Hertfordshire Postcard Artists, Photographers, Publishers, etc.

Alpha Trading Company, St Albans

from 1901

 

The career of Arthur Melbourne-Cooper (1874-1961), the film pioneer and the son of the photographer Thomas Cooper, is well documented online elsewhere (Wikipedia, An Animated Dispute, Obituary in The Times 7 Dec. 1961, etc.).  In 1901 his father died and Thomas's old photographic studio at Osbourne Terrace was closed down. He set up the Alpha Trading Company and established the Alpha Cinematograph Works at Bedford Park, Beaconsfield Road, St Albans. In 1908 he opened the pioneering Alpha Picture Place in St Albans, followed the following year by the Letchworth Picture Palace. Two fires at the Letchworth cinema put him in financial difficulties and he moved elsewhere to continue his filmmaking career.

 

Rather than repeat his film making story this page will concentrate on the post cards produced by the Alpha Trading Company in St Albans in about 1903-1905. These appear to have been produced in two groups.

 

The first were a series of printed view cards which chose scenes in and around St Albans and they are often of less popular subjects which were covered by the majority of post card publishers in the area. They all have the same simple back and the earliest I have seen was posted in November 1904.

Beaumont Works, Fleetville, St ALbans - Post Card by Alpha, St Albans

 

Beaumont Works, Fleetville, St Albans

 

Nicholson's Raincoat Co. Ltd., rainproof specialists, Beaumont Works, Hatfield Road, St Albans.

Kelly's Herts Directory 1908

     
Ayot Church & School   Cattle Market   Hill End Asylum   Hill End Asylum

These cards were followed by an unusual series of coloured views, three of which, and possibly all, were photographs taken 15 to 20 years earlier. Two show the Abbey before the restoration and one shows the old toll gate on London Road which was removed in 1890. The pictures may have been taken by Arthur's father, Thomas Cooper. The stamp box identifies the printer as "G. A. P. Co., London"

East View of St ALbans Abbey before Restoration - Alpha Post Cards West View od St Albans Abbey before restoration  - Alpha Postcards
St Albans Abbey - East View before Restoration St Albans Abbey - West View before Restoration
The Toll Gate, London Road, St Albans, circa 1890 - Post Card by Alpha, St Albans Sopwell Lake, St Albans, possibly 1890 photo - Post Card by Alpha, St Albans
Old Toll Gate, London Road Sopwell Lake
New Barns Mill, St Albans, possibly circa 1890 - Post Card by Alpha, St Albans
New Barns Mill All these coloured cards have the same back.
       
Bury Dell, Park Street   Village Sports, Frogmore   Girls School, North Mimms    
 
 

A couple of years later a number of post cards (of both series) were printed with an advert for a Concert & Exhibition of "Animated Photographs" at the Concert Hall, London Road, St Albans on Thursday, 19th December, 1907. The show included "London to Killarney" and other interesting subjects.

The "Animated Photographs" may well have been his 1907 film "A Dream of Toyland".

 

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Tower Bridge, London, with advert fot Reilloc car Tyres, bt Aplha of St Albans.  

The Reilloc Tyre on the Worlds Highway

 

Published by

Alpha

St Albans

 

See Thomas Arthur COLLIER, St Albans, 1892-1925

 

 

Possibly done as advertising card for the Wagon & Horses, Ridge Hill, Herts, manager J J Coles

 

November 2013   Page created
February 2014   Various updates
September 2014   Reilloc Tyres
July 2016   Wagon & Horses