'Ploughing The Beach: SS Kohinoor in distance', 1904.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A photograph of a group of men ploughing a pebbled beach with the 'SS Kohinoor' at sea in the distance, taken by Edgar Tarry Adams (1852-1926) on 6 July, 1904. Adams took many photographs of people at work. It is not clear what these men are doing but they may be collecting gravel for building materials. He combined this observation with the ship in the distance. Shipping was also a passion of his. Adams' father had encouraged his interest in boats from childhood and so he regularly documented the construction and launching of ships. Edgar Tarry Adams was a wealthy and dedicated amateur photographer. The owner of a brewery in Halstead, Essex, he was a figure of authority and played a prominent role in local affairs. His interests were many and varied. An accomplished amateur painter and musician, he was also a captain of the local volunteer Fire Brigade and a Lieutenant in the RNVR. Adams first took up photography in the 1880s and carried on taking photographs until after World War O