Hertfordshire Genealogy

Guide to Old Hertfordshire


Hemel Hempstead?

What, When Where  and Who?



Hemel Hempstead

Rogues Gallery


This picture is taken by a Hemel Hempstead Photographer, Robinson Harris (of 15 Alexandra Road) so there may be some other Hertfordshire connections. It is clearly a picture of stands at an Exhibition. but what was the subject of the exhibition, where was it held, and when was it held.

The subject clearly shows exhibition stands in the corner of a hall and while not much of the hall is visible there is a very distinctive stone doorway, possibly with some Indian? architectural influence. I have no idea where it is (except I am certain it is not Hemel Hempstead) but would suggest London. It should not be be difficult to confirm a candidate venue - once a suitable possibility can be identified.


Robinson Harris one one of a number of photographers who had studios in Alexandra Road, Hemel Hempstead, and this means that we can date the picture to between 1919 and 1926.


A look at the exhibition stalls in high resolution allows a number to be identified.

  • Middle Foreground - carries the letters C.M.S. (= Church Missionary Society)

  • In the right corner is a notice carrying the words  "El Viernes Santo" which is Spanish for "Good Friday" - and the picture partly hidden behind the hat appears to be of Christ on the Cross.

  • On right in front of the doorway a sign carries the words SPCK Equipment (= Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge)

  • The sign over the door reads "CAPTAIN STEWA**, OFFI**"

  • The stall in the far corner is labelled "S. America"

  • The mock building carries the words "Ping Yin Hospital"

These stalls suggest that the exhibition relates to missionary work around the world, with the mock building being part of a fund raising project to a new hospital, perhaps in China.


It would be nice to know whether the photograph was taken because of some Hemel Hempstead association with the exhibition, beyond the fact that it was apparently taken by a Hemel Hempstead photographer. There are few people in the photographs where their face can clearly be seen, but there is this group outside the hospital exhibit. The reverend gentleman has a badge which probably means he was an exhibitor or an exhibition official. Its a very long shot - but perhaps he was from a Hemel Hempstead area church ....

Can you help
Picture from http://www.fotosearch.com/
The Postcard Detective

f you can help identify the venue, the exhibition and the date I would be delighted if you could tell me.