Penarth Dock, South Wales - 150 years - the heritage and legacy  
Penarth Dock, South Wales - the heritage & legacy . . .

Index to Volume Seven - The People - Dock Family Trees - Locals; the ordinary and extraordinary characters . .

Martin John Ridley - [1861 - 1936]

Martin J. Ridley - photographer.

A self portrait of Martin John Ridley. [043]

Although, not a Penarth local, Martin John Ridley is worthy of note. Based at Bournemouth in Hampshire he is named within the 1891 census as a photographer.

Originally, from c.1891-94 he worked with a partner named Harry A. Miell and together they formed Messrs. Miell & Ridley of Bournemouth & Bristol. Martin Ridley specialised in land and marinescapes and his work was almost universally hand-tinted by processors in Germany, that is, until the outbreak of war in 1914!

The partnership of Miell & Ridley ended in 1901 as per the London Gazette entry below. Following the dissolution of the partnership, he devoted much of his time until c.1910 recording the changing industrial scenes, town and seaside views of the South Wales area. Whilst he does not appear to publish his work as postcards directly his photographic works are identifiable by the initials 'MJR' followed by a unique serial number upon postcards. He died in 1936.

In the mid-1960's the family home in Bournemouth was due for redevelopment so his daughter, Miss Winifred Ridley, commenced the enormous task of disposing of her father's life work. The local library took some of the glass plates and the other 6000, or so, were due for disposal within a large pit dug in the garden when they were rescued by the local business-lady.

Approx. 800 of these images of Wales are held at the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth. Some have been digitised and some still await restoration. During 1905, Martin Ridley published a booklet entitled 'Sixty-One Views of the Rhondda Valley' which is undoubtedly a comprehensive record of life in the Valleys at that time.


NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us' the undersigned, Harry Alfred Miell and Martin John Ridley, carrying on the profession or business of Photographers and Publishers, at No. 3, Victoria-buildings, Old Christchurch-road, Bournemouth, under the style or firm of " Miell and Ridley," has been dissolved by effluxion of time as on and from the 2nd April, 1901. All debts due to and owing by the said late firm will be received and paid by Mr. Edward Bicker, of Bournemouth, Incorporated Accountant, the Auditor and Accountant of the Partnership.—Dated this second day of April, 1901. HARRY ALFRED MIELL. MARTIN JOHN RIDLEY - The London Gazette [100] 9th April 1901.

Neil & Ridley's Studio, 90, Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth.
Neil & Ridley's Studio, 90, Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth. An advertisement from one of the many album views of coastal towns and cities, etc. They describe themselves as 'Architectural and Landscape Photo Artists.' This advertisement can be dated between the mid-1890's when the partnership was formed and prior to 1901 when it ended. [381]
A Memorandum of Martin J. Ridley.
A Memorandum header of Martin J. Ridley with a studio and works at 37, Haviland Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth in which he describes his business as 'Fine Art Publisher and Platinotype Printer. Landscape, Marine, Animal & Architectural Photographer.' Send telex communications to his telegraphic address at Ridley, Haviland Road, Boscombe. The coat of arms is that of the Borough of Bournemouth and bears the inscription 'Pulchritudo et Salubritas' which translates as 'Beauty and Health'  I suggest that this document dates from after the dissolution of the partnership with Harry Miell in 1901. [381]
Martin John Ridley - photographer
Martin John Ridley at work at his desk with quill in hand. [000] [002]
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