T.A. Bishop Stereographs

Today on Heritage et AL we are featuring the T.A. Bishop Collection of stereographs that are held at the West Auckland Research Centre. This collection consists of 767 stereograph cards from the early decades of last century.

These images provide a valuable record of the lives of early settlers of West Auckland in general and specifically in Titirangi. For instance, the Bishops attended the openings of the Upper Nihotupu Dam  and also the Titirangi Soldiers Memorial Church.

Whilst this collection is named the TA Bishop Collection, Bishop did not take all of the photographs contained it. Some of the images in this collection have the name of photographer on the back of the cards; these names include well known photographers such as James D. Richardson, Frederick Radcliffe, and F.B. Blackwell. For a deeper look at F.B. Blackwell and his sister Ellen see the biography in number 96 of the New Zealand Botanical Society’s newsletter.

They also provide opportunities to observe the social history of this part of New Zealand from a century ago like this example of a Māori cooking demonstration in Mount Eden. The image below is likely to be depicting this event reported in the New Zealand Herald on 10 October 1927.

The majority of the collection has been digitised and is available for you to browse through on Local History Online. The remaining stereographs that aren't online are the collection of botanical images but these are available to look at in person at the West Auckland Research Centre.

The Bishops must have been very well known for the native bush on their property. In her memoir contained in Titirangi, T.A. Bishop’s sister, Essie Hodge, recalls her father supplying, when the  Prince of Wales visited in 1920, “a great part of the native bush decorations for a reception in the Town Hall for the prince. Several whole nikau palms, festoons of lycopodium and other attractive offerings from the bush.” The Bishop family also supplied botanical decorations for the Auckland Town Hall when Lord Jellicoe visited in October 1920.

For more information on the Bishop family see Titirangi: fringe of heaven by Marc Bonny and this post on Timespanner.

So what are stereographs? The Library of Congress describes stereographs as “two nearly identical photographs or photomechanical prints, paired to produce the illusion of a single three-dimensional image, usually when viewed through a stereoscope.”
To try and recreate this effect we've created a couple of GIFs from the images in the T.A. Bishop collection. 

Author: Andrew Henry