Birmingham Archives & Heritage holds a vast collection of photographs by Sir Benjamin Stone, many of which feature children. Stone was born in Aston in 1838 and attended King Edward’s School, New Street. He became director of his father’s glass manufacturing business and then a town councillor representing Duddeston Ward from 1869 until 1878. He was Sutton Coldfield’s first mayor from 1886-1890 and was elected Member of Parliament for East Birmingham in 1895, holding the seat until his retirement in 1910. Stone died in 1914.
The following extract comes from www.birmingham.gov.uk/benjaminstone
Stone’s considerable income enabled him to travel extensively in Britain and abroad, at a time when foreign travel was still very much the prerogative of the rich. He was in great demand as a lecturer, and began to collect photographs in order to illustrate his lectures and travel books. Dissatisfied with the quality of many of the commercial prints he purchased, Stone decided to master the art of photography himself, employing two men full-time at his house in Erdington, The Grange, to develop and print his plates. Benjamin Stone was one of the first photographers to switch from wet to dry plates, obviating the need to develop the plates on the spot as soon as they had been exposed.