SHC Reference4209
TitleGEORGE BUNCE AND HERBERT BUNCE, PHOTOGRAPHERS OF CATERHAM AND PURLEY: ORDER BOOKS, ACCOUNT BOOKS AND GLASS PLATE NEGATIVES
DescriptionThe surviving glass plates illustrate the breadth of Bunce Brothers' business and contain some notable images. There are fine series of photographs of events and activities at Caterham School, Dene School and Eothen School, in Caterham. The Bunce Brothers recorded carnivals and fetes organised by Caterham Hospital and Caterham Fire Brigade, the activities of Caterham Scouts, V E Day and Coronation street parties, and local football and cricket teams. Aspects of World War II were also recorded including photographs of ARP and Home Guard personnel and the results of bomb damage. There are fascinating views of the RAF base at Kenley.
Date1903-1954
LevelCollection
ProvenancePresented by Surrey Local Studies Library, Guildford, in January 1994.
IntroductionIn 1875 James Bunce moved from Hertfordshire to Caterham with his wife, Mary Ann, to take up employment at the newly opened Asylum as a tailor and they stayed in Caterham for the remaider of their lives. The 1901 census shows their sons, George (born 1877) and Herbert (born 1881), to be photographers lodging at 7 Clarenden Road, Croydon. In 1903 the Bunce brothers established themselves as professional photographers in a wooden hut to the rear of their father's home in Asylum Road. In 1906 they moved across the road to a new building at 26 Asylum Road (a road later renamed as Westway), Caterham. Photographing Guardsmen at the nearby Guards Depot was to become the core of their business but they also photographed many local families, buildings and activities. In the 1927 Kelly's Directory G and H Bunce are also registered as photographers at 1 Pretoria Terrace (now 947 Brighton Road), Purley. They do not appear in Purley in the Directories for 1922 or 1930, and the records suggest they were there from November 1922 to January 1929. The firm closed altogether in 1957 and donated its glass plate negatives, which comprise black and white images only, to the library in Westway, Caterham, together with the order and account books. George Bunce died in 1970 at the age of 93 and in 1975 Herbert died at his home on Guernsey where he had lived since 1957.
ArrangementFor a number of years staff at the library in Caterham worked to select topographical plates of local interest and index them. In 1965 the selected plates were transferred to Caterham Valley Library and then to Surrey Local Studies Library, Guildford, before their transfer to the Surrey History Centre. The majority of the plates, either non-topographical or not relating to Surrey, have been dispersed. In 2007-08 the index of the selected plates was enhanced with additional information contained in material published by The Bourne Society. Digital copies of the glass plates have also been made in collaboration with The Bourne Society.

The glass plates were originally stored in numbered photograph boxes (see -/4/2 for a sample retained), and were originally catalogued at the library in this order (see -/4/1). The order of the numbered boxes has been retained in the list below. The numbering system used by Bunce Brothers allows cross-referencing between the order books and the plates, where both survive.
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