Early Norfolk Photographs
1840 - 1860
Samuel Oglesby Photographer
Henry Pulley (1821-1887)
Solicitor and photographer

Henry Pulley was a solicitor1 working as a partner of Field, Son & Pulley in Surrey Street, Norwich and he lived with his wife, Dorothy, at Carrow Hill2, just beyond the city walls.  That he was an early amateur photographer is shown in the image below; he was one of two Honorable Secretaries of the Norwich Photographic Society in 1856.  During his membership he showed3 fellow members many photographs he had made but just one original remains in the public domain. The photograph of the fenced, unidentified thatched buildings is laid down in an album4 bearing a pencil inscription ‘H Pulley Wax Paper’ by an unknown hand. The print does seem to have been made from a paper negative which implies it dates circa 1850.

In the 1856 Norwich Photographic Society exhibition Pulley showed ‘Etching, Albert Durer’ and the process is listed as ‘Printed’, so solve the conundrum at your leisure! 

A reference to Henry Pulley taking the original photograph of George Borrow, the Norfolk writer, in 1848 appears in a book5 published in 1913.

‘It was in the garden of Miss Brightwell’s house in Surrey Street, Norwich, that the only photograph existing of Mr. Borrow was taken by her brother ‘Tom’ in 1848.  This picture is now so faded that it has defied all attempts to reproduce it in this book.  The fact is that Dr. Knapp was refused the use of the photograph, which was not taken by Tom Brightwell, but by Mr. Pulley, a solicitor, of the firm of Field, Son, & Pulley.  This picture is now the property of Mrs. Simms Reeve, of Norwich and Brancaster Hall.  Her own portrait as a girl is one of several separate figures framed together, Borrow occupying a place in the top row.  Fortunately, by the courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Simms Reeve, this interesting portrait of Borrow, when he was forty-five years of age, has now been reproduced, and it is, perhaps, the most valuable item in this souvenir, it also is lent by Mrs. Simms Reeve for the temporary collection of Borrow relics in Norwich Castle Museum.’

Sources and Notes

   1 & 2  White’s and Melville’s Directories, 1850s.

   3        Minutes of NPS meetings published in J. Phot. Soc., 1850s.

   4        Colman Collection, Photographic Views in Norfolk.

   5        Hooper, James. Souvenir of the George Borrow Celebration. Norwich and London: Jarrold & Sons, 1913.

Henry Pulley portrait of George Burrow
Henry Pulley
Portrait of George Borrow
Letter press half-tone reproduction
of a salted paper print,
[Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service]
Thatched houses
Henry Pulley [attributed]
Thatched houses
Albumen print, 1850s
[Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service]