David Knights-Whittome, Photographer (1876-1943)
David Knights-Whittome was a photographer who had many customers living locally to Sutton but also further afield. He became known as “Photographer to the King” because he photographed the then King, Edward VII, his son the future George V and grandson the future Edward VIII.

The Knights-Whittome glass plate collection was discovered in the basement of 18 High Street, Sutton in 1978. The Local Studies Librarian at the time, with the assistance of Frank Burgess, a local historian with photographic experience, investigated the find and negotiated the removal to and deposit in the Borough Archives.

A glass plate is one of the earliest forms of photography; it was the ‘negative’ from which the photograph was printed. There are nearly 11,000 plates in the Knights-Whittome collection and they vary in size from 3½ x 4½" to 10 x 12”. They are dated from c1904 to 1917 – a true representation of the Edwardian period.

The smaller plates are generally of people who came to his shop to be photographed for special occasions such as baptisms or perhaps a WW1 soldier having his photograph taken before going to France, or his girl having hers taken to give to the soldier.

The larger plates cover a much wider geographical area and subject matter – from the palaces in Stockholm and Copenhagen to stately homes in the UK, from wedding parties to country house parties and schools and businesses.

Additionally there are the specialist cards Knights-Whittome produced for the Christmas market.

Knights-Whittome was widely known and respected but he gave it all up in the latter part of WW1 eventually moving to St Albans where he was mayor in 1940/41.

We hope you enjoy this small number of plates which reflect his different clientele.

In most cases we know the names of individuals or properties but little else. Can you help us fill out the details? Please contact local.studies@sutton.gov.uk if you have any information about the individuals, buildings or style of dress.
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