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Walter Rose Collection

Walter Rose (1857-1954) spent his working life in the village of Westcott near Dorking in Surrey, a peaceful backwater of rural activity beneath the North Downs. From his humble premises in Westcott Street Walter plied his photographer's trade working mainly for local businesses and land owners but occasionally venturing as far afield as Cornwall and Derbyshire. Walter and his wife Ellen had no children but raised a niece, Dolly, whose mother had died in childbirth.

Walter doted on Dolly judging by the charming studies of the young girl with her pets and the simple toys of the Edwardian age.

Dolly never married and lived with her Uncle Walter until his death in 1954 at the age of 97, so inheriting his collection of 900 glass-plate negatives which had been stored for the past 25 years in the wooden garden shed that had served as a darkroom. Local historian and friend of the Roses, David Knight, was asked by Dolly to store the precious plates in his attic and there they remained until 1986 when Keith Harding undertook the task of proof printing the entire collection, many of which had not been seen for 90 years. Now that the collection has been catalogued and, where possible identified, these superb images are once again being made available to the public.

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