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Harrison's Photographic Studios - C. 1912


The left hand shop on the sea front at Port Jack, that nearest to Douglas, from about 1912, was occupied by Harrison's Photographic Studios whose address was given as Holly Bank Studios. A photograph of their premises shows virtually the same building as now. The Western gable was in the same mock tudor style but carried a vertical sign announcing "HARRISONS STUDIOS". The frontage had display windows on either side of the entrance door and over the windows were the words "Post Cards. Miniatures. High Class Portraiture". Over the display windows was a balcony, and above this a roof supported by three graceful timber arches, more visually pleasing than their present stark replacements.

Walter Harrison was from an Arbory family but he moved to Onchan, living in a house on the corner of Summerhill and Ridgeway Roads, where he set up his photographic business. The house, now number 100, was called Holly Bank and he named his studio after it. He set up a glazed structure in the garden to take advantage of natural daylight. The front row of the Port Jack shops was completed in 1912 and he moved there to catch the tourist trade.

Harrisons were publishers of post cards of local scenes, some of which were printed in Germany, and bore the imprint "Photo Harrison, Holly Bank Studio, Onchan, I.O.M.". They also produced portraits which were printed on post cards. The sitter could send these home to show off his, or more probably her, holiday outfit with the usual "Wish you were here" type of greeting and with a casual reference to her new dress. Such a card, bearing the Holly Bank Studio imprint and postmarked 13th. May 1911, reads "..This is my new costume, Wal says you look "swanky" in yours..". Their formal portraiture often bore the gold embossed legend, "Harrison & Co. Patronised by H.M. The King. Holly Bank Studio. Onchan" and this may refer to work done during Edward VII's visit in 1902. A photograph dating from about 1916 shows Harrison's family living at 2, Royal Mount, next door to the present Port Jack Post Office.