National Portrait Gallery


The National Portrait Gallery have published research titled: British picture framemakers, 1600-1950. Amongst their research we see some information on the Binning's family business I have reproduced it's text below. The full site is at: National Portrait Gallery

**Frank Binning 1858-1878, Francis Binning 1879-1909, H. & E. Binning 1909-1910, Ernest Binning 1912-1940, Harry E. Binning 1946-1949, Bloomsbury Frame Works & Repairers (H.E. Binning) 1950-2005. At 9 Hyde St, Bloomsbury, London WC 1858-1860, 83 Theobald’s Road, WC 1861-1879, also 84 Theobald’s Road from 1876, road renumbered 1879, 118 Theobald’s Road 1880-1885, 120 Theobald’s Road 1884, road renumbered 1885, 130 Theobald’s Road 1886-1939, 62 Lamb’s Conduit St 1946-2005, 57 Exmouth St 1890-1895 as carver and gilder. Composition ornament and picture and glass frame manufacturers.

The interest of the Binning family business lies in its exceptional longevity over four generations in the specialist business of producing composition ornament for picture and looking glass frames. The late 1930s trade card of H.E. Binning, picture framemaker of 130-2 Theobald’s Road, gives 1837 as the year the business was established (repr. Alabone & Johnson, fig.4, see Sources below). However, the founder of the business, Francis Binning, is not known to have traded independently before 1858. He lived on the premises in Theobald’s Road at least from 1871 to 1901 and is described as an employer in 1901. His son Frank Binning lived in Exmouth St at least from 1895 to 1908 and in 1911 was described as a worker. Confusingly, the father Francis was sometimes named as Frank, and the son Frank sometimes as Francis. The evidence is incomplete but it would seem that the father traded in Theobald’s Road as Frank Binning until 1878, and then as Francis Binning until his death in 1909. The family had interests in nearby Exmouth St, where the business was listed in directories at no.60, 1863-5 (see Alabone & Johnson p.25), and at no.57 as carvers and gilders, 1890-5. Perhaps the son ran the Exmouth St workshop, since he is recorded as living there. Father and son apparently worked closely together.

The business remained in the hands of the Binning family until 2005 when, at the death of Peter Binning, it was incorporated into Joseph McCarthy, of Tunbridge Wells. The following account is indebted to the research of Gerry Alabone and Alastair Johnson.

The first generation: Francis Binning (c.1822-1909) married Sophia Edwards at Trinity Church, Marylebone, in 1853, when he was recorded as a joiner living in Norton St, the son of the late Richard Binning, a servant. He can be traced in census records, in 1861 as Frank Binning and there after as Francis Binning. In more detail: in 1861 at 52 Devonshire St, Finsbury, as a composition ornament and framemaker, age 35, born parish of St George Hanover Square, with his wife Sophia, age 30, born Winchester, a daughter Sophia, age 6, and son Frank J., age 4, both born in St Pancras. In 1871 at 84 Theobald’s Road, now a widower, as a glass and picture framemaker employing six men and two boys, with two sons Frank J., age 14, and Albert E., age 10. In 1891 at 132 Theobald’s Road as a picture framemaker, age 65, with his son Harry, age 18, as an assistant and three younger children. In 1901 at 130-2 Theobald’s Road as a picture framemaker and employer, age 70, with five sons and daughters given as workers in picture framing, namely Albert, age 41, Harry, age 28, Ernest, age 23, Alice, age 25, and Mary, age 20.

‘F. Binning’ advertised in the 1880s as a composition ornament, glass and picture frame, cornice, table and tripod stand manufacturer, also offering to supply work in any state to upholsterers and the trade (trade card, repr. Alabone & Johnson, fig.2). A view of his premises at 130 Theobald’s Road shows more than a dozen staff standing outside the shop (Alabone & Johnson, fig.3). At one stage or another, the Binning family used the adjoining premises at 132 Theobald’s Road as a newsagent and as a confectioner.

Francis Edward Binning died age 86 in the Holborn district in 1909. At his death in 1909, the business passed to his sons, Harry and Ernest.

The second generation: Four of Francis Binning’s sons were active in picture framing. The eldest, Frank John Binning (1857-1920), was born in St Pancras in 1857 and married Susan Bowers in the same district in 1876, when described as a carpenter, the son of Frank Binning, similarly described as a carpenter. He died age 63 in the Islington district in 1920. In census records, he was recorded as Frank J. Binning, except in 1901 when he appeared as Francis J. Binning; he was variously described as a picture frame maker or picture frame joiner. In 1861 and 1871 he was living with his father (see above), in 1881 at 21 Harrison St, St Pancras, age 24, with his wife Susan, 23, and two young daughters, Kate and Alice, in 1891 and 1901 at 57 Exmouth St with his wife and eight children, aged between 2 and 24, and in 1911 at 13 Hanover St, Islington, with his wife and four daughters, all described as bookfolders. He was living at 57 Exmouth St from at least 1891 to 1908, and at 18 Hanover St in 1915, according to the electoral roll.

The second son, Albert Edward Binning (1862-1924?) was born in the Holborn district in 1862. He can be found in the 1871 and 1901 censuses living at his father’s, and in 1911 as a picture framemaker and worker, living at 19 Whitfield Place, off Tottenham Court Road. He appears to be the individual who died age 63 in the St Giles district in 1924.

The third son, Harry Binning (1872-1910) can be found in the 1891 and 1901 censuses at his father’s. He died in September 1910 at the age of 38, just a year after his father, leaving effects worth £691.

The fourth son, Ernest Binning (c.1878-1960), has not been traced in birth registers for his presumed year of birth, 1878. He can be found in the 1891 and 1901 censuses at his father’s, and in 1911 as a picture framemaker and employer, age 33, with his wife Maud and two-month-old son, Harry Ernest. Following his father’s death in 1909, Ernest traded initially with his brother Harry as H. & E. Binning (trade card, repr. Alabone and Johnson, fig.4), until his brother’s untimely death the following year. He then continued under his own name, with 17 employees in the business in 1913. He died in the Shoreditch district, age 82, in 1960.

The third generation: Ernest’s son, Harry Ernest ‘nonty’ Binning (1911-1990), was born in the Holborn district in 1911 and married Betty McGrath in the same district in 1932. They had children Bryan in 1933 and Peter in 1937, both born in the Holborn district. Harry Binning started running the business before the Second World War and continued working in the shop until his death in 1990, as Gerry Alabone has traced.

The fourth generation: Peter Binning (1936-2005), nonty’s son, was born on 29 December 1936 and his birth registered in the Holborn district in 1937. Bryan M. Binning was born in the Holborn district in 1933. Following Peter's death in 2005 the moulds used by the Binning family were acquired by his long-time customer, Joseph McCarthy, and are now owned and used by Joseph McCarthy (Fine Frames) Ltd, 68 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 5TN (see the website, Joseph McCarthy - Craftsman Built Frames - Bloomsbury Collection). However, little of the business’s records appear to survive other than a few trade cards and photographs.

Sources: Gerry Alabone and Alastair Johnson, ‘Introducing the Bloomsbury Frameworks Project’, in Ed Gregory (ed.), Postprints from the David Harris Conservation Conference, 30 March 2007, privately distributed, c.2007, pp.24-8.