Christina (Livingston) Broom (1862-1939) was born in London to Scottish parents, the seventh of eight children. In 1889 she married Albert Edward Broom (1864–1912), and in 1903 her daughter Winifred was born. When her family’s ironmongery business failed in 1903, she borrowed a Kodak box camera and taught herself the rudiments of photography. After learning to make real photo postcards, she set up a stall in the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, which she operated between 1904 and 1930. Early on, she used the coal cellar of her residence on Burnfoot Avenue as her dark room. Her daughter Winifred worked as her assistant, and her husband Albert wrote the captions for the postcards in his neat script. The postcards sold well: in one night-time session Broom reportedly printed 1000.
Broom was appointed official photographer to the Household Division from 1904 to 1939 and had a darkroom in the Chelsea Barracks. She photographed local scenes, including those at Buckingham Palace, as well as military parades and suffragette marches. After Albert’s death in 1912, Christina and Winifred moved to Munster Road, Fulham, and Christina took the professional name of Mrs. Albert Broom. In the 1920s and 1930s her work was featured in publications such as the Illustrated London News, The Tatler, The Sphere, and Country Life. Today, Christina Broom is credited as the first woman press photographer in the United Kingdom.
Photographs by Christina Broom