Peterborough Cathedral, c 1860.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A photograph of the West Front of Peterborough Cathedral, or the Cathedral Church of St Peter, by Samuel Smith. The cathedral was built in about 1180, partly in the Norman style and partly in the Early English style. Peterborough is situated on the northern bank of the River Nene, close to where Smith produced the majority of his photographic work. Smith was a successful timber merchant who moved to Wisbech in Cambridgeshire in the late 1840s when he retired from business. He took up photography in the early 1850s and used his camera and the paper negative process to systematically record Wisbech during a period of dramatic growth and change. Although his photography was confined to barely more than a decade of his long life he is regarded as one of the pioneers of documentary photography.