Frederick Spalding (Photographer)
4 to 5 High Street, Chelmsford (currently Natwest Bank, next to Saracen’s Head, erected 2018)
The famous Spalding family of photographers are commemorated by a blue plaque on their final business premises at No. 4 High Street. Fred Spalding Senior (1830-1895) was a self-taught photographer who took up the new art form in the 1860s.
Born in Danbury, Spalding was the fifth child of a shoemaker, and had several lines of business before becoming a professional photographer. He set up the family business in Tindal Street, in the mid-19th century and by 1862, he was listed as Chelmsford’s only photographer.
Frederick Spalding Junior (1858-1947) grew up immersed in the world of his father’s photography. In 1892, he moved the growing business next door to the Saracen’s Head Hotel, and built a reputation as a portrait, landscape, and commercial photographer.
By 1891, Frederick Spalding junior was well-established in his Chelmsford ‘fancy goods’ shop and photography business. In addition to portrait, landscape and commercial photography, Spalding took a keen interest in Chelmsford’s history, and fought to save ancient parts of the town, documenting them through photographs as they disappeared.