From Niagara Falls to San Francisco BEFORE the Golden Gate Bridge: Globetrotting Victorian aristocrat’s album of photos from the 1870s is set to fetch up to £7,000 at auction

  • The images were taken by Sir Arthur Hobhouse during trips with his wife 
  • Album also features photos of Washington, with Capitol Building in background 

A globetrotting Victorian aristocrat’s photo album of an underdeveloped world on the cusp of dramatic change has come to light.

Sir Arthur Hobhouse and his wife travelled across North America and China en route to his posting in India in the 1870s, when the British Empire was at its peak.

He took with him his camera and documented the places the couple visited.

In North America, Hobhouse took pictures of places including Niagara Falls, a ruined Quebec city in 1876 after a devastating fire and a packed ice-skating hall in Montreal. 

There are also early snaps of Washington DC, Yosemite National Park and San Fransciso before the Golden Gate Bridge was built.

A globetrotting Victorian aristocrat’s photo album of an underdeveloped world on the cusp of dramatic change has come to light. Sir Arthur Hobhouse and his wife took the opportunity to travel across North America and China en route to his posting in India in the 1870s, when the British Empire was at its peak. Above: Niagara Falls

The couple spent time in San Francisco on the West Coast, taking this picture of the Golden Gate strait before the bridge was built

The couple spent time in San Francisco on the West Coast, taking this picture of the Golden Gate strait before the bridge was built

Also among the 69 black and white prints in the album is a striking double-page view of Hong Kong.

Even though it was regarded as a bustling harbour in the early 1870s, it is a world away from the skyscraper-filled financial metropolis it has become.

Still in Hong Kong, the British couple took time to visit its famous Happy Valley racecourse when it had just a few shed-like structures to house spectators.

Today it boasts seven-storey stands with executive bopxes that can accommodate 55,000 racegoers.

Also among the 69 black and white prints in the album is a striking double-page view of Hong Kong (above)

Also among the 69 black and white prints in the album is a striking double-page view of Hong Kong (above)

Even though it was regarded as a bustling harbour in the early 1870s, it is a world away from the skyscraper-filled financial metropolis it has become

Even though it was regarded as a bustling harbour in the early 1870s, it is a world away from the skyscraper-filled financial metropolis it has become 

A single hut can be seen in this stunning image taken by Hobhouse at the famous Garden of the Gods - named for its rock formations - in Colorado Springs

A single hut can be seen in this stunning image taken by Hobhouse at the famous Garden of the Gods – named for its rock formations – in Colorado Springs

Hobhouse and his wife also visited Washington. The Capitol can be seen above, with the city's skyline then largely unobscured by tall buildings

Hobhouse and his wife also visited Washington. The Capitol can be seen above, with the city’s skyline then largely unobscured by tall buildings

Another image reveals the devastating damage done to a city in Quebec after a fire in 1876

Another image reveals the devastating damage done to a city in Quebec after a fire in 1876 

The album, titled America & China, has remained in the Hobhouse family ever since it was compiled.

It is now coming up for sale at Forum Auctions of London for an estimated £7,000.

Max Hasler, of Forum Auctions, said: ‘It is a fascinating album and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes for a bit more.

‘Big double page views of Hong Kong harbour before it was developed are particularly prized at the moment. 

Sir Arthur Hobhouse is seen above in his 80s. Hobhouse was a lawyer who in the 1870s was appointed as a law member of the council of the Governor-General of India

Sir Arthur Hobhouse is seen above in his 80s. Hobhouse was a lawyer who in the 1870s was appointed as a law member of the council of the Governor-General of India

Still in Hong Kong, the British couple took time to visit its famous Happy Valley racecourse when it had just a few shed-like structures to house spectators

Still in Hong Kong, the British couple took time to visit its famous Happy Valley racecourse when it had just a few shed-like structures to house spectators

Hobhouse and his wife also went to a ball on ice when they were enjoying themselves in Montreal

Hobhouse and his wife also went to a ball on ice when they were enjoying themselves in Montreal

The couple also visited China in their journey around the globe. Above: A bridge stretches across a river in China, as small wooden boats are seen lined up on the water

The couple also visited China in their journey around the globe. Above: A bridge stretches across a river in China, as small wooden boats are seen lined up on the water

Montreal, in Canada's Quebec region, is seen above in another image from Hobhouse's archive

Montreal, in Canada’s Quebec region, is seen above in another image from Hobhouse’s archive

‘This one is an amazing snapshot of the city as it was before it underwent radical change.

‘The image of the racecourse is interesting because you get the exact same view of it today but with a totally different backdrop.

‘It is unusual to see so many photos across the world on the same trip from this time. It is really lovely in terms of its scope.

‘Not many people would have had the means and the wherewithal to do a world tour at the point that many parts of the world were on the cusp of great change.

‘Sir Arthur was an important figure in the British Empire and at this same time was at its peak before its decline.’

Sir Arthur Hobhouse, from Somerset, was a lawyer who in the 1870s was appointed as a law member of the council of the Governor-General of India.

The album will be sold on Thursday.

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