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Royal Commonwealth Society : Views in Lourenço Marques [i.e. Maputo]


Royal Commonwealth Society

<p style='text-align: justify;'>A collection of thirty-two loose prints, measuring approximately 205 x 155 mm. and mounted on card. The majority of which are captioned and signed by the photographer. Showing views in and around Lourenço Marques at the turn of the century, including street scenes, individual buildings and native dances. At this period, the town was just starting the economic expansion which relied on the harbour of Delagoa Bay (one of the finest in East Africa) on whose western shores it lies. The town on the site dates from around 1850 when the original settlement was destroyed; in 1876 it was designated a village and in 1887 a town. Its economic potential could only be exploited from 1895 when the railway connection with Pretoria was opened and from this time onwards extensive harbour works and rebuilding were undertaken and land reclaimed from the swamp on which the town partially lies. Electric street lighting was introduced in 1898 and the Cockburn Lighthouse, which had caused considerable construction problems and whose completion added greatly to the safety of the harbour, was in use from the beginning of 1901. The central market was opened in 1903 and the tramway in 1904. Most of these photographs, however, were taken before the large scale reclamation and building work changed the face of the city. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> There are several variant signatures on the prints themselves and these may well indicate different stages of the Lazarus Brothers partnership. Many are signed 'J. Lazarus' alone and this may be later work since the earliest prints (see print 1, taken in 1900) record both brother's initials. It is possible that M. Lazarus left for Lisbon at an earlier date although all entries in the Delagoa Directory record both brothers. At some stage they also operated a branch in Beira although the dates of this are unknown. When they quitted Lourenço Marques, the business was sold to one Sidney Hocking who practised professionally until at least 1925 or 1926 (1926 is the latest issue of 'The Delagoa Directory' in the RCS library). </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> It is possible that the prints stamped with C. Manners' signature (prints 31-2) were not taken at Lourenço Marques.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>These photographs are discussed in a post on <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Photography in the Portuguese colonies (1860-1960)</a> on the European languages across borders blog.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>One of the earliest firms to settle in Lourenço Marques, the Lazarus Brothers arrived in 1899 and remained for nine years until 1908, when they returned to Lisbon to continue photographic work from a studio in the Rue Ivans. During their time in Lourenço Marques they concentrated mainly on scenic views and later on fashion photography. In 1901 they published an album entitled 'Souvenir of Lourenço Marques.'</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> C. Manners was a commercial photographer active in Lourenço Marques circa 1905. No references to Manners have been found in the 'Delagoa Directory'.</p>

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