Green, William Alfred (1870-1958)


Born 10 Jan 1870, Newry, Co. Down, only child of Thomas and Eliza Green. After completing his education at Friends’ School, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, he served as an apprentice under his uncle, the Belfast tea merchant and wholesaler, Forster Green. In 1895, he became a member of the Belfast Naturalists Field Club, which was to have a lifelong influence on him and out of which he gradually became involved in his chosen career as a professional photographer. It is unclear when Green officially set up in business, but as the majority of his photographs date increasingly from 1900, it is safe to presume his career commenced around this time. He specialised in landscape and scientific photography, styling himself as a "Legal and Scientific Photographer" from at least 1920. His work ranged from lantern slides for educational purposes to photographs for postcards, advertisements and book illustrations, but was also particularly interested in recording agricultural practices and folk customs. He is most notably famed for his studies of the Toome farmers of Co. Antrim, recording a unique and valuable series of the traditional hand methods used in the Irish linen trade. Married Mary C. Shemald of Portadown in 1903 with whom he had one son, Edmund (1903-1921). In 1910 acquired a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. d. 25 Mar 1958, Massereene Hospital, Co. Antrim. Buried Friends’ Burying Ground, Balmoral, Belfast. Source: "William Alfred Green FRSAI: The man and his photographs," T.K. Anderson in Ulster Local Studies, Volume 13, No. 2, Winter 1991.