||Photographic Memories of the Lake District presents itself as a knowledgeable guide, familiar with the local figures, historical debates, and economic conditions of the Lake District. This framing mimics the role that photographer Francis Frith (and later his sons) played as he traveled through the Lake District for decades, chronicling the area and its residents in the photographs that make up this text. Compiled exclusively from the extensive Frith archive, the photographs in Photographic Memories are framed with informative captions including local history and a commentary on daily life at various stages of the area’s history. Through text and images, Photographic Memories calls attention to shifts in building and development, industrial history, and social makeup over the past hundred and fifty years. One of the most significant of these developments, according to the text, is the development of the railway system. Photographic Memories illustrates the shift from the use of railway for transporting industrial materials to later facilitating the tourism industry.
The tone of this text is often unabashedly romantic and celebratory, with and the text emphasizing the beauty and uniqueness of the area and William Wordsworth’s significance to its identity. There are a number small typos and typesetting errors visible throughout. Photographic Memories of the Lake District is nevertheless useful for illustrating the visual changes that economic and industrial history contributed to the material space of the Lake District over time. The text is relevant in that it considers the Lake District not only in terms of aesthetic qualities and historical figures, but also its relationship to industry (steel, iron, mining; factories, trading, and commerce, fishing) and the way these industries generally give way to its later industry of tourism. In this way, it explains why the rail paths work the way they do.
There are some annotations, handwritten in ink, that are unique to this copy. Next to the description attending to "Highgate, Kendal, 1914" ("These yards and passages, now peaceful backwaters with charming stone cottages, were designed to be closed off if an invasion was threatened" on page 10, someone has written "Rubbish!" in black ink. This pattern repeats on page 12. In red ink, a question mark and an arrow point to that annotation. On page 15, in response to the text's description of Wray Castle as a "modern ruin", someone has drawn a line and written "not a ruin" in ink. On page 24, the entry titled "The lane to the church, Hawkshead in 1892" is crossed out, in pen, with two diagonal lines and the note "Not Hawkshead". On Page 40, the text for "Right: Village, Penrith in 1893" is also crossed out, in black. In red ink, with an arrow pointing to the photograph, "This is not Penrith". On page 72, there is a (red ink) question mark written in next to the description of "Walney Bridge, Barrow-in-Furness in 1908". On page 84, someone has written in "Rubbish" next to the description of "New Market Street, Ulverstone in 1912" that reads "It looks as if they have taken over an older factory that did not prosper for long: above the windows is a sign saying 'Imperial Works 1887'."