This photographic collection of almost 4000 glass plate negatives taken between 1896 and 1920, with most dating between 1898 and 1907 - the period during which SWA Newton was actively recording the Great Central Railway (GCR) under construction, covers villages and towns within the corridor of the GCR and associated branch lines. The main line itself ran from Marylebone Station through the counties of Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire. The absence of anything from Leicestershire and the paucity of material from Nottinghamshire are probably explanied by a corresponding wealth for these counties in the Leicester Museums, Arts and Records Service holding.
Both Devon and Cornwall are also well represented (about 30% of the collection), with particular focus on the south-west extremity of Cornwall. Other counties represented (only 1% of the total) include County Durham, Gloucestershire, Kent, Greater London, Greater Manchester, Northumberland, Shropshire and Wiltshire.
Most of the images tend to convey the commercial work of a 'jobbing' photographer; many are contemporary with those taken to record the construction of the GCR and may have, public houses, shops and farms. Ecclesiastical subjects account for nearly 10% of all town and village scenes. Landscape and coastal scenes also feature, particularly in the coverage of Cornwall and Devon., in part, been taken to fund this record photography. They include views of buildings, general village or town scenes and over 1200 individuals or family groups. Some appear to have been taken speculatively, almost as postcard type images, and depict common features or landmarks found in any town or village, such as post offices, country houses, churches
Colour or black and white: Black and white
Photographer: Alfred Newton and Sons