COULD these be the first selfies ever taken?

These rare self portraits of St Helens photographer Albert William 'Willie' Wade were given to St Helens Historical Society by Fred Henry, of Brading.

Taken in 1911, one of the pictures is attached to a postcard on which the photographer explained how he took the picture.

Willie Wade wrote: "Myself taken by myself in the following manner: first, I focused up for the table and chair, I then uncapped the lens, took up my position in the chair, kept still for two-and-a-quarter minutes and then replaced the cap.

"My watch was placed behind the frame with the kittens on and I gave an occasional glance at it."

Chair of St Helens Historical Society, Barbara Dyer, said: "Is this the first selfie ever in 1911? What an amazing man Willie was.

"Thanks Fred so much — he thought the photo should come home to St Helens. What a kind and generous man."

The other photo shows the shed where Willie Wade did his developing in his garden.