An update by Ron Dale


The following additional information came from Gerald Coppen and confirmed by Stuart Moye and explains why Robinson chose to open a branch in Stanstead Abbotts, a small village many miles distant from Hackney. His wife, Anne Marie, was the daughter of local dairyman, Thomas Smith in Stanstead Abbotts High Street.

Thomas Robinson was a professional who had moved around whilst in business but eventually settled at Homerton Road Hackney, London, where in 1901 he was in business and living with his family there, comprised of:

Thomas S. Robinson, head of household, aged 45, born Bedford

Annie Marie, wife, aged 49, born Bishop Stortford, Herts.

Harrellia, daughter, aged 18, born Forest Row, Sussex. This young lady was Thomas Robinson’s step-daughter as Annie Marie had been married previously.

Thomas Jnr., son, aged 16, born Forest Row, Sussex

Frances, daughter, aged 12, born Hackney

Percy, son, aged 10, born Hackney

   In spite of the fact that his name appears on the reverse of the early photographs taken at his studio in High Street, Stanstead Abbotts, Thomas Robinson never lived in our village. However, on the back of each photo was the  Homerton Road, Hackney address and Stanstead Abbotts printed secondly, showing that our village studio was his secondary branch (run by others). His connection with Stanstead Abbotts was his wife, Annie Marie Smith who had also become a photographer in the family business.

ANNIE MARIE SMITH was the daughter of dairyman Thomas Smith, who lived and operated his business in the High Street, Stanstead Abbotts. In the census of 1891 it would appear that the census caught Annie Marie and her entire family visiting her widowed father as the following listing shows:


 Head of household, Thomas Hy. (Henry?) Smith, aged 62, dairyman, born Homerton;  Ada F. Smith, daughter, aged  24, born Stanstead; Anne Marie Robinson, daughter, aged 39, born Bishop Stortford; H.M. Hobroyd, granddaughter, aged 8, born Sussex; T.G. Robinson, grandson, aged 6, born Sussex; F.A. Robinson, granddaughter, aged 2, born Hackney; P.S. Robinson, grandson, aged 4 months, born Hackney; Carrie Salmon, niece, aged 17, born Commercial Road, London;  G.W. Belton, male boarder, aged 23.

Gerald Coppen has evidence that Mr.Smith’s business was next door to Burton’s Newsagents and had a yard and dairy  at the back (all now demolished).

   Mr. Thomas Robinson senior was very wisely boarding at the Railway Tavern (Jolly Fisherman) as his father-in-law obviously had a houseful of guests on this particular day.   At the pub was landlord Henry Carter, aged 31, born Yorkshire; E. Agnes Carter, wife, aged 32, born Norfolk; their 3 young children were all born in Norfolk or Suffolk, signifying that the family had not been resident in St. Margarets for long. The pub had only one other boarder, Fred Marsh, aged 50, born in London.

1911 CENSUS shows the Robinson family all living happily at Hackney with step-daughter Harrelia and his two sons now working in the family business as photographers.


The following photograph was sent to us anonymously from a reader of our web site in Australia and we found this one particularly interesting, mainly for the reverse side of the photo. The sender of the picture tells us that the boy was either from the Adams or the Booker family who emigrated to Australia as a young lad.

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The back shows Stanstead Address first. NOTE: We have it on good authority that the boy was 10 years old in 1910 so handwritten numbers are not a reference to the date. (Brian Johnson),

The back of the photo shows a different design for the TSR rebus from the earlier card and has the Stanstead address first, which is the first time this printing has been seen, suggesting a later date than the photograph from Mrs. Johnson’s ancestors.  It also lacks the ornate cherubic design on the reverse of the previous photo.  Robinson used the name Camera House Studio for both his addresses. Our enterprising researcher Stuart Moye has cleverly identified the location of the Studio on our High Street as it used to be a century ago by looking back down the camera lens. Please read his paper on T.S. Robinson and the 1903 Flood Pictures on this web site.


Alan sent the following photo of his relative that was taken at Homerton.              

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