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Queen’s Head Inn Yard, Southwark

Old buildings provided an ideal subject for the long exposure times necessary for early photography (since they didn’t move) and fed the Victorians’ burgeoning interest in historic preservation. A small group of friends formed the Society for Photographing the Relics of Old London in 1875 to document an inn slated for demolition, and they publicized the availability of the photographic views in The Times. The pictures proved so popular that they issued twelve more sets (a total of 120 photographs) through 1886.

The Queen’s Head Inn was one of the few Elizabethan buildings to survive the Great Fire of London in 1666. Although the old half-timbered structure was torn down in 1900, a road sign still marks its prior location at 84 Borough High Street.

Henry Dixon
English, 1820–1893
Queen’s Head Inn Yard, Southwark, No. 54 from Relics of Old London
1880 (published 1881)
Carbon printImage/sheet: 8 7/8 x 7 1/16 in. (22.5 x 17.9 cm); mount: 18 x 14 in. (45.7 x 35.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 78.2.2