Thomas Colledge

Thomas Hughes Milner Colledge (1861 – 1954)

T.H.M. Colledge was a photographer based in Innerleithen from the 1890s until 1940. He was born in Edinburgh but following the death of his father in the 1870s his mother moved the family to live in Selkirk. There, Colledge was employed by Selkirk photographer A.R. Edwards, who has left many images of Borders scenes, including a photograph of the pre-1896 pavilion at St. Ronan’s Wells.

Colledge started up on his own account and married Agnes Brown in 1893 in Edinburgh. He set up business in Chapel Street, Innerleithen, but continued to live in Selkirk until his family – wife, two girls and a boy – moved to Innerleithen around 1900. After a spell in Miller Street, they later took up residence in 5 Sandridge Terrace close to his studio, a substantial and well equipped wooden building just across the road from the Traquair Arms. [The corner of the studio can just be seen on the extreme left of the picture of the 1907 Games Saturday Parade]. Many of his photographs became postcards, many, regrettably, with his trademark “T.H.M.C.” signature either covered or cropped out.

Much of Colledge’s income would have come from the sale of individual and group photographs taken in his studio. He advertised annually during November and December in the St. Ronan’s Standard offering personalised Christmas cards for sale. He produced group photographs of the Games Week principals up to the outbreak of World War Two and many of his pictures of the Saturday morning parades survive. He photographed public events such as the proclamation of George V as king and the unveiling of the Burns Tablet at 12 High Street.

Colledge was a very skilled photographer, winning many prizes for his work and coming a creditable sixth in a worldwide competition in 1908. He had the knack of taking his outdoor shots in the best possible light and his imaging was razor sharp. He was resourceful, too, having a scaffolding erected in front of St.Ronan’s Wells (the ground dips sharply at the front of the building) in order to photograph the guests at the opening of the new pavilion and bottling plant in September 1896 [the photograph of the Wells is one of several he took].

Thomas Colledge and his wife moved to Glasgow to be near his elder daughter, Lizzie, in 1940. He died on July 14th, 1954 aged 93 years.

Thanks are due to Robert Smail’s Printing Works for information about Colledge. Archivists here and with Innerleithen Community Trust are keen to add to their collections of digital copies of Colledge photographs. If anyone has prints they would allow us to scan please get in touch.

St. Ronan's Wells taken by Colledge in 1896