A Turn of the Century Lady Photographer – and More

Members of the Shaftesbury & District Historical Society will be presenting their own historical findings to the informal setting of a Tea and Talks event at Gold Hill Museum at 2.30p.m. on Tuesday 06 February. Among the proposed topics are photographs by Elizabeth Upfield (1854-1903); the Abbess of Shaftesbury’s Farmhouses in the Nadder Valley; and local Sheep Washes. All will be illustrated and promise to shed new light on aspects of local history. Non-members are welcome when seats are available after 2.20p.m. Please be prepared to make a donation towards the cost of refreshments.

Claire Ryley and Ann Symons are well known locally for their presentations of images from the Museum’s (Albert) Tyler Collection. They have begun to identify an increasing number of photographs taken by a female contemporary, Elizabeth Upfield. Research, Ann writes, has established that Mrs Upfield was born Elizabeth Frances Hale in 1854 in Farlington, Hampshire. She became a dressmaker and milliner. In 1882 she married James Hooper, a draper with a shop in Shaftesbury High Street. James died leaving her with 3 young children. She married Albert Upfield in 1898. They continued to run the shop as “drapers and milliners” in the High Street. It was listed in the 1903 Kelly’s Directory as: “New Photographic Studio (all communications & invoices to be addressed to E.F. Upfield, proprietress), High Street.In the same year Elizabeth Frances Upfield died on 7th August and was buried at Holy Trinity Church.

The image above is of a print in an E.F. Upfield mount. It shows the town en fete, possibly for the Prince of Wales’s seven-minute-long royal visit on 21 October 1899. But there were other celebratory occasions at the turn of the century.

Martin Shallcross will cast a farmer’s eye over evidence of the Abbess of Shaftesbury’s Farmhouses in the Nadder Valley. Perhaps the best known example is Place Farm Tisbury with its spectacular Tithe Barn. Alan Carter brings his vet’s eye to the evidence of local Sheep Washes.

The Tithe Barn at Place Farm Tisbury, built by the Abbess of Shaftesbury, possibly in the 13th century. Currently leased from the Fonthill Estate by Messums West