PEOPLE living in Oxford during Victorian times also suffered from flooding as historic photos taken by photographer Henry Taunt have revealed.


  • Henry Taunt

The collection of photos, with some images showing Oxford under water, is going up for sale later this month at a book fair in the city.


  • A blue plaque dedicated to Mr Taunt at his former home in Cowley Road, Oxford

Henry Taunt was born in Oxford in 1842 and had a studio in Broad Street, taking black-and-white photos of Oxford and the River Thames. He died in 1922.

Peter Hill, who organises the book fair at Oxford Brookes University, is selling his collection of photos for £3,500.

Mr Hill said the photos showed that residents in Victorian times also suffered from flooding – like the deluge which affected the city in January.

He added “The photos show Oxford during floods in the 1870s and are on sale for £3,500.

“I bought the prints about 10 years ago from another bookseller.”

The archive of a pioneering First World War pilot is also going on sale for £25,000.

In 1975, the fair was launched at Oxford’s Randolph Hotel, attracting collectors from across the country and now, four decades on, it is celebrating its 40th anniversary and will attract a record 100 exhibitors.

The fair switched to Oxford Brookes University and the two-day event now attracts more than 1,000 visitors, making it the largest provincial book fair in the south of England.

This year’s PBFA (Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association) fair takes place in the main hall at Oxford Brookes’ Gipsy Lane campus from noon to 6pm on Saturday, April 26, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday, April 27.

Highlights include the collection of photos from Mr Taunt, taken between 1870 and 1885, and the archive of First World War aviator Major Robert Loraine (1876-1935), which is on sale for £25,000 by Gresham Books.

The Loraine archive was compiled by Jim Hine, 60, an amateur historian from Somerset.

Mr Hill added: “The aviation archive of Robert Loraine has also attracted a lot of interest.

“He was the first man to use the word joystick, the first man to fly across the Irish Sea, the first man to fly through a rain storm, and the first man to land on the Isle of Wight.

“He was mentioned in despatches six times and was also an actor.”

With Marcus Niner, Mr Hill ran the Niner and Hill bookshop in High Street in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Mr Hill, who now lives in Chicester, Sussex, has been a book dealer since he left Worcester College, where he studied modern languages.

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Renowned for coining the word 'joystick'


  • DURING the First World War, Robert Loraine, above, flew with the Royal Flying Corps.
  • His diary is cited by the Oxford English Dictionary as the first written example of the word ‘joystick’ to describe aircraft stick controls.
  • He was the first person to fly from England to Ireland in 1910, although he crashed into the sea and had to swim the last 50 metres.
  • He was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry and skill in shooting down an Albatross biplane in October 1915.
  • In April 1916, he was promoted to command a squadron, and in 1917 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
  • He was twice seriously wounded and on one flight was shot in the back but still managed to land his plane.
  • The father-of-three, who was born on the Wirral, Merseyside, left the air force due to ill health and after the war starred in films and Broadway shows.
  • He died aged 59 in 1935.