Stonehenge: 1875 Snap Could Be Oldest Family Picture Ever Taken At Ancient Monument

Dressed in their Sunday best, this picture of a family at Stonehenge is thought to have been taken in 1875 (Photo: The Routh family/English Heritage)

This could be the earliest family photograph taken at Stonehenge

Showing a family dressed in their finery, variously in a horse-drawn carriage and sitting on the stones with a picnic rug and what appears to be a bottle of champagne, the snaps are believed to have been taken in 1875. 

“They’re wearing fashionable outfits and hats,” said English Heritage historian Susan Greaney.

“Right up until the 1920s and ’30s people did dress up for days out like this, in their Sunday best, suits and hats.”

The pictures will feature with more than 140 others in the exhibition Your Stonehenge, which marks 100 years of public ownership of the prehistoric monument. 

Sitting on the Stonehenge stones is now only allowed on special occasions  (Photo: The Routh family/English Heritage)

Famous photographer Martin Parr took the newest image in the exhibition – an unknown couple kissing while taking a selfie against the backdrop of the stones during the 2019 Autumn Equinox.

“The exhibition shows how photography has changed – the rise of the selfie stick and the smartphone and how taking a photograph is a very different thing now,” curator Greaney said.

“The way that people pose – people’s faces have got closer to the camera until they are taking a picture of themselves more than they are of Stonehenge,” she said.

This is the newest image in the exhibition,  an unknown couple kissing while taking a selfie against the backdrop of the stones during the 2019 Autumn Equinox (Photo: PA )

Of the possibility of finding an older family photograph, she said: “It would be quite nice if somebody comes forward and says ‘We’ve got an earlier one’.”

Ten photographs in the exhibition have been selected by Parr, who wants to track down the pair in the selfie.

The earliest known photograph of Stonehenge, not featuring a family, is thought to date back 22 years earlier.

Your Stonehenge – 150 Years Of Personal Photos runs from December 12 2019 to late August 2020 at Stonehenge.


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