Joseph Wingrave

This is the only Coventry based commercial photographer from the nineteenth century that took photographs of the city outside his studio. This is an amazing fact considering how many were doing so in the first twenty years of the twentieth century. Most of his photographs date from 1860s and 1870s. Hardly any exist before this time and most of the later ones were taken by interested amateurs.

Most of his photographs were produced in the ‘carte de visite‘ style which was a sepia photograph on thin paper stuck onto a credit card sized piece of card. An advertisement of his for views of Coventry and District featured in a local newspaper of 1868.

Wingrave was born in Luton in 1821 and moved to Coventry in the 1840s. He opened a Chemist shop in  High Street near where Waterstones bookshop can be found today. No doubt his knowledge of chemicals was useful for managing the very complicated method of processing the glass photographic plates used in those days. He was very interested in the history and life of the city, being involved with a number of local organizations. he died in 1897