We used our iPhone to take photos at Lacock.

It was a particularly apt thing to do, because this beautiful village – in the English county of Wiltshire – is said to be the official birthplace of photography.

In 1835, Lacock resident and scientist, William Henry Fox Talbot, created the world’s first photographic negative using a camera. The negative was not much bigger than a postage stamp.

Now, about 180 years later, we were taking photographs in the same place – without even needing a dedicated camera.

How things change!


Fox Talbot’s discovery is one of the reasons that visitors find their way to Lacock.

His former home, Lacock Abbey, now contains a museum devoted to the history of photography.

The museum tells how Fox Talbot – frustrated that the could neither paint nor draw – became determined to ‘fix’ images on paper. After experiments, he took an image of a window in his home – the first negative.

And, in doing so, he changed the way we would see the world.


National Trust image/Arnhel de Serra


Although it is fascinating and well worth of look, the museum is far from the only reason to visit Lacock, a medieval wool village in the delightful Southern Cotswolds, about 30 minutes drive from the grand English city of Bath.

Lacock is the quintessential English village and dates from the 13th Century.

Visiting is like taking a step back in time, with many lime washed, half-timbered and stone cottages.

Most of Lacock is owned by the National Trust and is beautifully preserved.


We stopped for a meal and a pint at The George Inn, which dates to about 1361, before taking a look at Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot’s old home and one of the few intact medieval abbeys in England.


Founded in 1232 and converted into a country house in about 1540, the Abbey features medieval cloisters; a sacristy; chapel; and monastic rooms.

As well as 800 years of history, the Abbey also boasts extensive grounds and gardens that are ideal for a relaxing wander.


It’s also easy to see why Lacock village is such a favourite with film and TV producers.

Its picturesque streets and historic cottages, largely untouched by modern alterations, have appeared in the likes of ‘Downton Abbey’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and the films ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ and ‘Wolfman’.

Main image of Fox Talbot courtesy of The National Trust and Nick Carter.

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