Sticky Backs Studios - Sidney Boultwood

Click here to return to Home Page

Sidney Boultwood and his Stickybacks Studios

Sidney Boultwood (1882-1958)

Sidney Boultwood's Family

Sidney Boultwood was born in Ramsgate, Kent, in 1882, the son of Mary Ann Jackson and Alfred Thomas Boultwood, a musician who worked in South London before moving to Ramsgate around 1879.

Alfred Thomas Boultwood, Sidney's father, was born in Greenwich, Kent, on 15th April, 1842, the son of Thomas and Emma Boultwood. When he was In his mid-twenties, Alfred Boultwood moved to South London where he met Mary Ann Jackson (born 1849, London). In 1869, at the age of 27, Alfred Boultwood married Mary Ann Jackson in the South London district of Camberwell. [The marriage of Alfred Thomas Boultwood and Mary Ann Jackson was registered in the district of Camberwell during the 3rd Quarter of 1869]. This union produced at least six children - Ellen (born 1870, Camberwell, Surrey), Jessie (born 1872, Lambeth, Surrey), Kate (born 1876, Lambeth, Surrey), Ada (born 1880, Ramsgate, Kent), Sidney (born 1882, Ramsgate, Kent) and Charles Boultwood (born 1884, Ramsgate, Kent).

[ABOVE] A portrait of Alfred  Boultwood (1842-1926)

Alfred Thomas Boultwood was a talented singer and musician. During the time he resided in South London, Alfred Boultwood was the organist at the local church and sang with the church choir. It was while living in South London that Alfred Boultwood suffered paralysis of the optic nerve and lost his sight. Despite his blindness, Alfred Boultwood was still able to earn his living as a musician. There is a family story that the congregation at Alfred's local church in Camberwell "clubbed together to buy him an organ to enable him to make a living as a musician".

It appears that some time in the late 1870s, Alfred Boultwood and his family moved to the Kent seaside resort of Ramsgate. By 1876, Alfred Boultwood and his wife had three children to support. Not long after their arrival in Ramsgate, Alfred's wife gave birth to a fourth daughter, named Ada. [The birth of Ada Boultwood was registered in the Kent district of Thanet during the 1st Quarter of 1880]. When the 1881 census was taken, Alfred Boultwood, described on the census return as a "Musician", was living with his wife and four daughters at 27 Artillery Road, Ramsgate, Kent. During their stay in Ramsgate there were two more additions to the Boultwood family. Sidney Boultwood was born in Ramsgate during the 3rd Quarter of 1882 and his brother, Charles Boultwood, arrived two years later. [The birth of Charles Boultwood was registered in the Kent district of Thanet during the 3rd Quarter of 1884].

By 1890, Alfred Boultwood, his wife Mary Ann and their six children had moved to the Sussex seaside resort of Brighton. Alfred and Mary Ann Boultwood ran a lodging house in Camelford Street, a street that ran into Marine Parade on Brighton's seafront near the famous Chain Pier. The 1890 edition of Kelly's Directory of Sussex lists Alfred Thomas Boultwood as the proprietor of a lodging house at 33 Camelford Street, Brighton. In 1893, Alfred's wife, Mrs Mary Ann Boultwood died at the age of 43. It appears that after his wife's death, Alfred Boultwood returned to his former profession as musician. When the census was taken on 31st March 1901, Alfred Boultwood, described on the census return as a fifty-nine year old "Musician", was living with his three youngest children in Brighton. Fifteen year old Charles Boultwood was not yet earning his living, but his twenty-one year old sister, Ada Boultwood, was employed as an assistant in a confectioner's shop. Sidney Boultwood, Alfred's eldest son, is entered on the 1901 census return as a "Music Hall Artist", aged 18.

Sidney Boultwood - Photographer in London and Croydon

In his twenties, Sidney Boultwood abandoned his stage career to become a professional photographer. A story passed down through members of the Boultwood family, records that Sidney Boultwood "worked for a photographer named Wallis in The Strand, London". Another story tells how Sidney went to work for a photographer named Wallis in Croydon around 1910. According to the family story, "when Wallis absconded, Sidney entered into an arrangement with Mrs Wallis, taking over the name and the shop". Wallis, the absconding photographer could have been the London-based photographer Henry James Cribb Wallis (1868-1943). The son of a blacksmith, Henry James Cribb Wallis was born on 18th April 1868 in the Hampshire village of Kingsclere. In 1892, Henry James Cribb Wallis married Enid De Saumarez Gillard (born 1870, Cheltenham, Glos.), the eldest daughter of the artist & photographer William Gillard (born 1841, Bodmin, Cornwall). Around 1897, Henry and Enid Wallis moved to London where they took over a  photographic portrait studio at 100 Westbourne Grove, Bayswater, Kensington. It appears that Henry Wallis got into financial difficulties and on 29th July 1898 he was the subject of a County Court judgement regarding his business debts. Between 1898 and 1899, the studio at 100 Westbourne Grove was managed by Henry's wife Mrs Enid Wallis, who had probably trained as a photographer under her father William Gillard. [ In London trade directories published between 1898 and 1900, the proprietor of the Westbourne Grove studio is given as Mrs Enid Wallis ]. When the 1901 census was taken, Henry Wallis was working as a photographer again and living with his wife and children in the Paddington district of London. By the following year, Henry Wallis had established a new photographic portrait studio at 2 Priory Villas, High Street, Lewisham, but the studio had closed by 31st October 1905. The closure of the Lewisham studio in 1905, possibly marks the sudden disappearance of Henry Wallis and the appointment of Sidney Boultwood as a studio manager for Mrs Wallis. Between 1906 and 1909, Mrs Enid Wallis ran a photographic studio at 121 Peckham Road, Camberwell, and this might have been the studio that Sidney Boultwood managed for Mrs Wallis before moving to Croydon. By 1910, Henry Wallis had rejoined his wife and the 1911 census shows the couple living with five of their children in New Cross in South East London. Henry Wallis was now employed as a "Miller's Clerk", but his wife Mrs Enid Wallis was still working professionally as a photographer.

If Sidney Boultwood did take over the running of a photographic studio in Croydon, Surrey, his new career path probably led him to a young photographer's assistant named Emily Louisa Coppen who was living in Croydon at the time. Emily Louisa Coppen was born in Croydon in 1890, the eldest child of Emily Beeney and Frederick Charles Coppen, a schoolmaster. When the census was taken on 2nd April 1911, Emily Louisa Coppen was living with her parents and six of her siblings at 33 St Saviour's Road, West Croydon. On the census return, Emily's father, Frederick Charles Coppen, is recorded as a "Head Teacher" at a "Public Elementary School". On the same census return, Emily Louisa Coppen is described as a twenty year old "Photographer's Assistant" engaged in "developing, printing & mounting". It is possible that Sidney Boultwood had been employing Emily Coppen as an assistant in the Wallis Studio in Croydon. According to a family story, Sidney Boultwood was operating a photographic studio in Croydon under the name of Wallis around 1910.

By the end of 1911, both Sidney Boultwood and Emily Coppen were living in the Essex seaside resort of Southend-on-Sea. During the 4th Quarter of 1911, Sidney Boultwood married Emily Coppen in Southend-on-Sea. [The marriage of Sidney Boultwood and Emily Louise Coppen was registered in the Essex district of Rochford during the final quarter of 1911]. Around the time of his marriage to Emily in 1911, Sidney Boultwood opened a "Stickybacks" photographic portrait studio at 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea.

[ABOVE] A "Sticky Back" portrait of the photographer  Sidney Boultwood (1882-1958) taken around the time he was operating a Stickybacks studio at 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex.
[ABOVE] A photograph of Sidney Boultwood (1882-1958). Sidney Boulwood began his working life as a "Music Hall Artist", but by the time he was in his late twenties,  he had embarked on a new career as a professional photographer.

PHOTOS : Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

[ABOVE] A detail from an "automatic photograph" showing the sign used to identify the Sticky Backs photographic studio where the portrait was taken. Sidney Boultwood was operating a studio in Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, between 1911 and 1912.

[ABOVE] The Stickyback's sign used by Sidney Boultwood at his studio at 155 London Road, Lowestoft (c1913)
 

[ABOVE] The photographer Sidney Boultwood posing with his baby son Sidney at his Stickybacks studio at 26 Crown Street Halifax. Sidney Boultwood's first son Sidney Boultwood junior was born in the Worcestershire town of Kidderminster during the 2nd Quarter of 1915. Sidney Boultwood  travelled around the country with his portable Stickbacks photographic apparatus, setting up a temporary studio in each town he visited. Between 1911 and 1918, Sidney Boultwood  established Stickybacks studios in Southend-on-Sea, Lowestoft, Ipswich, Reading, Kidderminster, Halifax, Bath, Derby, Worcester and Southampton. After Sidney Boultwood became blind around 1918, the photographic portraits were taken by his wife, Mrs Emily Boultwood . (SEE OPPOSITE)

PHOTO : Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

[ABOVE] A detail from an automatic photograph showing the sign used to identify the Stickybacks photographic studio where the portrait was taken. Sidney Boultwood was operating as a "Sticky Backs" photographer at 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, between 1911 and 1912.

[ABOVE] A Stickybacks photograph of Dorothy Boultwood, Sidney and Emily Boultwood's second daughter. Dorothy was born in Lowestoft in 1913, but when this portrait was taken, Sidney Boultwood was operating a Stickybacks studio at 17 Oxford Street, Reading.

PHOTO : Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

[ABOVE] A detail from an automatic photograph showing the sign used to identify the Stickybacks photographic studio at 29 Queen Street where the portrait was taken. This sign appeared above a portrait of Emily Boultwood, Sidney Boultwood's wife, which was taken around 1916. Sidney Boultwood was operating as a "Sticky Backs" photographer  in Worcester in 1916.

PHOTO : Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

Sidney and Emily Boultwood's Children and the Stickybacks Studios

Sidney Boultwood and Emily Coppen were the parents of 8 children. The dates and places where the births were registered helps to identify the various locations of Sidney Boultwood's photographic studios and provides a rough guide to the years he was in business at the various towns he visited.

In the table below, the birth dates of Sidney and Emily Boultwood's children are matched with the Stickybacks studios known to have been operated by Sidney Boultwood between 1911 and 1918. After Sidney Boultwood went blind around 1918, his wife Emily Louisa Boultwood took his place behind the camera. It appears that after 1918, the Boultwoods gave up the "Sticky backs" format of photography and ran standard photographic portrait studios in Southampton and Ipswich.

NAME OF CHILD

BIRTH YEAR

DISTRICT OF REGISTRATION

Eva Boultwood

born c1911

birth registered in the district of  Rochford (Southend-on-Sea) during 4th Qtr of 1912

Stickybacks Studio: 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea (1911-1912)

Dorothy M. Boultwood

born 1912

birth registered in the district of  Mutford (Lowestoft) during 1st Qtr of 1913

Stickybacks Studio: Lowestoft Bridge & London Road, Lowestoft (1912-1913)

Sidney C. Boultwood

born 1915

birth registered in Kidderminster during 2nd Qtr of 1915

Stickybacks Studio: Bull Ring, Kidderminster (1914-1915)

Gladys D. Boultwood

born 1916

birth registered in Worcester during 2nd Qtr of 1916
Kathleen M. Boultwood  born 1916 birth registered in Worcester during 2nd Qtr of 1916

Stickybacks Studio:  29 Queen Street (?), Worcester (1915-1916)

Arthur A. Boultwood

born 1918

birth registered in Southampton during 1st Qtr of 1918
Leslie G. Boultwood

born 1919

birth registered in Southampton during 2nd Qtr of 1919

 Stickybacks Studio: 74 Above Bar & 90 Above Bar, Southampton (1917-1919)

Peter A. Boultwood

born 1923

birth registered in Ipswich during 2nd Qtr of 1923

Boultwood's Photographic Studio: 22 Upper Orwell Street, Ipswich (1922-1924)

 
[ABOVE] A Stickybacks studio portrait of a young Eva Boultwood, Emily's first child, photographed with Mrs Howells, the midwife who delivered the baby in Southend-on-Sea in 1911 (birth registered during the 4th Quarter of 1912). The studio address is given as 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea. The Victoria Avenue studio in Southend-on-Sea was probably Sidney Boultwood's first Sticky Backs studio. Southend-on-Sea was the location of Sidney Boultwood's marriage to Emily Louisa Coppen in 1912.

PHOTO : Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

[ABOVE] A Stickybacks photograph featuring (from left to right), Eva Boultwood (born c1912), Sidney Boultwood junior (born 1915) and Dorothy Boultwood (born 1913). Sidney Boultwood's baby son, Sidney junior, was born in Kidderminster during the 2nd Quarter of 1915. On the evidence of this photograph, Sidney Boultwood senior had opened a Stickybacks studio at 66 St Peter's Street, Derby, a few months later during the Summer of 1915. The Sticky Backs studio in Derby was later managed by Sidney Boultwood's brother-in-law, John F. Bryden (formerly John Francis Breidenbach).

PHOTO : Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

[ABOVE] A portrait of Mrs Emily Louisa Boultwood (formerly Coppen) photographed around 1912. Emily Louisa Coppen was born in Croydon, Surrey, in 1890, the eldest child of Emily Beeney and Frederick Charles Coppen, a schoolmaster. At the time of the 1911 census, twenty year old Emily Coppen was working as a  "Photographer's Assistant" engaged in "developing, printing & mounting". Presumably, Emily was working alongside the photographer  Sidney Boultwood, who, it is reported, was running a photographic portrait studio in Croydon under the name of "Wallis".

Emily Louisa Coppen  married Sidney Boultwood, in Southend-on-Sea in 1912. The couple travelled around the country with Sidney's portable Stickybacks photographic apparatus, setting up temporary studios in the various towns they visited. When Sidney Boultwood, went blind around 1918, Emily took over her husband's role as photographer. Mrs Boultwood operated as a professional photographer until 1924. Seriously ill with tuberculosis she returned to live in her home town of Croydon, where she died in 1928 at the age of 38.

PHOTO : Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

[ABOVE] A postcard portrait of Mrs Emily Boultwood and one of her children  photographed in Southampton in 1917. The child has been identified as Sidney Boultwood (born 1915). An inscription on the postcard reads " Sidney, 1 yr, 11 months" and the card is postmarked 18th April 1917.

PHOTO : Courtesy of Mike Murphy  and Janis Wiberley

[ABOVE] Sidney Boultwood's wife Emily photographed with her mother, Mrs Emily Coppen, at Sidney's Stickybacks studio at Lowestoft Bridge, Lowestoft, around 1913.

PHOTO : Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

The Sticky Backs Photographic Companies

[ABOVE] A legal notice announcing the dissolution of the business partnership between Charles John Stewart Reed and Wallace Edward Allan, who had been operating a photographic studio at 54 Market Street, Manchester under the name of "Sticky-Backs". This notice appeared in The British Journal of Photography on 13th January, 1911.

[ABOVE] A legal notice, dated 30th December 1912,  giving details of the liquidation of the photographic company known as the Sticky Backs Photo Syndicate Limited (The London Gazette, 3rd January 1913)

 

[ABOVE] A portrait of a grey-haired woman photographed at Spiridione Grossi's "Sticky Backs" studio at 54 North Street, Brighton. (c1910).  Spiridione Grossi (1877-1921), a photographer and inventor of mechanical devices from Liverpool, opened a Sticky Backs studio at 54 North Street, Brighton around 1910. There is some evidence to suggest that Spiridione Grossi was the inventor of a mechanical apparatus which produced a series of photographic portraits on a narrow strip of photo paper. Spiridione Grossi appears to have been producing "Sticky Back" photographs on continuous photo-strips as early as 1910, but he did not patent his "Improvements in Strip Printing Photographic Apparatus" [British Patent No. 108691] until May 1916.

 

The Sticky Back Photograph

As a photography magazine explained in 1912, "A Stickyback Photograph is one that has adhesive matter spread on the back, which it is simply necessary to moisten and then stick the picture on the mount. 'Stickyback' is the name by which small gummed-photographs, not much larger than a postage-stamp, are known." [Photo-era Magazine, Vol.28, 1912]. "Sticky Back" portrait photographs measured roughly 2 inches by 1 1/2 inches and were created mechanically on a strip of photo-paper that could hold up to six individual portraits.

A Sticky-Backs photographic company, which specialised in these tiny photo portraits, appears to have originated in Manchester around 1910, possibly growing out of a collaboration between Spiridione Grossi, a photographer and inventor, and an engineer named Charles John Reed. In 1910, Spiridione Grossi was working as a photographer at 84 Market Street, Manchester and Charles John Reed was the co-owner of the Sticky-Backs photographic studio at 54 Market Street, Manchester. By 1911, Spiridione Grossi was operating the Sticky Backs Photo Studio at 54 North Street, Brighton and Charles John Reed was residing in the same street at 58 Prudential Buildings. In January 1911, a man named Charles John Stewart Reed was recorded as the sole owner of the Sticky-Backs photographic firm. Within a few years there were a number of photographic portrait studios carrying the trade name of "Sticky Backs", "Stickybacks" or "Sticky-Back". Some studios operated under the name of "Mr Stickyback".

In January 1911, The British Journal of Photography published an announcement of the dissolution of the business partnership between Charles John Stewart Reed and Wallace Edward Allan, who had been operating a photographic studio at 54 Market Street, Manchester under the name of "Sticky-Backs". In November 1911, The British Journal of Photography reported that a new photographic company, called the Sticky Backs Photographic Company Limited, had been established in London:

NEW COMPANY REGISTERED

STICKY BACKS PHOTO. CO. LTD. - This company was registered with a capital of 1,000 in 1 shares. Objects, to take over the business of photographers carried on by E. S. Perry and D. R. Blair, at 4A, Acre Lane, Brixton. First directors, D. R. Blair, E. S. Perry, and L. F. Pugh. Registered office, 4A Acre Lane, Brixton, S.W. Private company.

In 1911, The Board of Trade had a record of a company known as Sticky Backs Photo Syndicate Ltd (Company Registration No. 118170). According to a notice in The London Gazette, dated 30th December 1912, the Sticky Backs Photo Syndicate Ltd  was dissolved within a year or so. A photographer named Knight (either H. C. Knight or C. H. Knight) operated the Original Sticky Backs photographic studio at 69 Wellington Street, Woolwich from around 1914 until 1920. A photographer working under the trade name of Mr Stickyback was producing photographic portraits on post cards at 36 Yorkshire Street, Rochdale in 1916. "Mr Stickyback" studios were also recorded in Birmingham, Leicester, Dublin and Glasgow.

It is possible that the various "Sticky Back" photographic companies developed independently and that there was no direct connection between "Sticky-Backs", the Sticky Backs Photographic Company Limited, the Sticky Backs Photo Syndicate and other Sticky Back studios. What these photographic firms had in common was their adoption of an early type of "automatic photo" system which produced small, sepia-coloured prints on a strip of photographic paper, resembling the modern photo-booth portraits used on passports, driving licences and identity cards today. The reverse of these photographic strips were coated with a gum, which made the pictures adhesive when moistened. Not surprisingly, these small self-adhesive photographs were commonly known as "Sticky Backs".

In 1910 or 1911, Spiridione Grossi (1877-1921) opened a photographic portrait studio at 54 North Street, Brighton. Grossi produced regular photographic portraits in the popular postcard format, but he also specialised in the production of "Sticky Backs", the tiny photographic portraits produced on a strip of photo-paper. Each "Sticky Back" photo-strip could show the subject in six different poses. (See the illustration below featuring Abaham Dudkin, who acquired Grossi's Sticky Back studio around 1911). Each individual "Sticky Back" portrait measured approximately 2 inches by 1 1/2 inches and were apparently created mechanically, but with the aid of a human photographic operator.

Between 1910 and 1913, a number of photographers, including, Abraham Dudkin, H. L. Lloyd and Sidney Boultwood, were producing "Sticky Back" portraits, but it is not clear whether they were operating under a franchise from a company like the Sticky Backs Photo Syndicate or if they had purchased a licence to use a "Sticky Backs" photographic system from the original inventor or patent holder.

[ABOVE] Mrs Rachel Dudkin (born 1885, Wehrda, Germany) and her son Lewis Stanley Dudkin (born 1909, Brighton) as they appeared in a Sticky Back photo produced around 1912. Mrs Rachel Dudkin was the wife of Abraham Dudkin (1876-1949), the proprietor of the Sticky Backs Studio at 54 North Street, Brighton. [ABOVE] The Brighton photographer Abraham Dudkin (1876-1949), proprietor of the Sticky Backs Studio at 54 North Street, Brighton, pictured with his son Lewis Stanley Dudkin (born 1909, Brighton) in a series of "automatic" photo strips produced around 1913. Abraham Dudkin (born 1876, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.), a dealer in luxury fur goods, acquired Spiridione Grossi's Sticky Backs photographic studio at 54 North Street, Brighton, around 1911.

[PHOTO: Courtesy of Jonathan & Bettina Walker]

[PHOTO: Courtesy of Jonathan & Bettina Walker]

 Early "Sticky Back" Photographic Studios in the British isles

Company Name

Studio Address

Dates Active

NOTES

STICKY-BACKS 54 Market Street, Manchester

1910-1911

Charles John Stewart Reed and Wallace Edward Allan operated a photographic studio at 54 Market Street, Manchester under the name of "Sticky-Backs" in 1910. The partnership between Reed and Allan was dissolved in January 1911 and from that date Charles John Stewart Reed took control of the "Sticky-Backs" firm.
STICKY BACKS 54 North Street, Brighton

1910-1915

Spiridione Grossi, a photographer and inventor of mechanical devices, opened a Sticky Backs studio at 54 North Street, Brighton, around 1910. By 1911, the Sticky Backs studio in Brighton's North Street had been acquired by Abraham Dudkin, a Russian-born furrier.
STICKY BACKS PHOTO. CO. LTD. 4A Acre Lane, Brixton, London S.W.

1911

The Sticky Backs Photographic Company Limited was founded in 1911 by E. S. Perry,  D. R. Blair and L. F. Pugh,  who established a Head Office at 4A, Acre Lane, Brixton, S. W. London.
STICKYBACKS 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea

1911-1912

Sidney Boultwood opened a "Stickyback" photographic studio in Southend-on-Sea around 1911. Boultwood went on to open Stickyback" photographic studios in Lowestoft, Reading, Kidderminster, Derby and Worcester.
MR STICKYBACK 30 Grafton Street, Dublin

1910

"Mr Stickyback" was the trading name of H. L. Lloyd, a professional photographer active in Dublin

[ABOVE] The death notice for Eugene Augustus Mason, a photographer who traded "under the styles or names of 'Stickybacks' and 'Faces', who died on 26th June 1914. (The London Gazette, 24th July, 1914).

Sticky Back Photographic Studios

Between 1910 and 1918, there appears to have been a number of photographic studios operating under the name of "Stickyback", "Sticky-Backs", "Sticky Back" or "Mr Stickyback". A firm of photographers traded under the name of "Sticky-Backs" in Manchester in 1910. A Sticky Backs studio existed in North Street, Brighton between 1910 and 1915. The Sticky Backs Photographic Company Limited was founded in London in 1911 by E. S. Perry,  D. R. Blair and L. F. Pugh. The National Archives website notes that the Sticky Backs Photo Syndicate Ltd. (Company No. 118170) was incorporated in 1911 and was dissolved some time between 1916 and 1932. Around the time of the First World War, a photographic studio at 69 Wellington Street, Woolwich, went under the trading name of the "Original Sticky Backs". In 1915, a Camera Works in Manchester was advertising for sale in The British Journal of Photography, "apparatus for While-You-Wait postcards", cameras, and "Sticky-Back apparatus".

 

Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks Studios

[ABOVE] Sidney Boultwood (far right) posing for a photograph which was probably taken on the beach at Southend-on-Sea (c1911). The jetty in the background and the style of boat is consistent with Southend-on Sea at this time. Sidney Boultwood opened a Stickybacks studio in Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea around 1911.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

[ABOVE] A Stickybacks studio portrait of a young Eva Boultwood, Emily's first child, photographed with Mrs Howells, the midwife who delivered the baby in Southend-on-Sea around 1911. [ The birth of Eva G. Boultwood was registered in the Essex District of Rochford (which covered Southend-on-Sea) during the 4th Quarter of 1912]. This is one of the earliest photographs associated with Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks studios. A company named Sticky Backs Photo Syndicate Limited was  incorporated in 1911.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

[ABOVE] Sidney Boultwood's wife Emily (left) photographed with her younger sister, Alice May Coppen (born 1896, Croydon) around 1912. Sidney Boultwood was operating as a "Sticky Backs" photographer  at 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, between 1911 and 1912. The studio in Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea,  initially went under the name of the 'Mr Stickyback's Studio' and Sidney Boultwood was billed as the "Original Mr Stickyback".

PHOTO: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

[ABOVE] The photographer Sidney Boultwood (right, wearing spectacles) posing with two unidentified men at one of his photographic studios ( probably the Mr Stickyback's Studio in Southend-on-Sea). Sidney Boultwood operated a number of Stickybacks studios, in parallel, across the country. Sidney recruited friends and relatives to manage his chain of Stickyback studios and employed male and female assistants to operate the studios on his behalf. A man resembling the balding man in the centre of this triple portrait makes an appearance in a photograph of Sidney Boultwood's 'Mr Stickyback's Studio' in Southend-on-Sea (See the photograph in the panel below).

PHOTO: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

Sidney Boultwood appears to have opened his first Stickybacks studio around 1911, either in Croydon, Surrey, or Southend-on-Sea, Essex. According to recollections of family members, Sidney Boultwood managed a photographic studio in Croydon between 1910 and 1911. The 1911 census provides evidence that Emily Coppen, Sidney's future wife, was working as a photographer's assistant in Croydon in April 1911. The earliest visual evidence that Sidney Boultwood was operating a Stickybacks studio in Southend-on-Sea around 1911, is a Stickybacks photograph featuring a very young Eva Boultwood. [ The birth of Eva G. Boultwood was not registered in the Essex District of Rochford (which covered Southend-on-Sea) until the 4th Quarter of 1912]. The photograph, which shows Eva as a baby held by a Mrs Howells, the midwife at the birth in Southend-on-Sea, carries the studio sign "STICKYBACKS, 12 Victoria Avenue". (Victoria Avenue is a major road in Southend-on-Sea which runs down to Southend Victoria Railway Station).

According to Mike Murphy (Sidney Boultwood's grandson), Sidney Boultwood travelled from place to place, opening a Stickybacks studio in each town he visited. As Mike Murphy points out, Sidney's "Sticky Back" photographic business was "very much a novelty and he tended to open up for short periods in different places". From the surviving labelled photographs It has been possible to identify over a dozen different "Sticky Back" studios which were set up by Sidney Boultwood between 1911 and 1918. It is known that Sidney Boultwood operated Stickybacks studios in Southend-on-Sea, Lowestoft, Reading, Kidderminster, Derby, Worcester, Halifax, Ipswich, Bath and Southampton. Mike Murphy reports that at one particular time, Sidney Boultwood owned five "Sticky Back" shops across England.  

STICKY BACK STUDIOS OPERATED BY SIDNEY BOULTWOOD

DATES ACTIVE

Stickybacks Studio, 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea

1911-1912

Stickybacks Studio, Lowestoft Bridge, Lowestoft

1912-1913

Stickybacks Studio, 155 London Road, Lowestoft

1912-1913

Stickybacks Studio, 49 St Matthews Street, Ipswich

1913

Stickybacks Studio, 17 Oxford Street, Reading

1913-1914

Stickybacks Studio, Bull Ring, Kidderminster

1914-1915

Stickybacks Studio, 26 Crown Street, Halifax

1914-1915

Stickybacks Studio, 23 Westgate Street, Bath

1914-1915

Stickybacks Studio, 240 High Street, Town ?

1915-1916

Stickybacks Studio, 66 St Peter's Street, Derby

1915-1916

Stickybacks Studio, 29 Queen Street, Worcester

1915-1916

Stickybacks Studio, 59 Broad Street, Town ?

1917?

Stickybacks Studio, Opposite Empire, Town?

1917?

Stickybacks Studio, 74 Above Bar, Southampton

1916-1918

Stickybacks Studio, 90 Above Bar, Southampton

1917-1918

 [ABOVE] Stickybacks Studios in England known to have been operated by Sidney Boultwood

As the owner of a chain of "Sticky Back" photographic studios, Sidney Boultwood had to employ men and women to manage the various branches. Occasionally, Sidney Boultwood employed members of his extended family to run his Stickybacks studios.

In 1899, Kate Boultwood, a sister of Sidney Boultwood, had married John Francis Breidenbach (born c1872, London), the son of John B. Breidenbach (born c1845, Germany) a perfume manufacturer. (Kate's sister Ada Boultwood married John Breidenbach's brother, Francis Gertman Breidenbach in Brighton in 1904). At the time of his marriage to Sidney's sister, John Francis Breidenbach was working as a furniture salesman in Hove, near Brighton.

Around 1913, Sidney Boultwood invited his brother-in-law John Francis Breidenbach to manage one of his "Stickybacks" studios. In July 1916, John Francis Breidenbach (who was then working as a photographer at Sidney Boultwood's Stickyback studio in Derby) changed his surname to Bryden. There is some evidence that, at various times, John Bryden (Breidenbach) and his wife Kate managed Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks studios in Derby, Reading, Bath and Southampton.

[ABOVE] John Francis Breidenbach, Sidney Boultwood's brother-in-law, who was managing Boultwood's Stickybacks studio in Derby in 1916. John Francis Breidenbach changed his surname to Bryden in July 1916. As John Bryden he managed several Stickybacks studios. [ABOVE] Mrs Kate Bryden (Breidenbach) Sidney Boultwood's sister, photographed at Boultwood's Stickybacks studio in  Southampton.  In 1899, Kate Boultwood had married John Francis Breidenbach and from 1913 the couple managed Stickyback studios for Sidney Boultwood.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

[ABOVE] A notice placed in The London Gazette announcing that, from 8th July 1916 , John Francis Breidenbach was to be known as John Francis Bryden. (The London Gazette, 8th September 1916). At the time the notice was published, John Bryden was working as a photographer at Sidney Boultwood's Stickyback studio at 66 St Peter's Street, Derby. The photographer John Bryden (Breidenbach) was married to Sidney Boultwood's sister,  Kate Boultwood (born 1876, Camberwell, London).
 

Sidney Boultwood's 'Mr Stickyback's Studio' in Southend-on-Sea, Essex (c1911)   PHOTO: Courtesy of Chris Boultwood

A 'Mr Stickyback' poster giving the location of the studio as "opposite Technical Schools" in Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea  (see map below)
 [ABOVE] Map showing the location of the studio in Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea.
[ABOVE] A photograph taken around 1911, showing Sidney Boultwood's 'Mr Stickyback's Studio' at 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex. Posters in the windows of the shop and studio  invites customers to get "a SNAPSHOT of yourself" at the studio of the "Original Mr Stickyback" in  "Victoria Avenue, opposite Technical Schools". (See photo top right). [ABOVE] A detail from the photograph of the 'Mr Stickybacks' studio at 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex (c1911). On the right, wearing a light-coloured suit and trilby hat, is the studio proprietor and photographer Sidney Boultwood (1882-1958). Standing next to Sidney is a moustachio'd man wearing a straw boater who appears in other photographs taken at the Stickybacks studios. ( The man with the moustache appears alongside Sidney in a Stickyback photo in the panel above and was possibly a partner in the business).
 

Sidney Boultwood's Friends, Employees and Business Associates - Photographed at Boultwood's Stickybacks Studios

[ABOVE] A young man in a peaked hat, possibly employed as a driver by Sidney Boultwood, holding one of the photographer's children for a photographic portrait taken at the Stickybacks studio at 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex (c1912). [ABOVE] A man in a top hat,  photographed at Boultwood's Stickybacks studio at 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex around 1912. This top-hatted gentlemen, known as "Dabtoe", was employed at Sidney Boultwood's Southend-on-Sea studio. [ABOVE] A shop girl, who was employed as an assistant at Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks studio at 49 St Matthew's Street, Ipswich, photographed holding Sidney's daughter Dorothy Boultwood in 1913. Dorothy Boultwood was born in Lowestoft, Suffolk, during the First Quarter of 1913. Photographs of baby Dorothy were taken during the first couple of years of her life at Boultwood's Stickybacks studios in Lowestoft, Ipswich, Reading and Kidderminster, which indicates the speed at which Sidney Boultwood was setting up Stickybacks studios across the country. [ABOVE] A bowler hatted man with a waxed moustache, photographed at one of Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks studios. This smartly dressed man was a friend of Sidney Boultwood and was possibly employed at the Stickybacks studio situated opposite the Empire Theatre, as suggested by the sign.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

 

Emily Louisa Coppen - the wife of photographer Sidney Boultwood

Emily Louisa Coppen was born in Croydon, Surrey, in 1890, the eldest child of Emily Beeney and Frederick Charles Coppen, a schoolmaster.

Frederick Charles Coppen was born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1865, the son of Annie and William Coppen, a boot and shoe maker. When the 1881 census was taken, Frederick Coppen was recorded as a fifteen year old "Pupil Teacher". In 1889, when he was twenty-three years of age and a newly qualified school teacher, Frederick Charles Coppen married Emily Beeney (born c1865, Maidstone, Kent), the eldest daughter of John and Eliza Beeney, a publican and greengrocer. Frederick Charles Coppen rose to become the Master of the Public Elementary School in Mitcham Road, Croydon, Surrey. When the 1911 census was taken forty-five year old Frederick Charles Coppen gave his profession as "Head Teacher, Public Elementary School".

The union of Frederick Charles Coppen and Emily Beeney produced at least eight children - Emily Louisa (born 1890), Frederick junior (born 1891), Arthur William (born 1893), Claude Harold (born 1895), Alice May (born 1896), Ernest Edward (born 1898), Eva Elsie (born 1900) and Edith Muriel Coppen (born 1902).

As a young woman, Emily Coppen spent some time living with a family in Brittany, France. Emily returned to England around 1910 and took a job as a photographer's assistant in her home town of Croydon. A story passed down through the family suggests that Emily Coppen eventually went to work alongside Sidney Boultwood, a twenty-eight year old photographer from South London. The 1911 census return records twenty year old Emily Coppen employed as a "Photographer's Assistant", being principally engaged in "developing, printing & mounting".

Emily Louisa Coppen married Sidney Boultwood, in the Essex seaside resort of Southend-on-Sea in 1912. Sidney Boultwood had recently set up a "Stickybacks" photographic studio at 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea. After a couple of years in Southend-on-Sea, Emmie and her husband travelled around the country with Sidney's portable Stickybacks photographic apparatus, setting up temporary studios in the various towns they visited.

Emily was the mother of eight children - Eva Boultwood (born c1911, Southend-on-Sea), Dorothy M. Boultwood (born 1912,Lowestoft), Sidney C. Boultwood (born 1915, Kidderminster), Gladys D. Boultwood (born 1916, Worcester), Kathleen M. Boultwood (born 1916, Worcester), Arthur A. Boultwood (born 1918, Southampton), Leslie G. Boultwood (born 1919, Southampton) and Peter A. Boultwood (born 1923, Ipswich).

When Sidney Boultwood went blind around 1918, Emily took over her husband's role as photographer. Mike Murphy, Emily Boultwood's grandson, has passed on this story from Emmie's daughter Dorothy:

"Dorothy recalled one incident when her mother was out shopping when some customers called. Sydney asked the customers to pose themselves how they wanted the photograph taken, while he stuck his head under the cover over the camera. After a while he told them that was fine and they could call back for the photograph in three days. When they called back Emily was there and had been prepared. She told them they must have moved while the photograph was being taken and she would have to take it again."

Emily Boultwood operated as a professional photographer in Ipswich until 1924. By this date, Emmie was seriously ill with tuberculosis. Sidney and Emmie Boultwood closed their photography business in Ipswich and moved to live with relatives in St Saviour's Road, Croydon. Racked with TB, Mrs Emmie Boultwood died in Croydon in 1928 at the age of 38.

[ABOVE] Emmie Boultwood's younger sister Eva Elsie Coppen (born 1900, Croydon), photographed with three of Emmie's children in 1917. By the end of the following year, Sidney Boultwood had lost his sight and twenty-nine year old Emmie Boultwood had taken over husband's photographic duties at their studio at 74 Above Bar, Southampton.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

[ABOVE] Emmie Boultwood's parents, Frederick and Emily Coppen, photographed onboard their motorbike and sidecar. Members of the Boultwood family recollect that Emimie's father and mother travelled around England on their motorbike looking out for suitable sites for Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks studios. As they passed through populous English towns, Frederick Coppen and his wife took note of any empty shops which could be converted into "sticky back" portrait studios.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

 

[LEFT] A portrait of a young Emily Coppen, photographed at T .Harrison's Photo Studio around 1895. Emily, who was generally referred to as "Emmie", was the eldest of eight children born to Emily Beeney and her husband Frederick Charles Coppen, a Croydon school teacher.

[ABOVE] A portrait of a teenaged Emily Coppen, photographed by the American-born photographer Charles Harrison Price at his Croydon studio. Charles Harrison Price was born around 1870 in New York, USA. By 1901, Charles Price had established himself as a photographer in Croydon, Surrey. This portrait of Emily Coppen was taken by Charles Harrison Price at his photographic  portrait studio at 66A North End Road, Croydon.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Chris Boultwood

[ABOVE] A portrait of Emily Louisa Coppen, photographed around the time she met her future husband, Sidney Boultwood (c1910). Emily was generally addressed as "Emmie" by family and friends,

[ABOVE] Sidney Boultwood's wife Emmie photographed with her mother, Mrs Emily Coppen , at Sidney's Stickybacks studio in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

 

Emily 'Emmie' Boultwood - Sidney Boultwood's Chief Assistant and Favourite Model

[ABOVE] Mrs Emily Boultwood (formerly Emily Coppen) photographed at her husband's Sticky Backs studio at 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, around 1912. Emily Louise Coppen married Sidney Boultwood in Southend-on-Sea in 1912. [ABOVE] A Sticky Backs studio portrait of Sidney Boultwood's wife Emily in a torn, embossed grey card mount. The tiny "Sticky Back" portraits were produced on strips of photographic paper which could hold up to 6 individually posed shots. Individual portraits could be cut from the strip and encased in decorative card mounts or placed in specially produced miniature photo albums. [ABOVE] Mrs Emily Boultwood (formerly Emily Coppen) photographed at her husband's Sticky Backs studio at 29 Queen Street, Worcester around 1916.  Emmie Boultwood was then aged around twenty-five and the mother of five children. By 1923, Emmie and Sidney had eight children.

[ABOVE] Mrs Emily Boultwood  holding her first-born child Eva "Bobs" Boultwood (born c1912, Southend-on-Sea) taken at Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks studio at 155 London Road, Lowestoft around 1913.

Sidney Boultwood took dozens of portraits of his wife Emily. Emily Boultwood, known affectionately to her family and friends as "Emmie", was photographed at each of Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks studios. When Sidney Boultwood lost his sight in 1918, Emmie took over her husband's photographic duties at the Stickybacks studio in Southampton. The Boultwoods eventually settled in Ipswich. Although blind, Sidney Boultwood continued to manage the business, but depended on Emmie to operate the camera and supervise the posing of the customers. By 1924, Emmie was seriously ill with tuberculosis and so the Boultwoods were forced to close the Ipswich studio.

[ABOVE] Mrs Emily Boultwood  photographed at her husband's Sticky Backs studio at 155 London Road, Lowestoft (c1913). Between 1911 and 1918, Sidney and Emily Boultwood established at least 15 "Stickybacks"studios across England. [ABOVE] Mrs Emily Boultwood (formerly Emily Coppen) photographed at one of her husband's Stickybacks studios around 1916. The photograph is labelled "59 Broad Street", but no town name is given.
 

John Francis Breidenbach (Bryden) and Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks Studios

[ABOVE] John Francis Breidenbach (top centre) pictured with members of the Boultwood Family in a photograph taken around 1908 by Sidney Boultwood. Standing on John Breidenbach's left is Charles Boultwood (born 1884), Sidney Boultwood's brother. Sitting in front of Charlie Boultwood is his elder sister, Mrs Kate Breidenbach (born 1876), who had married John Breidenbach in 1899. The young lady wearing eye-glasses, standing on John Breidenbach's right, is another of Sidney Boultwood's sisters, Ada Boultwood (born 1880), who had married John Breidenbach's brother, Francis Gertman Breidenbach in 1904. Ada's daughter, Hilda Breidenbach (born 1907, Woolwich), sits on the lap of her uncle Charles Webb, who had married Ellen "Nell" Boultwood (born 1870), Sidney Boultwood's eldest sister.

John Francis Breidenbach changed his name, by Deed Poll to John Francis Bryden in July 1916. (see extract above). By this date John Francis Bryden (Breidenbach) was working as a photographer at Sidney Boultwood's Sticky Backs studio at 66 St Peter's Street, Derby.

[ABOVE] Mrs Kate Bryden (Breidenbach), Sidney Boultwood's sister, photographed at Boultwood's Sticky Backs studio at 90 Above Bar, Southampton. (c1917). Kate Boultwood (born 1876, Camberwell, London) had married  John Francis Breidenbach (a furniture salesman based in Hove) in 1899. Around 1913, Sidney Boultwood invited his sister Kate and her husband John Breidenbach to manage one of his Sticky Backs studios. In 1916, John Breidenbach was in charge of Boultwood's Sticky Backs studio at 66 St Peter's Street, Derby. In July 1916, John Breidenbach changed his surname to Bryden. It is possible that John Bryden (Breidenbach) acted as a studio manager in Reading, Bath and Southampton. This portrait of Mrs Kate Bryden ,was taken at Boultwood's Sticky Backs studio at 90 Above Bar, Southampton around 1918. Kate Bryden took an active role in her brother's photography business. Sidney Boultwood's daughter, Dorothy, remembers her Aunt Kate being in charge of one of her father's studios when John Francis Bryden was away.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Mike Murphy

[ABOVE] William Alfred Breidenbach (born 1905) and John  Breidenbach junior (born 1900),  John and Kate Breidenbach's sons, posing with Sidney Boultwood's daughter, Dorothy, at the Sticky Backs studio at 17 Oxford Street, Reading in 1913.       PHOTO: Courtesy of Mike Murphy
[ABOVE] John and Kate Breidenbach's two sons -William "Willie" Breidenbach (born 1905), on the left, and John Francis Breidenbach junior (born 1900), on the right, posing with their young cousin, Francis Breidenbach, at Sidney Boultwood's Sticky Backs studio at 23 Westgate, Bath around 1914. The boy in the centre is Francis Breidenbach (born 1910), the eldest son of Frank and Ada Breidenbach (formerly Boultwood).

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

 

Portraits from Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks Studios (1911-1914)

[ABOVE] A portrait of Sidney Boultwood wearing his wife's hat for comical effect. This photograph was taken at Sidney Boultwood's 'Mr Stickybacks Studio' at 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea (c1911). [ABOVE] A photograph taken at Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks studio at 155 London Road, Lowestoft around 1912. The boy wearing the school cap is one of John and Kate Breidenbach's sons - probably John Francis Breidenbach, who would have been around 12 years of age when this photograph was taken. John Breidenbach's father, John F. Breidenbach senior later managed one of Sidney Boultwood''s studios. The young woman appears to be Mrs Emily Boultwood,  Sidney's 22 year old wife. [ABOVE] A portrait of Sidney's wife, Mrs Emily Boultwood, taken at Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks studio at 49 St Matthews Street, Ipswich in 1913. When this photo was taken, twenty-three year old Emily was the mother of two daughters - Eva and Dorothy. [ABOVE] A portrait of Sidney's wife, Mrs Emily Boultwood, taken at Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks studio at 26 Crown Street, Halifax around the year 1914. Emily was expecting her third child, a boy named Sidney.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Chris Boultwood

 PHOTO: Courtesy of Chris Boultwood

PHOTO: Courtesy of Chris Boultwood

PHOTO: Courtesy of Chris Boultwood

 

The Sticky Backs Photographic Process and Apparatus

Grossi's Sticky Back Photos

[ABOVE] A portrait of a girl, photographed at Grossi's "Sticky Backs" studio at 54 North Street, Brighton (c1910). Each "sticky back" photograph carried the studio address of 54 North Street and an  identifying  number. This portrait carries Photo Number 391. Six photographic portraits were produced, one after the other, on a single strip of photo-paper.

PHOTO: Collection of David Simkin

[ABOVE] Another portrait from Grossi's "Sticky Backs" studio at 54 North Street, Brighton (c1910). The photograph carries the studio address of 54 North Street and the number 138 identifying the particular photo session. Six photographic portraits were produced side-by-side on a single strip of photo-paper.

PHOTO: Collection of David Simkin

Boultwood's Sticky Backs

[ABOVE] A detail from a portrait taken at Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks studio in Ipswich in 1913.

[ABOVE] A photograph taken at Sidney Boultwood's Stickybacks studio at 17 Oxford Street, Reading. (c1913).

Sticky Backs Photo Strip

[ABOVE] A composite photograph showing how the individual  shots of Sidney Boultwood and his baby son would have appeared on a Sticky Back photo strip. The standard Sticky Back apparatus produced 6 different shots on a single strip of photographic paper.

Automatic Photo Portraits at the Sticky Backs Studio

[ABOVE] The photographer Sidney Boultwood posing with his baby son Sidney at his Sticky Backs studio at 26 Crown Street Halifax in 1915. This photograph would have been one of six portraits captured on a strip of photographic paper. (See the composite  illustration below left).                          

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

 

Spiridione Grossi and the Sticky Backs Process

There is evidence that in the years leading up to 1910, a photographer and inventor named Spiridione Grossi (1877-1921) devised a mechanical means of producing small photographic portraits on a strip of photographic paper. The reverse of these tiny photographs were coated with a gum, which made the pictures adhesive when moistened. These small self-adhesive photographs became known as "Sticky Backs". As a photo magazine explained in 1912, "A Stickyback Photograph is one that has adhesive matter spread on the back, which it is simply necessary to moisten and then stick the picture on the mount. 'Stickyback' is the name by which small gummed-photographs, not much larger than a postage-stamp, are known." [Photo-era Magazine, Vol.28, 1912].

Spiridione Grossi opened a Sticky Backs photographic studio at 54 North Street, Brighton in 1910. The "Sticky Back" photographs produced at Spiridione Grossi's studio in Brighton measured roughly 2 inches by 1 1/2 inches. What made Grossi's tiny "sticky back" portraits distinctive were that they were created mechanically on a strip of photo-paper that could hold up to six individual portraits. In general appearance, the small photographic portraits made at Grossi's Sticky Backs studio resemble the photographs produced by modern-day automatic photo-booths, but although the strip photographs were created with the aid of a mechanical device invented by Grossi, the camera at the North Street studio was operated by a human photographer and not an automatic machine triggered by a coin in a slot.

Spiridione Grossi's Photo Strip Apparatus

Spiridione Grossi is believed to have devised an apparatus which took six small photographic portraits on a narrow strip of photo-paper. The backs of the small photographs were coated with a type of water-activated gum, similar to that used on postage stamps. These small adhesive photos, measuring approximately 2 inches by 1 1/2 inches. were commonly known as "sticky-backs". The studio name "Sticky Backs" often appeared as a printed title on the photographic prints produced at Grossi's establishment at 54 North Street, Brighton.

We do not have a detailed description of the photographic equipment used at Spiridione Grossi's Brighton studio between 1910 and 1911, but we can gain an idea of the type of apparatus used to produce these narrow strip prints from an invention Spiridione Grossi lodged with the Patent Office on 15th May 1916. British Patent No. 108691, entitled "Improvements in Strip Printing Photographic Apparatus", describes a "travelling box", a mechanical contraption comprising of hinged flaps, a spring-roller, a winding cord, a manually operated pawl, a sprocket wheel, metal-bound spring boards, an "endless chain", a rotating drum and a set of retaining angle-pieces. According to the detailed descriptions and specifications of the "Strip Printing Photographic Apparatus" that Spiridione Grossi lodged with the Patent Office, his invention was designed to "produce, from cameras containing several negatives ... a large number of (photographic) repeats upon sensitive sheets of paper stacked in piles and arranged for intermittent feeding".

The invention Spiridione Grossi lodged with the Patent Office on 15th May 1916 was designed specifically for "enlarging photographs", yet the contraption described as a "travelling box" or "sliding box" which produced "a number of photographs" on a single strip of photo-paper was probably similar to the photographic apparatus employed at Grossi's studio in Brighton's North Street, some five years earlier. In the provisional specification for his "Improvements in Strip Printing Photographic Apparatus"  (British Patent No. 108691), Grossi wrote :"My camera takes six negatives side by side" and "a special fixed negative giving the name and address of the photographer is fixed in the camera" . Below the multi-negative camera was a "travelling" or "sliding" box, "carrying a series of piles of sensitive paper, in long lengths extending the entire length of the box"... These sheets are preferably of a length of four or five or six photographs and a breadth of one." Grossi goes on to describe the mechanism by which the photo-strips are passed through the "travelling box" : "This box in my experimental device is slid from left to right, being propelled by a blind roller device and stopped at the right point for taking a set of photographs by a spring friction pawl acting on a rack with notches at regular intervals ... When the photographs are sufficiently exposed, the operator pulls the cord, the spring pawls slip out of their notches and enter the next ones, and thus a second length of the sensitive papers is exposed to the camera, and this goes on until the entire length of the sensitive paper in the box has been exposed." The "travelling box" contained six piles of photo-sensitive paper, each pile taking "about 150 papers to start with".

Grossi's apparatus incorporated a mechanical system "whereby a large number of (photographic) repeats can be produced at once, and time in manipulation is greatly saved". The end result was a series of photographic portraits on a single strip of photographic paper, identified by a photo number and the name and address of the photographer's studio. In appearance, the strip of photographic portraits produced at Grossi's Sticky Backs studio, strongly resembled modern photo booth photographs. However, the camera and "travelling box" were not operated automatically by some electrical machine triggered by the insertion of a coin. Grossi, in his descriptions of his "Strip Printing Photographic Apparatus" makes it clear that the equipment required the intervention of a human operator. Although some of the movements of the machine were automatic, at various stages of the process, the apparatus had to be "manually operated". For instance, the operator had to lift the pawl to "allow the box to travel one photograph length at each change of the position". The photographs themselves had to be exposed by the camera operator. The sliding shutter, which ran in a set of grooves, was "pulled out or pushed in by hand so as to expose or cover the sensitive paper". The sliding shutter was "pulled out by the left hand, while the right hand holds the blind-roller device". The human operator also had to pull a cord to enable the next length of sensitive paper to be exposed to the camera.

Spiridione Grossi left Brighton in 1911 and passed on his "Sticky Backs" studio to a local Russian-born businessman named Abraham Dudkin (born 1876, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia). Abraham Dudkin, who had already established a successful fur business in Brighton, acquired Grossi's apparatus which produced "automatic photographic portraits" on strips of photo-sensitive paper. Between 1911 and 1915, Abraham Dudkin is known to have produced "Sticky Back" photographic portraits in Brighton and at a branch studio in Portsmouth.

1911, the year that Abraham Dudkin took over Spiridione Grossi's "Sticky Backs" studio in Brighton, was also the year that Sidney Boultwood opened a "Sticky Backs" photographic portrait studio at 12 Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea. It appears that a company such as The Sticky Backs Photographic Company Limited or the Sticky Backs Photo Syndicate Ltd. had acquired the rights to Spiridione Grossi's "Sticky Back" apparatus or some similar invention and then allowed individual photographers to operate "Sticky Back" studios in certain towns under some sort of franchise or licensing arrangement.

Sticky Backs Photos from Grossi's Brighton Studio

[ABOVE] A portrait of an unknown woman photographed at the Sticky Backs studio at 54 North Street, Brighton (c1910). The photographer and mechanical inventor Spiridione Grossi operated the Sticky Backs studio in North Street, Brighton for a brief period between 1910 and 1911 before passing the studio and " Sticky Backs" apparatus on to the Briighton businessman Abraham Dudkin.

PHOTO: Collection of David Simkin

[ABOVE] A portrait of a mother and her child, photographed at the "Sticky Backs" studio at 54 North Street, Brighton (c1910). The proprietor of the studio Spiridione Grossi, a photographer and mechanical inventor from Liverpool, had devised a method of taking up to six photographs automatically on a single strip of photo-sensitive paper. The photographs carried the name of the studio, the studio address and the number of the "photo strip".

PHOTO: Collection of David Simkin

Boultwood's Stickybacks Photographs

[ABOVE] Two Sticky Backs photographs taken at the same session at Boultwood's Sticky Backs studio at 66 St Peter's Street, Derby in 1915. These two Sticky Backs photographs feature (from left to right), Eva Boultwood (born c1912), Sidney Boultwood junior (born 1915) and Dorothy Boultwood (born 1913).  The Sticky Back system of taking a series of automatic photographs on a single strip was ideal for capturing the movements of  fidgety and restless children. The Sticky Backs system allowed for six different poses on a single strip of photographic paper.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

[ABOVE] The photographer Sidney Boultwood and his daughter Dorothy Boultwood (born 1913), posing at Boultwood's Sticky Backs studio at the Bull Ring, Kidderminster  in 1914. This would have been one of six automatic shots on a strip of photographic paper, each shot featuring a slightly different pose. The favourite portrait could be retained and the other photographs on the strip sent to family and friends.

[ABOVE] A Sticky Backs photograph of Dorothy Boultwood (born 1913, Lowestoft) and Eva "Bobs" Boultwood (born c1912, Southend-on-Sea) taken at one of Boultwood's Sticky Backs studios around  1915. The photograph is labelled "STICKYBACKS, 240 High Street", but no town name is given.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

 

Family Photographs

[ABOVE] Sidney Boultwood's daughter Dorothy posing at the wheel of the photographer's motor car around 1915. Dorothy Boultwood later recalled that she used to accompany her father in his motor car when it was driven around to the various Stickybacks studios set up by Sidney Boultwood between 1911 and 1918.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

[LEFT] Sidney Boultwood's wife and sister - Mrs Emily Boultwood (formerly Coppen), on the left, and Mrs Kate Bryden (formerly Kate Boultwood), on the right (c1917). Both women helped Sidney Boultwood run his photographic studios. Mrs Kate Bryden and her husband John Francis Bryden (previously known as John Francis Breidenbach) managed branches of  Boultwood's Stickyback shops between 1913 and 1918. Kate's husband. John Francis Breidenbach, the son of a German-born perfume manufacturer, changed his surname to Bryden by Deed Poll in 1916 at the height of the First World War. Emmie Boultwood operated the camera at the Boultwood studio after her husband Sidney lost his sight in 1918.
 

[ABOVE] A family group photograph taken by Sidney Boultwood in 1908. Members of the Boultwood /Breidenbach family gathered for this photograph in the garden of Mr & Mrs Webb's family home in Dulwich.

(Back Row) Frank Breidenbach, Mrs Ada Breidenbach (formerly Ada Boultwood) - sister of Sidney and wife of Frank, John Francis Breidenbach, Charles Boultwood (brother of Sidney).
(Middle Row) Mrs Ellen Webb (formerly Ellen Boultwood) - wife of Charles Webb and sister of Sidney, Charles Webb (Ellen's husband), Hilda Breidenbach (Ada's daughter) sitting on Charles Webb's lap, Mrs Kate Breidenbach (formerly Kate Boultwood) - wife of John and sister of Sidney.
(Front Row) John Breidenbach junior (son of John & Kate Breidenbach), Francis Breidenbach junior (son of Frank & Ada Breidenbach), Mabel Webb (daughter of Charles and Ellen Webb).

PHOTO: Courtesy of Mike Murphy of Western Australia

 

Novelty Picture Postcards by Sidney Boultwood

[ABOVE] Eva Boultwood, Emily's first child, featured in an "Easter Greetings" novelty picture postcard produced by Sidney Boultwood at his Southend studio in 1911.

[ABOVE] Emily Boultwood, Sidney's wife, featured in an "Easter Greetings" novelty picture postcard produced at his Southend-on-Sea studio in 1911.

 

Picture Postcards by Sidney Boultwood

[ABOVE] A studio portrait of Sidney's wife Emily Boultwood (1890-1928). When Sidney Boultwood went blind around 1918, Emily took over her husband's role as photographer at their Southampton studio. [ABOVE] A picture postcard portrait of Sidney Boultwood junior (born 1915), Emily and Sidney Boultwood's eldest son. The postcard is inscribed "Sidney, August 1917. Aged 2 years & 3 months". [ABOVE] A group photograph of three of Emily Boultwood's children - Eva, Sidney and Dorothy - taken at Sidney Boultwood's studio at 74 Above Bar, Southampton around 1916.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Chris Boultwood

PHOTO: Courtesy of Janice Wiberley

PHOTO: Courtesy of Janice Wiberley

 

Sidney Boultwood's Blindness and the End of his Photographic Career

In 1918, Sidney Boultwood lost his sight. Other members of the Boultwood family were visually impaired. Sidney's father, Alfred Boultwood, became blind as a result of paralysis of the optic nerve. Charles Boultwood, Sidney's brother, had lost his sight when he was still a young man. When the 1911 census was taken, both Alfred and his son Charlie were registered blind and were working as street musicians in Brighton. In photographs, both Sidney Boultwood and his older sister Ada are shown wearing eye-glasses. Sidney Boultwood eventually lost his sight completely when his retinas became detached.

Although blind, Sidney's father was able to continue earning a living as a musician. Given the nature of his business, Sidney was no longer able to play an active role in the production of portraits at his photographic studio in Southampton, where he was based until at least 1919. Although no longer behind the camera, Sidney Boultwood was still in charge of the photography business and was looking to build up his trade. Frederick and Emily Coppen, Emmie's parents, spent their holidays touring England on a motorbike and sidecar and the Boultwoods saw this as an opportunity to find a suitable location for a permanent photographic studio. A surviving letter written by Emmie Boultwood to her mother and father in 1919, asks them to look out for empty shops during their travels. By the early 1920s, the Boultwoods had settled in Ipswich where, with the invaluable assistance of his wife Emmie, Sidney Boultwood operated a photographic portrait studio. [ Peter Boultwood, Sidney's youngest son, was born at 22 Upper Orwell Street, Ipswich, in 1923 ].

An anecdote, passed down through the Boultwood family, demonstrates how Sidney Boultwood found it difficult to accept his blindness and how, possibly out of pride, he tried to give the impression that he was still functioning as a professional photographer. Sidney's daughter Dorothy Boultwood (born 1912) remembered a particular episode when her father went through the motions of taking a group photograph rather than admitting to the customers that he was blind. Mike Murphy, Sidney Boultwood's grandson, has passed on this description of this event, which presumably took place at Sidney and Emmie's photographic studio in Ipswich:

"Dorothy recalled one incident when her mother was out shopping when some customers called. Sydney asked the customers to pose themselves how they wanted the photograph taken, while he stuck his head under the cover over the camera. After a while, he told them 'that was fine' and informed them that they could call back for the photograph in three days. When they called back, Emily was there and had been prepared. She told them they must have moved while the photograph was being taken and she would have to take it again."

Between 1918 and 1924, Sidney Boultwood's wife Emmie operated the camera at the Boultwood photographic studios, first in Southampton and later in Ipswich. By 1919, Stickybacks photographs were out of fashion and it is likely that the Boultwood studio at 22 Upper Orwell Street, Ipswich, mainly produced picture postcard portraits and standard studio portraits, either mounted on cards or presented in conventional picture frames.

By 1924, Emmie Boultwood had become seriously ill with tuberculosis. It was decided that it would be best for Emmie and her family if she returned to her home town of Croydon, where she could be looked after by her parents and siblings. Sidney Boultwood sold his photography business in Ipswich and moved to a house in St Saviour's Road, West Croydon. [ In 1911, Emily Boultwood's parents and siblings were living at 33 St Saviour's Road, West Croydon ]. According to Mike Murphy, Emily Boultwood's grandson, Sidney Boultwood used the money from the sale of his photography business to buy Emmie's parents' house at 33 St Saviour's Road, Croydon and a second house which he rented out.

Weakened by tuberculosis, Emmie Boultwood died from the disease in 1928 at the relatively young age of 38. [The death of Emily Louisa Boultwood was registered in Croydon during the 3rd Quarter of 1928]. Handicapped by his blindness, Sidney Boultwood was now a middle-aged widower with eight children to support. At the time of their mother's death, Eva Boultwood, the eldest daughter, was a teenager of 17, and Dorothy Boulwood, the next eldest, was not yet 16. Peter Boultwood, the youngest of eight children, was only 5 years of age. After Emmie's death in 1928, two of her married sisters, together with their families, moved into Sidney's house in St Saviour's Road to help him care for his younger children. Although blind, Sidney Boultwood was able to support his family from the rents of two houses he owned in the area. Around 1932, more funds became available to Sidney Boultwood when an endowment policy he had taken out when he had first set himself up as a professional photographer finally paid out.

When his younger children were old enough either to marry or support themselves by their own labour, Sidney Boultwood went to live with his married daughter Dorothy and her family at 37 Kimberley Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon. [ Dorothy M. Boultwood had married Herbert W. Turrell in 1935. After her first husband died in 1948, Dorothy married Thomas Murphy in Croydon]. After Mrs Dorothy Murphy (Boultwood) emigrated to Australia with her husband and children in 1951, Sidney Boultwood remained at the house in Kimberley Road with his son Arthur Boultwood (born 1918, Southampton).

Mike Murphy, who shared his family home in Thornton Heath with his grandfather Sidney Boultwood, has memories of his blind grandfather:

"He read large brown paper books in Braille and used a white walking stick when he went out. He shared a bedroom with my brother Terry and spent most of his time, as I recall it, sitting in a chair in the living room at the back of the house, downstairs. When we went out, he would walk along the street touching the fence or hedge along the side of the footpath with his white stick. (Sidney often went out for walks on his own, preferring a circuitous route which did not necessitate crossing any roads). I can remember when I was a child (circa 1950) going with him to collect rents from two of his houses, so he was able to earn some kind of living."

Sidney Boultwood's daughter Dorothy remembered her father as "a very ambitious man, who hated being blind".  Mike Murphy, Sidney's grandson, has written: "The more I think about it - especially after reading Sidney Boultwood's letters to his sister - I think he was a shrewd man with a fair idea of what was going on around him. I can imagine these were traits that had stood him in good stead when he first started his (photography) business."

Sidney Boultwood died in Croydon in 1958 at the age of 76. [The death of "Sydney C. W. Boultwood " was registered in the Surrey district of Croydon during the 2nd Quarter of 1958]. Sidney's younger brother Charles Boultwood, a blind musician, died in Brighton the following year at the age of 75. Alfred Thomas Boultwood, Sidney's father, who was also described as a "blind street musician", had died in Brighton some thirty-two years earlier in 1926, in his 84th year. Sidney's sister Mrs Ada Bryden (Boultwood), who in 1904 had married Frank Breidenbach (aka Bryden), passed away in the West Sussex seaside resort of Worthing in 1977 at the advanced age of 97.

[ABOVE] Sidney Boultwood  photographed around 1911, when he was twenty-nine years of age.

[ABOVE] Sidney Boultwood  photographed around 1914, when he was in his early thirties.

[ABOVE] Sidney Boultwood  photographed in 1954, when he was 72 years old. Sidney Boultwood died in Croydon in 1958,  four years after this photograph was taken.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Mike Murphy

 

To view more photographs of Sidney Boultwood's Family, click on the link below:

More Photographs of Sidney Boultwood's Family

 

Acknowledgements & Sources

I am indebted to Mike Murphy of Western Australia for providing biographical details for Sidney Boultwood and other members of the Boultwood/ Coppen / Breidenbach (Bryden) Families. Mike Murphy is the grandson of the photographer Sidney Boultwood. Mike Murphy's mother was Dorothy Boulwood (born 1912, Folkestone, Kent), Sidney Boultwood's second daughter. Mike Murphy provided copies of the majority of the photographs which illustrate the story of Sidney Boultwood and the Stickybacks Studios. I am grateful to Bec Thomas, Mike Murphy's daughter, who has kept these photographs safe and has helped to identify the sitters in many of the photographs. Additional photographs and information about the Boultwood/ Coppen / Breidenbach (Bryden) Families has been provided by Chris Boultwood (son of Peter Boultwood, Sidney Boultwood's youngest child), Janice Wiberley (daughter of Sidney Boultwood junior, Sidney Boultwood's eldest son), Lorrain Bryden and David Bryden,

 

Links to other Sussex PhotoHistory webpages featuring Stickybacks

Stickybacks & Postcard Studios in Brighton

The Stickyback Studio and the Automatic Photo Machine

Dudkin's Stickyback and Postcard Studios in Brighton

The Trott Family Photo Album

 

Click here to return to Home Page