The archives of the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI) in Bath, England, contain photographic collections, some of which date back to the early days of the medium. Of particular interest is the Hilditch/Vacher Collection. We are very grateful to the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, for permission to digitise these remarkable photographs and make them available here.
The Vacher-Hilditch Collection consists of three photograph albums. Two folio albums (HPC refs: VH01 and VH02) of similar size were compiled by William Herbert Vacher (c.1826-1899) and his wife Elizabeth. The photographs they contain were mostly taken in and around Shanghai in the 1850s. Vacher is thought to have taken many of the photographs therein, whilst others can firmly be identified as the work of William Jocelyn, or Robert Sillar, or William Vacher himself. These important early amateur photographers seem to have worked together at times, in a kind of unofficial photography club.
A third album (HPC ref: VH03) contains large photographs of Hong Kong, Macao and Canton, mostly taken by William Pryor Floyd, dating from the late 1860s. It is thought that William Vacher purchased this album from Floyd & Co on a business trip to Hong Kong. Vacher was at this time the manger of the London branch of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. HPC refs: VH-s, VH01, VH02, VH03. Work in progress - more images to be uploaded over the coming weeks.