Photograph of Sir Benjamin Stone
Sir (John) Benjamin Stone (1838-1914) was the son of a glass manufacturer and succeeded to the business upon his father's death. He was an active member of the local Conservative party in Birmingham, a key centre for politics at the time. Stone was knighted in 1892 before he became MP for East Birmingham between 1895 and 1910. A keen philanthropist, he was also a prolific amateur documentary photographer who travelled widely in pursuit of his hobby. In 1897, Stone set up the National Photographic Record Association (NPRA), whose aim it was to record historical buildings and traditional customs for the future. Although not an active speaker in the House of Commons, Stone became a known figure for recording many British customs, Parliament and Parliamentarians, Westminster Abbey and royal palaces. Following his photographs of the coronations of Edward VI and George V he also became known as a royal photographer.