The next port of call in my search for Studio Alexander is to look through a picture archive as I think from my experience at the North West Film Archive I will have a better chance of spotting the studio in a picture that isn’t moving!
As I found such lovely images of the Manchester College of Technology, which Dorothy attended, in the Manchester Local Images Collection I thought this would be the best place to start. When I visited the University archives I was also informed that the Local Images Collection comprises images from other sources too, so for example by searching this I am also searching in the Guardian archives, which I think are available at the University (I did look through these for Dorothy’s name on my visit but no luck!) as well as online at Central Library. So this is a brilliant resource as it is a number of searches in one!
I began by searching for the names of the studio’s as well as “Hope Chambers” where the Samuel Cooper Photography Studio was based, but nothing came up. Next I tried searching for Market Street but a vast number of images came up from a number of different decades and places. At this point I did do a bit of extra research to see if Market Street in the City Centre has ever gone by a different name and discovered at one point it was called Market Stede Lane but this was well before the 1940’s. Next I decided to limit my search by date-just searching for Market Street in the 40’s and 50’s and lo and behold a great number of images came up!
Excitingly, using the address I have for Studio Alexander (28-30 Southside- meaning it was just up from Boots) as well as the names of the buisnesses around it I think I have been able to find where the Studio was in these images!
The picture which shows this best is this one in which you can follow the shops around Studio Alexander in accordance with the Trade Ledger (for more information on how I found the addresses and other shops see my earlier posts). First we can see on the left SS. Handbags (no.36), then Meesons Ltd (no.34) next a wool shop (which I had registered as Edmonds + Co. so the buisness is the same but not the name, at no.32) then next in the Leger is our Studio at no.28-30.
From this image you can see a few differences from the Leger, like the name of the wool shop and also that “Paragon Jewellers” is actually next, however this will be due to the date when the picture was taken (1955) against the date of the Trade Leger. The next picture shows the next few shops down in this row. Again we can see Paragon Jewellers on the corner, then an alley way, and then Reid Bros Ltd. which is at no.26 in the Leger.
When I showed my findings to staff in the gallery and they were passed on to Dorothy too I found out that Studio Alexander had actually been just off Market Street. So I think the conclusion can be drawn that it was just around the corner in the alleyway between Paragon Jewellers and Reid Bros.
It’s such a shame that there wasn’t an image of Studio Alexander in these archives but we are very close! If any one knows any more information or knows whether my information is definitely on the button then please get in touch!
I will update on how my search for the Samuel Cooper Studio is coming along later in the week!