Conway Castle, c 1855.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A photograph of Conway (or Conwy) Castle, Wales, by Samuel Smith. It was designed by James of St George (c1230-1308) and was an important part of King Edward I's (1239-1307) plan of surrounding Wales with fortifications to subdue the Welsh. Construction began in 1283. Samuel 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.