Early Norfolk Photographs
1840 - 1860
Henry Harrod Photographer
Henry Hammond
Photographer unidentified
Henry Hammond,
Albumen print, early 1850s
[Norwich Castle Museum]

Henry Harrod (1817-1871)

Solicitor, antiquary, archaeologist and
member of Norwich Photographic Society

Henry was born in Aylsham, Norfolk, educated in Norwich, became a solicitor in 1838 and lived with his female servant in Bank Street, Norwich1.  In 1847 he was elected Joint Honorary Secretary to the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, which by 1850 had attracted 400 members. Harrod was very active in the Society and, in particular, in 1855, he read a paper2 to the members on photography referring ‘… to the great good which would result if those with sufficient spare time on their hands would take up that delightful Art.’ He made reference to the Norfolk Photographic Society saying there were [now] 50 members and, indeed, he was one3. He went on to list the benefits offered by photography to archaeology; the deciphering of inscriptions and records by distant specialists; recording important manuscripts; copying coins and pottery; recording the location of archaeological digs and the discoveries made [to enliven his point he showed a photograph of a Celtic skull4 by Dr. Diamond] and representing specimens of ancient architecture.  He was keen to point out that photography would aid the validation of claims, thus: ‘With the means in hand of making an instantaneous picture many a curious and valuable fact might be preserved which must now rest on the testimony of one or two persons who no matter how credible they may be, the mere character of their tale almost throws suspicion on them.’ As the original minutes of the Norwich Photographic Society are not extant, the occasional published versions5 show his administrative contribution to the Society but there is no mention of him exhibiting any photographs made by his own hand. 

In 1854 he was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and contributed to the ‘Proceedings’ mainly on matters connected with Norfolk. Later, he was also elected a member of the New England Historic and Genealogical Society.

Sources and Notes

  1. 1851 British Census
  2. Minutes of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society
  3. In 1856 he was elected Joint Honorary Secretary of the Norwich Photographic Society and resigned to become its Vice-President in 1857.
  4. Dr Diamond exhibited ‘Celtic cranium, from a tumulus’ in the 1856 Norwich Photographic Society exhibition.
  5. They appeared in some editions of the Photographic Journal and the Journal of the Liverpool Photographic Society.