Robert Pols was originally from Croydon and studied at Durham and Bristol Universities before settling in Norfolk. He had a career in further education and as a freelance industrial journalist. Robert started writing about old photographs in the early 1990s, authoring many articles and a number of excellent books on the subject, primarily for local and family historians. In 2011 Robert published the original version of this site. It contained his research into photographers operating between 1840 and 1916 in seven English counties.
Following Robert's death in 2021 and with the permission of his wife, Pam, the site has been re-created by a group of Robert's fellow photo history enthusiasts, as a lasting memorial to his work.
Robert experienced problems with access to his original site and and so was unable to update entries in recent years. However, in February 2016, he published a small extension site with the results of his further research into Kings Lynn studios. The information from the extension site has been added to the Kings Lynn entries on this site.
Robert's original introduction to the site:
"This Early Photographic Studios website was created primarily to make my directories of Victorian and Edwardian photographers available to family historians, local historians and photographic historians. Additional information is, however, given for some of the listed photographers as "Studio Notes". There are also links to other researchers' online directories of early studios.
My thanks go to those who have offered corrections and additions in the past, and I regret that the site can no longer benefit from their researches. A full list of those who have helped can be found on the acknowledgements page, but I would like to record my particular gratitude to Paul Godfrey, David Gobbitt and Claire Dulanty, whose very substantial contributions have added greatly to the authority and interest of these directories of early studios."
Finding your way round the site:
To navigate this site, use the left sidebar to select a County and this will take you to an alphabetical list of photographers. This page on Using The Directories is recommended.
Robert Pols' Photo History Books
This link will take you to a list of Robert's photo history titles a number of which are currently available.