Fred Little was born in the Easton area of Bristol in 1874. Information is scarce about his early years, but by 1896 Fred was working as a newsagent and stationer in premises on Narrow Wine Street, soon afterwards he started selling photographic supplies. In 1903 Fred married Florence and they had two children – Frederick William in 1904 and Lillian Mary in 1909. In his business life Fred worked closely with his brother Arthur, who was four years his junior. Arthur dealt in antiques and also had premises on Narrow Wine Street. No doubt many of the paintings, sketches, engravings and early photographs that Fred copied and issued as postcards would have come from his brother's stock.
In 1899 Fred and Arthur self-published ‘A History of St Peter’s Church, (City) Bristol’. Arthur worked as a clerk at the church and, although the booklet does not contain any of Fred’s photographs it refers to objects and locations that appear in later postcards. It’s a dry and rather academic account, but the introduction contains some marvellously romantic prose, very much in keeping with what we know of Fred’s character.
"It is impossible, in comtemplating the history of the fabric, to avoid associating in the mind its connection with the formidable castle, by which it was immediately overlooked; around it must have passed revolting scenes of violence, when infuriated men, engaged in mortal conflict, have steeped its foundation with their gore, and shrieks of agony thrilled through its aisles and were echoed and reverberated through its dreary vaults."
It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact dates that Fred Little was working as a photographer. Previously, his career was thought to have spanned 1905-1921 (based on trade listings in 'Wrights Bristol Directory'). Unverified postcard evidence also suggests photographic work after 1921. However, as the 1901 census return lists Fred’s sole occupation as Photographer, it’s fair to assume that 1901–1921 covers his main photographic career. These dates will be amended accordingly if new evidence arises.