Former Anderson photo studio, Welshpool

Former Anderson photo studio, 5 High Street

This building’s frontage dates from the 18th century, with a Victorian shop front. The interior is older and noted for its staircase from c.1660. The plaque at first-floor level on the frontage was revealed in 2012 when accumulated layers of paint were removed. The Latin words probably relate to the builders.

Many Quakers were incarcerated for their beliefs in a prison behind this building in the 17th century. The Christian sect was founded by George Fox and gained many early adherents in Mid Wales after Fox’s missionary tour here in 1657.

photo_by_anderson_studioThis building was originally a town mansion, later divided into two tenements. By 1880 it housed the shop and photographic studio of James Anderson, one of Mid Wales’ pioneer photographers. Born in Birmingham, he advertised his photographic services in Aberystwyth in 1860. The following year he lived in Newtown, and was in Broad Street, Welshpool, by 1871.

His studio was still in Broad Street in 1879, when in a newspaper advert he thanked his patrons for their support over the past 18 years and boasted of “new processes in photography with the most approved apparatus”. The business photographed “views, groups, residences, animals etc”. An example is shown on the right, with James seated on the left.

James Anderson was a town councillor, County School government, church warden, singer and entertainer. As his health failed, his son Fred handled the darkroom processing, sometimes dashing home early from school to start work. Fred took over the business. He was often called on to judge amateur photography competitions, including at the Powys Eisteddfod.

As photography became accessible to the public, Fred diversified the business into cabinet and coffin making and upholstery. Since 1919 the business has concentrated on antiques. It is now run by Ian Anderson, great-grandson of James.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: SY21 7JF