Hertfordshire Postcard Artists, Photographers, Publishers, etc.

Arthur Elsden,

Photographer  of Hertford

& Son Arthur Vincent Elsden


Arthur was born in 1827, in Pakenham, the son of James and Mary Elsden. In 1851 he was working in Shoreditch as a carpenter, married Fanny Vincent in 1853, and their first son, Arthur Vincent, was born in Shoreditch in 1854. Their second son, James Vincent, was born in Hertford early in 1857. It is almost certain that he was working in Craddock's Photographic Rooms, as he was advertising his services from the same address in 1859.

Herts Mercury 30th April 1859


Herts Mercury 19th December 1857

Herts Mercury 27th April 1861


Herts Mercury 26th April 1862


Herts Mercury 18th July 1863


In 1864 a conversazione was held at Hertford Town Hall which was opened by Mr J. Marchant, Junior, reading a paper on "The Magic Lantern among the Sciences." Others showed lantern slides and "a series of photographic negatives, executed by Mr. Elsden, and including portraits of Sir Minto Farquhar (who was very heartily received) and of Mr. Marchant's little boy; and views of Panshanger, Goldings, Ball's Park, and the Castle were afterwards exhibited. They were very effective, and demonstrated in the most satisfactory manner that the accurate pictures of objects taken by means of photography may be advantageously projected by the magic lantern."

Herts Mercury 23rd January 1864


Herts Mercury 11th August 1866

Herts Mercury 21st April 1865


Herts Mercury 29th July 1865





North Crescent


Copies may be had at any time by sending the name


This picture shows a lady in a crinoline, suggesting a date in the early 1860s. The absence of the words "Patronised by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales" suggests the back is earlier than the following example which dates from about 1870.


The CDV of William Walter Maynard has the same simple back and was probably taken in the later 1860s.

CDV bt Elsden of Hertford


Patronised by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales
Established 1857
North Cresent

Copies may be had at any time by Sending the Name

CDV bt Elsden of Hertford


These two cards come from a collection of carte de visite of pupils at Haileybury School.
Pupils and Masters at Haileybury, 1867-1871


same back

On 31st August 1872 the following news item appeared in the Herts Mercury:

New Studio.Our fellow townsman Mr. Elsden, has opened his new photographic studio at Mill Bridge, Hertford. The studio is in a more generally convenient and accessible part of the town than his old one in the North Crescent, and has been most completely and admirably constructed and fitted up for the purpose for which it is designed. A north light, which photographers like better than any other, is secured, and no contrivance or improvement has been lost sight of which an experience of sixteen years could suggest for promoting the comfort of the sitters, and of the success of the portraits taken there. Mr. Elsden exhibits in his new premises a large and interesting collection of local and other photographs, and pictures prepared by the new process called oleography, and minutely resembling oil paintings.

  CDV by Elsden of Hertfotd
In 1874 The Price of Wales made a visit to Panshanger, reported in The Graphic, and the article was illustrated by engravings from photographs by Elsden.

Herts Mercury 1st April, 1876



CDV by ELsden of Hertford

The inscription on the back suggests that these photograph was probably taken between 1872 and 1885.


Established 1857

Patronised by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales
Elsden & Son

Mill Bridge


Groups & Equestrian Studies at North Crescent

(Arthur or James?) Vincent Elsden

December 1874


  Same back, but printed in red.

Similar "red" card seen dated 1884


THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL. - On Thursday and Friday evenings last week the present and past pupils of this school gave dramatic representations. The pieces selected were "Bombastes Furioso" and "Payable on Demand." The parents and friends of the pupils were invited to be present at the performances, and the large school-room in which the representations were given was well filled each evening. The performers acquitted themselves very creditably, and the entertainment passed off in a most satisfactory manner.  Herts Mercury, 26th December, 1874.


Vincent Elsden

as the Marquis of St ?????

in ""Payable on Demand"

Dec 1874


 By 1886 the North Crescent address had been dropped. In 1887 Arthur died and the business was continued by his son Arthur Vincent Elsden from the Bridge Street address until Arthur junior died in 1929.


Circus Elephants in Fore Street, Hertford

A photographic slide by Arthur Elsden
circa 1880

From the HALS Collection
Hertfordshire Memories
 [link to larger version of picture]

Note the large steam traction engine following the elephants. It was normal for circuses to have parades to attract customers to the performances.

  Elephants, Fore Street, Hertford, photograph by Elsden

Post Card by Elsden of Hertford

Post Card by Elsden of Hertford

Hertford Castle & North Road, Hertford

Posted 1903

Bengeo Church & Hertford from Brym Alt, Bengeo

While these cards has no publisher identification all aspects of the cards are identical to the Elsden post card of Port Hill, below, and it is almost certain that they are Elsden cards.

Post Card by Elsden of Hertford


Port Hill, Hertford

An undivided back card. possibly from about 1904

Note that photographer name is in the bottom right hand corner of the picture.

The Prince and Princess of Wales at Hertford

July 23rd 1906


  Post Card by Elsden of Hertford, Prince of Wales, King George V

In September 2007 Mr Baden Browne gave a talk on "The Elsden Photographs of Hertford" at the Hertford Museum.

December 2009:  Mike Elsden.(mike @t elsden.com) of Caernarfon, Gwynedd, writes:  I was very interested in your web page on my great great grandfather Arthur Elsden. I am descended from Arthur Elsden's second son, James Vincent, who went on to forge a career as a Geologist and Military Trainer.  .

October 2009   Page created
December 2009   Updated. with correction
February 2013   Elsden & Son CDV added
August 2013   Early adverts, etc., added
March 2014   Two new CDV added
February 2015   News items from 1874 & 1876
April 2016   Vincent Elden CDV

In 1857 he set up business in Hertford, initially living and working in North Crescent. /// 1827 Baptised 2 september at Pakenham, Suffolk, son of James and Mary /// 1851 census he was a carpenter living in Shoreditch /// 1853 he married Fanny Vincent in Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, Wales /// 1854 Arthur Vincent Elsden birth registeded Shoreditch area /// James born registered Hertford, early 1857 /// 1861 Census North Cresent / Arthur 33 Photographer / 1866 Arthur Elsden, photographer, North Crescent /// 1871 Census, North Crescent, Hertford / Arthur Elsden, 43, photographer,.born Pakenham, Suffolk with wife Fanny, 43, born Hessingham, son Alfred Elsden, 16, Photo Assistant, Born London, James 14, scholar, born Hertford, and five other children born Hertford /// 1881 Census North Road, Hertford / Arthur 53, Fanny, born Hevingham, Norfolk, and some children including Rosa 16, Photographers Assistant and Emily 8 (not in previous census) / Arthur Elsden 26, Photographic Artist, with wife Emily, 31, born London, and infant son ///1882 Arthur Elsden & Son, photographers, Millbridge & North Crescent /// 1886 Arthur Elsden & Son, photographers, Millbridge /// 1887 Arthur Elsden died aged 60 /// 1890 Arthur Elsden & Son, photographers, 12 & 14 Millbridge (Arthur Vincent Elsden, 28 Queen's Road) /// 912, Arthur Elsden, photographer, 12 Mill Bridge (Arthur Vincent Elsden,27 Queens Road) /// 1922, 1926 Arthur Elsden, photographer, 12 Bridge Street (Arthur Vincent Elsden,27 Queens Road) /// Arthur Vincent Elsden died 1929 aged 74 /// 1929, 1933, 1937 (Mrs Elsden, 27 Queen's Road) /// In September 2007 Mr Baden Browne gave a talk on "The Elsden Photographs of Hertford" at the Hertford Museum.