'Crowland: Crowland Abbey', c 1855.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A photograph of part of the West Front of Crowland Abbey, by Samuel Smith. The figure leaning on the gate is probably Thomas Craddock, a friend of Smith's, a fellow photographer and co-author of a 'History of Wisbech'. 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.