Rugg Monk Glass Plate Collection

This collection of over 1,000 glass plate negatives was bequeathed by Richard Rugg Monk, a watchmaker and local Councillor, born in 1845. A keen amateur photographer, he was the first secretary of the Plymouth Photographic Club.

His photographs are significant, as they capture Plymouth during the 1890s and early 1900s which has seen dramatic change since. As well as recording street scenes around St. Andrews, Tavistock Road, Ebrington Street and Old Town Street, the collection features the construction of Burrator reservoir, and events such as the first ‘Fishing Feast’ after the dam was built.


As well as capturing the architecture of this era, it gives a fascinating glimpse into life in turn of the century Plymouth. Also within this collection are a number of images taken within the barracks, and at local events such as elections, shows and the circus coming to town.

A selection of photographs from our collection of glass negatives is online in our ‘Plymouth Pictured: 1890s to 1910s‘ catalogue. Most are by Richard Rugg Monk. He also copied some earlier photographs and prints, a few of which are included in the catalogue. In these cases the date of the original image is often uncertain.