'Old Houses in Wych Street'
© Science & Society
A photograph of the churchyard of houses in Wych Street, London, taken by Alfred and John Bool (active 1870s), in 1876. Wych Street was demolished in 1901 in the development which created the Kingsway and Aldwych. Many of London's historic buildings were lost in the Victorian period as the city expanded and modernised. Between 1875 and 1882 a concerned amateur society, The Society for Photographing Relics of Old London, commissioned a systematic photographic record of threatened buildings in an effort to save them. The Bool brothers were portrait painters who took up photography in the early 1870s. In the late 1870s, Henry Dixon (1820-1893) was also employed by the Society to photograph historic buildings threatened with demolition. He printed both his photographs and those taken earlier by the Bool brothers as permanent carbon prints. These were issued to subscribers together with printed notes on the histories of the buildings depicted.