Half Plate Camera

Half Plate Camera

a?|used for the weddings and portrait worka?|

This camera belonged to Charles Herbert Marshall who owned a photography business in Waterlooville, Havant, in the first half of the twentieth century. He had left school aged 14 and was apprenticed to the village chemist. He opened his first studio in London Road, Waterlooville in 1901 when he was only 21, and later branched out to become a supplier of photographic materials, including roll film for the popular Kodak Box Brownie camera.

Half plate cameras were semi-portable. They produced images on dry glass plates, allowing the photographer to take pictures outside of the studio; and they were relatively small because the bellows could fold up. However they still needed to be used on a tripod and the photographer had to be very skilled to take a good photograph. This was one of the cameras Charles Herbert Marshall used for the weddings and portrait work which provided his main source of income.

Despite the arrival of low cost and easy photography with the Box Brownies, plate cameras still offered higher-quality prints and remained popular well into the 20th century.

Quick Facts

  • Made during the period 1880-1920
  • Made from wood and brass with leather bellows
  • Owned by Charles Herbert Marshall of Waterlooville
  • Used for weddings and portrait work
  • Accession number SH1989.40.1


  • Charles Herbert Marshall also took many photographs of the local countryside leaving us with a vivid record of rural life in Waterlooville in the years before the First World War. Many of these photographs were taken with the newly invented Kodak box camera and roll film.


360 degree rotation of Half Plate Camera

Fact Sheets

Take a look at some of the images taken by Charles Herbert Marshall

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