Former Queens’ School pupil Michael Pritchard of Anglian Close, Watford, has been awarded the UK’s first doctorate in History of Photography from De Montfort University, Leicester.

His thesis examined the growth of British photographic manufacturing and retailing between 1839 and 1914.

Michael attended Knutsford School before moving to Queens’ in Bushey between 1976 and 1983.

He also worked at Greville Studios in Queen’s Road and curated the studio collection of historical cameras.

After university in Hull he worked as a photographic specialist at Christie’s until 2007 becoming a director and auctioneering before starting his studies.

He is a volunteer at Bushey Museum and has photographed much of the museum’s picture collection and exhibits for more than 20 years.

He said: “It was a tough decision to leave a full-time job at Christie’s but the opportunity to study a subject I am passionate about was too good to miss.

”It was a real privilege to spend three years back at university undertaking research.

My work has discovered a business and economic history of photographic that had been previously ignored and I hope to produce a book detailing my findings.

“ My early study at Queens’ developed my love of history and working at Grevilles made me appreciate photography and photographic history - all of which fed into my Ph.”

He has now been appointed Director-General of the Royal Photographic Society and will be leaving Watford to take up the post in Bath in mid-September.