About this Archive
Webb, David Richard (1937-2017) librarian and historian
David Webb was born in 1939 in Worcester Park, near Epsom. After local primary school, he went to Kingston Grammar where his love of languages and history flourished. He went on to study languages at Oxford University and in 1966 he started to work at Bishopsgate Institute, where he remained until he took early retirement at the end of 1998.
During these 32 years, he was very highly regarded as an expert on London and family history, and generations of researchers benefitted from his generous advice on all aspects of the Capital’s past. He was also responsible for substantially developing the Institute’s holdings of books, maps, and journals on London, and acquired for the Library the archives of the London Co-operative Society and historian Raphael Samuel.
He was Vice President of the East of London Family History Society, and Chairman of the Bishopsgate Branch; Honorary Librarian of the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society; and on the Council of the London Topographical Society. He once appeared with David Suchet, a London-born actor, on BBC TV’s Who do you Think you are? During his later years, he also became a recognised expert in the history of photography and photographic studios in London and built a huge database of index cards and files of research material on the topic.
His books include Eastern Fringe of the City: Photographic Tour of the Bishopsgate Area in 1912 (1974), Bishopsgate Foundation Centenary History (1991) and Victorian Artists in Photographs: The World of GF Watts (2007, with Mark Bills).
Scope and content
Papers of librarian and historian David Webb (1939-2017), including: six boxes of index cards detailing biographical details of nineteenth century London photographers and photographic studios, n.d.; research files, ordered alphabetically, on nineteenth century London photographers and photographic studios, including cuttings, ephemera, correspondence with other historians and researchers and certificates, n.d.; miscellaneous papers regarding Webb's research into nineteenth century London photographers and photographic studios, including drafts of articles, correspondence, material regarding his involvement with PhotoLondon, 1999-2006; box of Victorian Carte de Visites, mainly from photographic studios in the West End of London, c1850s-c1890s; slides of London scenes, n.d.; embroidered and coloured gift postcards, including military emblems, c1910-c1920; personal papers, including school and university reports and certificates, photographs, passports and Library Association certificates, 1945-1994.