the picture and causes the white frame or border to appear on the paper. This frame is part of the design and is one of the reasons why the quality of Palmer's work is so interesting, and why there is an article and category for him on English Wiki. Researchers need to see exactly where the edge of the postcard is. The darker part of the white frame on the left is of interest as it gives a clue to the development process and the equipment used. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Date 1907-1922
Source Scan of original postcard in my possession
Author Fred C. Palmer (died 1936-1939)
(Reusing this file)

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EXIF data:
File name fred_c_palmer_boys_brigade_001.jpg
Size, Mbytes 5.143953125
Mime type image/jpeg
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