Viner (including York Publishing Co)
It would be reasonable to suppose that a major producer of postcards would be well known, and their history a matter of common knowledge (amongst the postcard collecting community at least), but Viner seems to thwart such expectations. It's not the fault of their cards, which are real photographs and of high quality, so perhaps it's that the Viner brand appeared in at least a dozen different forms - four of which produced postcards of Brislington. Viner postcards include pictures not only of places in Bristol and Somerset, but also Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, and South Wales.
Apart from the unusual name Viner, what links the various facets of the brand - in Brislington at least - is a willingness for a photograph to be shared among them. For example, a photograph of St Luke's church tower is printed by three of the four publishers:
Viner & Co., Publishers, Bath.
Viner's Series, Weston-super-Mare.
VINER BROMO CARD.
And it seems likely to be only a matter of time before an example is found under the banner of the fourth:
YORK PUBLISHING COY., BRISTOL.
"Coy" is an abbreviation for company. Another postcard - "Talbot Lane" - has been found with the imprint of the first, third and fourth of those listed above. Again, a full set is surely waiting to be made.
Among the many trading names associated with these postcards, one (of a Bristol scene but published in Weston-super-Mare) identifies the publisher's full name as Fred Viner.
Fred Viner was born on 10 Jan 1860 in Paddington, Middlesex. The 1871 census shows him living with his parents Charles (aged 66, working as a licensed victualler - a publican, born in Frome, Somerset) and Ann (50, from Bradninch, Devon). The family lived at Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London, and included four older children and a domestic servant.
On 16 Feb 1882 Fred married Sarah Benson by banns at the parish church of St Philips, Lambeth, then in Surrey. He was aged 23, a bachelor living at Southwark Park Road and working as a photographer (his father was still employed as a publican). She was aged 24, a spinster living at a different address in the same road as the groom (her father Henry Benson worked as a master baker).
On 18 Jan 1885 their daughter Ethel was baptised at the church of St Anne, Bermondsey, Southwark, Surrey. The parish register records Fred's occupation as photographer, and the family lived at Southwark Park Road (not either of the addresses in use at the time of their marriage).
The 1901 census shows the family had moved to Swindon, Wiltshire, where they lived in Victoria Road. Fred's occupation is listed as photographer and he was an employer. Ethel is recorded as an apprentice to photographer, working from home. She had a sibling, a sister eleven years her junior. The household was completed by Sarah's mother and sister.
On 12 Nov 1906 their daughter Ethel married Frank Colville at the parish church of St John, Reading, Berkshire. The 1911 census shows the couple with their first child living at Cadover Studio, Chalford, Gloucestershire where Frank was self-employed and earning his living from photography.
The 1911 census shows Fred and Sarah living with their other daughter, and Sarah's sister, at Boulevard Road, Weston-super-Mare. He still worked as a self-employed photographer. The 1939 register shows the couple living at Gunnersbury Lane, in Brentford & Chiswick, then in Middlesex. His occupation was given as photographer (retired).
Fred died aged 81 years, and was buried in the Ealing and Old Brentford Cemetery on 12 Mar 1940. His widow Sarah continued to live at the family home in Gunnersbury Lane until her death in 1953.
Viner's Brislington postcards (including the York Series)
These postcards have been sequenced in the order a visitor might see the sights, travelling on the Bath Road coming from Bristol, and occasionally exploring side roads.
Bath Road - Brislington, Bristol. See our exhibit.
Bath Road - Arnos Castle & Tramways Depot, Brislington. See our exhibit.
Bath Road - Arno's Castle & Tram Depôt, Brislington, Bristol. Published online at Bristol Archives. Also published in print by Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 1. Publishing credit: VINER BROMO CARD, "V series" number 119. Earliest known picture: 22 May 1937.
Sandy Park Road - Sandy Park Road. Brislington. See our exhibit.
Repton Road - Repton Rd. Brislington. See our exhibit.
Sandy Park Road - Sandy Park Rd, Brislington. Published online at Bristol Archives.
Kensington Hill - Brislington, Bristol. See our exhibit.
Tramway Road - Constructional Works, Brislington. See our exhibit.
Kensington Hill - Congregational Church, Brislington, Bristol See our exhibit.
Wick Road - Wick Rd. Council Schools, Brislington. See our exhibit.
Grove Park - Brislington, Bristol. See our exhibit.
Talbot Road - Talbot Lane, Brislington. See our exhibit.
Brislington railway station (demolished) - Brislington Station & Robertsons Jam Factory, Brislington. See our exhibit.
Water Lane (factory demolished) - ROBERTSON'S GOLDEN SHRED FACTORY, BRISLINGTON. See our exhibit.
Water Lane (factory demolished) - Robertson's Jam Factory. Brislington. MAIN ENTRANCE. Published online at Bristol Archives.
Water Lane (factory demolished) - The Home of Golden Shred & Silver Shred Preserves, Brislington. See our exhibit.
Water Lane - Brislington, from Water Lane. See our exhibit.
Water Lane - View from Water Lane Fields, Brislington. Publishing credit: YORK PUBLISHING COY., BRISTOL. "York series" number 1212.
Water Lane - Water Lane, Brislington. Published in print by Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 10. Publishing credit: VINER BROMO CARD, "V series" number 1211.
West Town Lane - West Town Bridge, Brislington. Published online at Bristol Archives. Also published in print by Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 9. Publishing credit: YORK PUBLISHING COY., BRISTOL. "York series" number 1218. Earliest known picture: 22 July 1921.
Bristol Hill - Brislington, Bristol. See our exhibit.
Bristol Hill - Brislington, Bristol. See our exhibit.
Village Square - Brislington, Bristol. See our exhibit.
Church of St Luke - St Luke's Church, Brislington, Bristol. See our exhibit.
School Road - Brislington, Bristol See our exhibit.
Brislington Hill - The Lodge, Brislington House, White Hart Hill, Brislington. See our exhibit.
A couple of Brislington postcards lack any publisher's name and, as noted in the exhibits, one is printed with the a namecheck to Scholastic T. Co. Ltd. Bristol, and another informs us that the wholesale agent is "G. Goodall, Bristol."
The term Bromo is presumably a reference to the photographic process using silver bromide - a chemical that was added to paper or card and which, when exposed to light (shining, for example, through a photographic negative), became darkened. The more light the silver bromide molecules received, the darker they became, so it's possible to achieve a good contrast of white (no light) and black (full light) as well as a practically infinite gradation of grey shades.
There are more biographical details on Fred Viner as well as fascinating examples of his studio portraits and many of his images of Bath at the Freshford website.