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WRIGGLESWORTH & BINNS - Wellington Photographers - 1863

Journal by ngairedith

taken from various scources ...
from NZETC, written about 1895:
James Dacie WRIGGLESWORTH and Frederick Charles BINNS, were photographers in Willis Street, Wellington.
They also had branches at Christchurch and Dunedin

The business of this celebrated firm of photographers was established in 1863 and was carried on by its originator, Mr. Wrigglesworth, until 1871, when he was joined by Mr. Binns.
Their premises are large and of good appearance, being five stories
high, and possessing a floorage space of something like 10,000 square feet.

Messrs. Wrigglesworth and Binns have always maintained a very high excellence in all their work, and in 1879 gained first award at the Sydney exhibition.
Again in 1881, they were similarly successful at Melbourne, and at the New Zealand exhibition of 1885 they carried off the only first award given in New Zealand for portrait photography.

Though they have at various times done a good deal in the landscape branch, their efforts have been mainly devoted to the production of high-class portraits.

The firm are patentees of the process which has become so well known under the name of the ?Matt-Opal Type Process,? which gives a most delicate finish to the work. The perfecting of this process did much towards keeping the firm in the very foremost ranks of Australasian photographers.

The newest speciality in their work is the ?Mona? portrait, which is a bromide enlargement upon a new principle, giving to the picture very much the appearance of a direct photograph, though there is a softness and delicacy of tint far surpassing the very finest direct prints by the process which science has so far revealed to us. Messrs. Wrigglesworth and Binns are producing these works of art at a price which places them within the reach of all, and at exceptionally low rates for so fine and costly a process as the ?Mona? is known to be.

The Wellington business is personally superintended by Mr. Wrigglesworth; that at Christchurch by Mr. Binns; and the Dunedin branch, which is conducted under the name of Eden George, Limited, is in the charge of an experienced manager.

This is a firm to be thoroughly and unreservedly recommended. Their trade extends throughout the length and breadth of the Colony and even beyond, while tourists and others passing through the Empire City invariably take away with them a specimen of the work which New Zealand is capable of producing at the hands of Wrigglesworth and Binns.
James Dacie WRIGGLSWORTH (1836-1906) was born in Middlesex, England the son of James WRIGGLESWORTH, an alchemist, and Elizabeth CLAYTON
He arrived in Lyttelton with his mother, on the "Samarang" on 31 July 1852, he was then a hairdresser aged 16. His mother Elizabeth Wrigglesworth was a Governess aged 48. He originally set up as a hairdresser and perfumer in London Street, Lyttelton.

Later after moving to Wellington his mother ran a circulating library, bookseller's and fancy goods shop in Lambton Quay. She died at her residence in Cuba Street, Wellington on 14 June 1864 aged about 62.

He married three times,
firstly in Wellington about 1864 to Jane Caroline de MONTMORENCY. There were two children of this marriage:
* James de Montmorency Wrigglesworth born 23 July 1866 at Cuba Street, Wellington and
* Harold de Montmorency Wrigglesworth born about 1868.
- His wife Jane and their two children lost their lives when the ship "Cyrus" ran aground near Wellington during a storm in 1874.

secondly at Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church, Hobart, Tasmania on 7 April 1875 to Jessie MARSHALL or PEARSON. There was one daughter of this marriage:
* Kate Wrigglesworth born about 1877. She was an actress known as Miss Kate Gair and married Dr. (Robert?) SCHACHNER the Professor of Political Economy at the University of Jena (he died March 1912).
- Jessie Wrigglesworth died at her residence in College Street, Wellington on 26 July 1886 aged 42

thirdly at St Johns Presbyterian Church, Willis Street, Wellington on 2 November 1887 to Isabella Waters Sutherland GUNN the daughter of William GUNN and Margaret (Isabelle ? see below) Gunn SIMPSON.
James Wrigglesworth was then aged 51 years, he gave his occupation as "artist".
There was one son of this marriage:
* Alfred Gunn Wrigglesworth who was born about 1891. Alfred Wrigglesworth was educated at Wellington College, and at the Church of England Grammar School in Melbourne. He served in the British Army during World War One as a Second Lieutenant with the 3rd Battalion Manchester Regiment and died in France on 4 September 1916 aged 25 years. He is buried at Thiepval Memorial, France. His next of kin was listed as: Son of Isabelle Gunn Wrigglesworth, of Jolimont Square, Melbourne, Australia, and the late James Dacie Wrigglesworth. Born at Wellington

... visit the link above for a very indepth look at his life and work and many wonderful old photos to view...

From the EVENING POST 21 October 1901:
Wrigglesworth and Binn's New Studio.
The photographic business of Messrs. Wrigglesworth and Binns has more than a local reputation. The firm's work is to be seen in homes and offices and public places throughout the colony, and not a few people have in years part taken advantage of a visit to Wellington to "have a sitting" in the well-known Willis-street studio.

The unfortunate fire of some months ago not only caused the destruction of thousands of valuable negatives, but temporarily banished the firm from the place where its operation had been carried on so successfully and for so many years. But there has now risen upon the site a bigger, brighter, and better building than that of old. The new studio of the firm is located in premises which immediately catch the eye of the person who passes along Willis-street. The three-story, substantial looking building has been neatly designed by Mr. W. C. CHATFIELD, and well and truly built by Messrs. J. and A. Wilson. But it is upon the interior of the building that taste has been lavished by Mr. Wrigglesworth, the design having been carried out excellently by Messrs. R. and E. TINGLEY. The colouring on walls and ceilings is in harmony with an artistic scheme of furnishing; and embossed zinc, which has been used for the covering of the walls and ceilings, has been effectively toned and decorated.

Upon the first floor, the main business of the firm is to be done, and this is approached from the street front by a stairway of easy grade, flanked by such a fine collection of photographs as makes the visitor pause often in the upward journey to scrutinise the individual exhibits.

Overlooking busy Willis-street is one of the handsomest of reception-rooms, furnished with the upmost good taste, with a beautifully painted ceiling, and containing so many attractive objects as to make it a pleasure to wait within such a bower. There will be no complaints from patrons about weariness of waiting amidst surroundings so agreeable.

Off the reception-room is the public office, which is the centre of a house-telephone system, and which also contains a lift communicating with the work-rooms above. The office has a store-room attached, and alongside, is a dressing-room which ladies will declare to be "a dream," so tasteful is its decorative scheme of geranium pink, and its pretty furnishings. Approaching the studio, the visitor passes a dressing-room for gentlemen, containing, like all the other room's, a neatly-set gas-stove, to warm wintry temperature, and a lavatory for the use of patrons.

Then comes the studio, commodious, well-lighted, conveniently arranged. With an area of 40ft x 20ft, it gives facilities for the taking of the largest of groups, and is equipped with the most modern aids to the photographer's art. Mr. Wrigglesworth has secured a series of backgrounds specially painted to suit the gallery, which has an elaborate system of shades for regulating the lighting. Off the studios are the changing-room and the dark-room, the latter being lighted by both gas and electric light.

On the second floor are located the workroom, and what may be termed the hive of the industry. In the eastern corner of the floor, Mr. Wrigglesworth has his "snuggery," which is cosy and comfortable-looking. Adjoining are separate rooms for the re-touchers and the artists, the toning, fixing, enamelling, mounting, and burnishing rooms; also storerooms for chemicals, etc. The enlargement department of the firm's business has become one of the first importance, and a commodious room has been set apart for this work. Off this room access is obtained to the fire-escape, and the whole floor is well equipped with lighting and sanitary appliances.

Up another flight of stairs, and the visitor comes to the "printery," a room specially designed to catch the sun in its various aspects, and with ample provision for its purpose. As an adjunct, there is a balcony, overlooking the back-door of Willis-street." Altogether, Messrs. Wrigglesworth and Binns's new premises may be classed as among the most up-to-date, and, in some respects, the best-equipped of the colony's photographic establishments, and they should attract many visitors.
Frederick Charles BINNS (1844-1915) was born in London in 1844, where he was brought up as a civil engineer, but devoted much of his leisure time to amateur photography. Shortly after his arrival in Wellington in 1864 he became associated with James Wrigglesworth and established the partnership of Wrigglesworth and Binns. He became one of the most prominent Freemasons in New Zealand

He married Harriet MILLS, their children included:
* Reginald William Binns also a photographer, who married in 1911 to Elizabeth ARROW and
* Stanley Walter Binns, a clerk, who married in 1909 to Grace Elizabeth HENEY.

While walking to work on 13 August 1915 with a friend Mr. W. I. Bolam he was struck by a motor vehicle in Victoria Street and received serious head and body injuries. He was taken to hospital unconscious and died early in the afternoon. At the time of his death he lived at 73 Winchester Street, Merivale, Christchurch. He was buried in the Papanui Churchyard on 16 August, his wife Harriet died in 1921 aged 72.

Fredericks obituary from his link above:
... While proceeding to business this morning Mr. F. C, Binns, of the firm of Wrigglesworth and Binns, was the victim of a collision which occurred between a motor-car and a motor-cycle with side-chair attached, in Victoria street. Mr. Binns, who is 71 years of age, was by some means knocked over by one of the vehicles and sustained severe injuries which necessitated his immediate removal to the Christchurch Hospital, where he expired as the result of the injuries he had sustained.

The late Mr. Binns was born in 1844 in London, where he was brought up as a civil engineer, but devoted much of his leisure time to amateur photography, and shortly after his arrival in Wellington in 1864 he became associated with Mr. Wrigglesworth, and established the partnership which had continued ever since. Mr. Binns was one of the most prominent Freemasons in New Zealand; he was initiated in 1873 in the Pacific Lodge, Wellington, and was Master of the Lodge in 1870 and 1880. Subsequently he became the Z.V. in the Royal Arch Chapter, was twice Grand Senior Warden of the Grand Lodge of Wellington (English Constitution), and for a time was also treasurer. With the Pacific Lodge he came over to the New Zealand Constitution, and later on, on coming to Christchurch, he affiliated with St. Augustine Lodge. He was installed as Grand Superintendent of Canterbury in 1902, and on the inauguration of the Provincial Grand Lodge, as Grand Master, an office which he held till his death. He was a foundation member of the Civic Lodge. Mr. Binns was also Grand Master (honoris causa) of Grand Lodge of New Zealand in 1911, and he was also Pro-Grand Master in 1906-08.
The funeral will take place on Monday, at 2.30 p.m.

... again, a MUST SEE site with lots of info and many wonderful old photos
Early New Zealand Postcards
... An article in the Wellington Independent of the 23rd of April 1863, mentioned views of Wellington being taken by a Mr Richards "...of a size suitable for albums so much in vogue..." The talents of Mr Richards were recognise New Zealand Exhibition in 1865. The Jurors stated "... Among them may be specially mentioned a little picture of Thorndon Flat, as deserving of great praise for the delicate manipulation and care bestowed upon it...." The same report mentioned another Wellington firm with the following criticism "... in two or three pictures, there is evidence of imperfection in the manipulation of the plate, a dullness that might have possibly been avoided....", this describes some of the entries from a newly formed partnership, SWAN and WRIGGLESWORTH.

Swan who had carried on alone for five years, since his brief association with Davis, must have yearned for a reliable partner to help him with the booming carte craze that inundated his Wellington studio. Doubtless he eyed with business acumen the areas to the north of Wellington that did not boast a resident photographer. When he journeyed to Napier to found his Hawke's Bay branch, he left his practise in the charge of James Dacey Wrigglesworth. This seemed a well-timed move, but there is speculation that his departure was motivated by the return of Mrs FOLEY's Theatrical Company to the area. Eventually Swan sold out his Napier photographic interests to Samuel Carnell in 1870, having previously dissolved his partnership with Wrigglesworth after a three-year association. While Swan's career in photography was not a lengthy one when compared with some others, he made several important contributions to the craft. His coverage of news events and his involvement in the theatre combined to add a touch of showmanship and personality to early New Zealand photography. His later life was by no means dull. For many years he held controlling shares of a brewery in Napier and later served a long term as major of the city. His interest in politics eventually took him to Wellington where he represented his district in parliament. The final years of his long and eventful life were spent in Wanganui.

Swan's successor, Wrigglesworth, had a long and extensive association with Wellington, which began as a hairdresser in 1854. After his association with Swan was dissolved in 1867 he carried on alone for several years before joining up with Frederick C. Binns in 1874.

Their names virtually became household words throughout the country, as they followed their Wellington success with branches in all the major centres. Wellingtonians have every reason to regret the disastrous fire which engulfed the premises of Wrigglesworth & Binns in lower Willis Street in 1901. Undoubtedly the bulk of Swan's plates, along with those views Wrigglesworth took in late 1860 and early 1870 were destroyed by the flames. The criticism made by the jurors in the exhibition in 1865 must be taken at face value with little hope of a fresh evaluation. Whether the photographs in question originated from either Swan's or Wrigglesworth's camera is of little consequence. A reassessment of their talent through a comparison of their work with that of their contemporaries, is reduced to a handful of authenticated prints which have fortunately survived. Because of the small number involved, this can hardly be considered absolute and definitive

The 1.45pm train from Wellington to Longburn, drawn by one of the original tank locomotives built by Manning, Wardle and Company of Leeds, emerging from no 5 tunnel near Crofton. Photograph by Wrigglesworth & Binns of Wellington

by ngairedith Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2011-07-11 08:52:52

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