yeovil trades & traders

Yeovil's Photographers

The Victorian craze comes to Yeovil

 

 

Introduction

 

The 1850s saw the introduction of the photographic studio in England, when the new 'science' of photography meant that a 'likeness' became affordable for the masses. As with other towns, Yeovil saw its fair share of photographic artists setting up studios and this page is a synopsis of the known early photographers in Yeovil, many of whom have their own pages on this website.

Initially, in the 1850s, temporary photographic studios would be set up in shops in the town by visiting professional photographers and several are noted below.

 

An advertisement for a temporary photographic studio for an un-named photographer from the Sherborne Mercury's edition of 26 August 1856.

 

Many advertisements by photographers refer to a 'glass chamber' - this was simply a photographic studio with as much natural light as possible, gained by having large windows and a glazed roof, as here. Note the two reflectors at right

 

Later, mobile photographic studios and darkrooms appeared. It was likely that various photographers, such as Adam Gosney, who set up various studios in various towns and villages, would have used a similar portable set-up.

 

As an example of the cost of a photograph - the visit to the photographer's studio was generally free and the following list of prices, from John Bell of Hendford in 1896, are typical -

  • Cartes de visite - 12 copies from 7 shillings (about £35 at today's value)
  • Cartes de visite - 6 copies from 4 shillings
  • Cartes de visite - 3 copies from 2s 6d
  • Re-orders - 6d each, any number
  • Cabinet Cards - 12 copies from 12 shillings
  • Cabinet Cards - 6 copies from 7s 6d
  • Cabinet Cards - 3 copies from 4s 6d
  • Re-orders - 1s each, any number

Cartes de visite were introduced in Britain in 1859 and became a relatively cheap way for almost anyone to have their photograph taken. Cartes de visite (also known as cartes or CDVs), are small paper-on-card photographs. They typically measure 4" x 2½" (102mm x 62mm) and the photograph which was pasted on to the card was roughly cut to about 3½" x 2¼" (90mm x 57mm). They were never actually used as visiting cards. For one of the very earliest of Yeovil's CDVs, see John Swatridge below.

Cabinet cards were introduced in 1866 but did not really become popular until the late 1880s and 1890s. Cabinet cards were the larger version of the carte de visite and customers were often sold the same photo in both sizes. Cabinet cards measure 16.5 x 10.5cm and usually have the studio name and address printed at the bottom. The cabinet card persisted until about 1910 by which time it had been replaced by the much cheaper postcard format.


Both from my collection

At left is a carte de visite by John Chaffin & Sons, at right a cabinet card by John Bell, both date to the 1890s and are reproduced here about actual size.

 


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Visiting Professional Photographers

 

Thomas Sharp


   

Thomas Sharp (1806-1896) 'of London' (see advertisement below) is thought to have been the first professional photographer to visit Yeovil with a temporary photographic studio set up in Reckleford (today's Market Street) for a short six-month season in 1847.

Thomas Sharp was born in Cheapside, London, on 18 August 1806 and baptised on 15 February 1807 at St Lawrence Jewry & St Mary Magdalene, Milk Street, London. A very early pioneer of photography, he purchased a licence permitting him to take daguerreotype portraits in parts of Somerset and established the first photographic studio in Bath by November 1841. Leaving Bath in 1843, he went to London to work with either Beard or Claudet.

By 1846, again working independently, he set up a portable photographic studio  at Weston-super-Mare. In 1847 he had a brief sojourn in Yeovil,  he travelled throughout the West Country setting up short-term studios, variously in Torquay, Exmouth, Weymouth and Dorchester. He sold his portable studio in 1853.

The only references to him in Yeovil are from the Western Flying Post reproduced here.

 

 


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John Eastham


   

John Eastham was born around 1821 at Samlesbury, near Blackburn, Lancashire. He was initially a book-keeper in Blackburn but then traded as a coal merchant. Selling the coal business, he set up as a photographic artist, possibly in conjunction with his younger brother Silas who had a daguerreotype business in Preston, Lancashire.

John worked as a photographer travelling to Bradford in 1849, Worcester in 1851 (where he was assisted by his youngest brother Enos). He then travelled to Malvern and then Taunton in 1852. He returned to Taunton in 1853, staying at 2 Hammet Street.

He was possibly the second professional photographer to visit Yeovil, with a temporary photographic studio set up in Raymond's gent's outfitters in Middle Street. The only references to him in Yeovil are from the Western Gazette's edition of 5 April 1853 and the 12 April 1853 edition of the Sherborne Mercury reproduced here.

 

Advertisement from the Western Gazette's edition of 5 April 1853.

 

Advertisement from the Sherborne Mercury's edition of 12 April 1853.

 


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John Shattock Clift


   

John Shattock Clift was another professional photographer to visit Yeovil.

John Shattock Clift was born in Spaxton, Somerset, in 1820. He was the third of the five children of labourer George Spaxton (1791-1879) and Sarah née Dibble (1791-1869). John was baptised at Spaxton on 20 March 1820. In the 1851 census he was listed in Bridge Street, Taunton, and gave his occupation as a master confectioner.

In 1855 he visited Yeovil for a brief period with a temporary photographic studio set up in Mrs Cox's premises in South Street.

By the time of the 1861 census he was lodging at 12 Boyces Street, Brighton, where he gave his occupation as an 'Artist in Photography'. He was listed as a photographer at Cherry Grove, Rowbarton, Taunton, in 1871 but by 1881, 61-year old Clift was working as a botanical compounder at 53 Glatney Esplanade, St Peter Port, Guernsey.

The only reference to him in Yeovil is from the Western Flying Post of 24 July 1855 reproduced here.

 

 


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Philip Monson


   

Philip Monson was another visiting professional photographer in Yeovil with a photographic studio in Princes Street during the mid-1850s.

Philip Monson was born on 6 June 1828 in Colchester, Essex, the son of gardener James and Susannah Munson. He was baptised on 12 April 1829 at the Lion Walk Meeting House (Independent), Colchester. In the 1851 census Monson was recorded as an artist portrait painter at 5 Chapel Terrace, Wolverhampton.

Philip had three brothers, Edward (b1822), Benjamin (b1824) and Charles (b1830). All four brothers would eventually all be connected with photography.

Early in 1855 Philip was practising on his own in Bedford, where he was using a camera capable of producing large format daguerreotypes. Later in 1855 he went to Reading and Winchester and in 1856 he is known to have worked in Salisbury and Yeovil.

The advertisement below is from the Western Gazette's edition of 26 August 1856. Monson left Yeovil in late October 1856, emigrating to Canada around 1859-60.

 

 


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Mr M Brown


   

Mr M Brown was another professional photographer to visit Yeovil with a temporary photographic studio set up in Perry's Hotel in South Street during the summer of 1856. Mr Perry was, in fact, John Perry the technical blacksmith and temperance hotelier photographed around 1858 by John Swatridge (see below).

By August 1856 Brown had removed to Newton Abbot where he set up a photographic studio in Station Road. Philip Pethick Perry, the son of John Perry, was trained by Brown during his visit to Yeovil and took over the photographic portrait rooms at his father's hotel when vacated by Brown.

The advertisement below was placed in the Western Flying Post from April to June 1856.

 

 


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Henry & Jonas Walter


   

Probably among the last of the visiting professional photographers since by now there were several locally established photographers, H&J Walter of Oxford Street, London, visited Yeovil with a temporary photographic studio in Mrs Hand's premises in Silver Street - the advertisement below is from the 26 June 1860 edition of the Western Flying Post. Mrs Hand was the widow of artist and photographer George Monck Hand.

Henry Walter was born in Hull, Yorkshire, in 1815 and his brother Jonas was born in Hull in 1818. Both brothers remained bachelors. In the 1851 census both brothers were lodging at the Fountain Inn, Southgate, Chichester and both gave their occupations as 'Artist and Profile Taker'.

Their advertisement for their 1860 visit to Yeovil gave their London studio address as 538 Oxford Street, London,

 

 


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Yeovil's Professional Photographers

 

John & Thomas Swatridge

 

It is probable that John Swatridge (1810-c1860s) and/or his son Thomas Sydenham Swatridge (1841-1909) were the first professional Yeovil photographers.

John Swatridge was a marble carver and gilder by trade and photography appears to have been a sideline although he is known to have had a photographic studio. His son, Thomas also became a professional photographer and eventually ran two photographic studios in London.

 


From my collection

One of the earliest of John Swatridge's cartes de visite, judging by the lady's costume, the lack of background or props, and the early style of the back, it dates to around 1859 - the year cartes de visite were first introduced into England.

Indeed, this is one of the very first cartes de visite to have appeared in Yeovil.

For John & Thomas Swatridge's webpage - click here.

 


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Philip Pethick Perry


   

Mr M Brown (see above) was a professional photographer who visited Yeovil with a temporary photographic studio set up in Perry's Temperance Hotel in South Street during the summer of 1856. By August 1856 Brown had left Yeovil, although during his sojourn in Yeovil he had trained John Perry's son, Philip, in the art of photography.

Philip Pethick Perry, born in 1837 in Sherborne, Dorset, was the son of technical blacksmith and temperance hotelier John Perry mentioned above. By trade Philip was a blacksmith like his father. Nevertheless, as seen from the advertisement below, after Brown had left Philip Perry advertised himself as a photographer at his father's hotel.

By 1861 however, Philip was boarding at 23 Oxford Street, Swindon, and was working as an engine fitter. By 1881 he was working as a surveyor in Fulham, London. He died on 5 September 1903 in a nursing home at Harrogate, Yorkshire.

None of Philip's photographic work is known.

 

This advertisement was placed in the Sherborne Mercury's edition of 12 August 1856.

 

This photograph features in my books 'Yeovil From Old Photographs' and 'Secret Yeovil'

This photograph of South Street was taken around the 1890's and shows the Globe and Crown at left, opposite is the Greyhound Hotel and next door to that was the Cow Inn. Just visible at the end of the street is the Three Choughs Hotel and the King's Arms. Between the Choughs and the Cow was the Market House Inn and three un-named beerhouses. Despite the huge number of pubs in this short run of South Street, the white building with the black porch left of centre was John Perry's Temperance Hotel.

 


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Henry Marsh Custard Jnr

 

One of the earliest of Yeovil's professional photographers was Henry Marsh Custard Jnr but it appears that he was only operating for a short period during 1856. Born in Yeovil on 8 August 1835 he was the son of Henry Marsh Custard, a bookseller, printer and stationer whose premises were on the corner of what is now Princes Street and Westminster Street. Henry Jnr clearly set up his photographic studio in his father's premises but this venture seems to have been only temporary. Henry Jnr became an artist and died in Rome on 12 April 1863 age 28.

 

Advertisement placed in the 1 July 1856 edition of the Western Flying Post.

 

Advertisement for Henry Custard Jnr's 'Photographic Institution' in the 2 December 1856 edition of the Western Flying Post. As a rough guide to costs at this time, five shillings would, at today's value, be equal to about £20 - so very early photography was not cheap for the consumer.

 

This photograph, one half of a stereoscopic pair, was taken around 1870 and looks down Hendford with High Street at extreme left. At right is Stuckey's Bank, facing High Street, and next to it (by the lamp-post) was Henry's photographic studio and his 'Photographic Institution'.

 

The grave of Henry Marsh Custard Jnr.

The headstone inscription reads "To the memory of H Marsh Custard, British Artist of Yeovil Somerset England who died April 12th 1863 aged 28 years".

The slab inscription reads "In sacred remembrance of Henry Marsh Custard of Yeovil Sumerset (sic) England. Born August 8th 1834 Died April 19th (sic) 1863. This tribute is placed to his beloved memory by his sorrowing Mary. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labours and their works do follow them".

 


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George Bartlett Coggan


   

George Bartlett Coggan was born in Aller, Somerset, in 1816. George was living in Curry Mallet with his parents and siblings in the 1841 census.

During the 1850s George became involved in the new art of photography but, once again, he seemed to move around a lot. He is known to have had a studio in Regent Street, London, before moving to Derby in 1857. It was probably around 1859 that he moved to Yeovil and set up a photographic studio - the carte de visite below is from this period when he had studios at Yeovil and Shepton Mallet. Interesting that he describes himself on the reverse of the CDV as "Artist, Dentist, &c".

For George Bartlett Coggan's webpage - click here

 


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Barnet and Isaac Giles


   

Barnet Giles was born in 1810 in Poland, most likely of Jewish descent. He married Ann (b1816, Poland) and their first child, John, was born in Poland in 1841. By 1844 the family had moved to England and in the 1851 census the family were living in Bridge Street, Wincanton. Barnet gave his occupation as a travelling tea dealer. By the 1861 census, the family had moved to Wincanton. Barnard gave his occupation as a jeweller and hawker, while his 14-year old son Isaac gave his occupation as a photographer.

By August 1861 the family had moved to Yeovil and 'B Giles & Son' were placing weekly advertisements for his jewellery business in Princes Street which also boasted a photographic department. Undoubtedly Barnet ran the jewellery side of the business, while Isaac managed the photographic side of the business. By the beginning of 1867 Isaac had removed to Bristol, where he set up as a jeweller at Temple Street. This, presumably, ended the photographic side of the business of B Giles & Son. In 1869 Barnet was declared bankrupt and it was probably this event that caused him to leave Yeovil.

None of their photographic work is known.

For Barnet and Isaac Giles' webpage - click here

 


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George Monck Hand


   

George Monck Hand was born in Southwark, Surrey, on 26 June 1828, the son of John Hand (1780-c1828), Captain of Marines, and Sophia Anne née Tracy (b1789). On 2 September 1857, at St John's church, Yeovil, George "of Chatham" married Sarah Leigh Rendall, only daughter of Giles Rendall, confectioner of Silver Street, and his wife Melina. By the time of the marriage Giles Rendell was deceased and Melina was running the confectionery shop next door to the Half Moon Inn.

It was in the confectionery shop that George Hand briefly set himself up as an artist and photographer. It appears that George split the confectionary shop into two separate premises. For his photographic studio, George erected a "large glass room attached to the premises".

George Monck Hand died on 19 May 1860 in the Silver Street premises. He was aged just 31. The following month Sarah let out his studio to probably the last of the visiting professional photographers, H&J Walter of Oxford Street, London.  

No examples of George Hand's photographic work have yet been discovered.

For George Monck Hand's webpage - click here

 


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George T Rawlins


   

George Monck Hand (see previous) died in 1860 and he had set up a photographic studio in Silver Street by converting his wife's parents' confectionery premises into two - his studio being in one part and the confectionery business in the other part. His wife continued the business after his death and the death of her parents, as noted in the 1871 census, but her husband's studio was apparently taken over by George T Rawlins.

George Rawlins (b1839), originally from Amesbury, Wiltshire, was listed as a photographer with his wife Clara and their three young children in the 1871 census. There is no further information on George or Clara either before or after 1871, he is not listed in any trade directories and no examples of his photographic work have yet been discovered.

 


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Henry Goodfellow 

 

Henry Goodfellow was an early professional photographer in Yeovil. He was born in Wincanton in 1810 and in the 1841 census Henry, a lifelong bachelor, was listed as an ironmonger. By 1851 he had moved to Bourton, near Gillingham, working as a clerk.

He is known to have been in Yeovil working as a photographer from 1867 and placed several advertisements in the Western Gazette regarding his new studios in Kingston, next door to the Red Lion Inn.

By 1871 he had moved to Brighton Place, Clevedon, again working as a photographer. He returned to Wincanton during the 1880s and died there in 1890 aged 80.

For Henry Goodfellow's webpage - click here

 


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Frederick Treble

 


            

Frederick Treble was born about 1832 in Paddington, London, the son of artist Benjamin Treble and his wife Eliza. In the 1841 the family were living in Finsbury. In 1856, in Coventry, Warwickshire, he married widow Elizabeth Wyndham, they were to have seven children. In 1857 he was made bankrupt.

He moved briefly to Salisbury in 1858, but by 1859 he was living in Yeovil working as an artist with John Swatridge (see above). In the 1861 census, Frederick gave his occupation as 'Artist in Painting, Practising Photography'.

The photograph above left is believed to be of Frederick Treble, taken at about the time he was in Yeovil. Little of his work is known.

For Frederick Treble's webpage - click here

 


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John Chaffin (& Sons)  

 


From my collection

            

John Chaffin was one of the first in Yeovil to become involved in the newly developing technology of photography and in 1862 he established himself as a photographic artist with a studio at 6 Hendford (immediately next door to the Butcher's Arms). He was soon joined by his family and the 1871 census shows that John gave his occupation as a Photographer, as did sons Thomas and John, by now aged 21 and 17 respectively. daughters Kate and Maria, aged 20 and 19, were both listed as Artists and were employed hand-tinting photographs and also producing portraits in oils from photographs. John Chaffin & Sons also opened a branch studio in Taunton. The firm was active until 1919.

For John Chaffin & Sons webpage - click here.


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James Ray Francis


   

There is very little information regarding James Francis as a photographer in Yeovil. He was born in Faversham, Kent, in 1820 and in the 1861 census, while living in West Street, Havant, Hants, gave his occupation as a photographer. He then moved to Yeovil, and at the Colmer manslaughter trial in 1863 he gave evidence that he was an assistant photographer at the studio of John Swatridge. He was one of the first Yeovil photographers to be listed in a trade directory when the Post Office Directory listed him as a photographer of Princes Street in his own right in 1866 although, of course, others had been operating as professional photographers in the town for years. This is the only reference to him in a Yeovil trade directory.

By 1871 he was working as a photographer in Godalming, Surrey. He died in Horsham, Sussex, in 1907 aged 87.

No examples of his photographic work have been found.

 


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William Thomas Paine Sugg


   

William Thomas Paine Sugg was born during the autumn of 1843 and variously recorded as St Sitwells, Exeter and Exmouth. He was the third of the five sons of reading and billiards room keeper James Sugg (b1819) and Ann née Williams (b1819).

Around 1867, William moved to Yeovil. He worked for stone mason and carver John Swatridge (see above) of Princes Street, who also ran a photographic studio. It appears that William ran the studio and was probably the actual photographer who worked under Swatridge's name.

Having worked for John Swatridge for five years, in 1872 William Sugg and John Swatridge had a disagreement. They parted acrimoniously, resulting in William establishing his own photographic studio in Middle Street.

One can only assume that William Sugg's new venture did not pan out well, since by the time of the 1881 census, William had left Yeovil and was living in Yorkshire and working a s brewer. William Sugg died in the spring of 1900 at Chorlton, Lancashire. He was 56 years old.

For William Sugg's webpage click here.



From my collection

A carte de visite of a young boy by William Sugg of Middle Street. Because of its square corners, this carte probably dates to the very early 1870s, when William left John Swatridge. 

 


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Cole & Son


On the retirement of monumental mason John Swatridge, his statuary and monumental masons business was taken over by Cole & Son as early as 1875. Swatridge's photographic studio was still on the premises, since Cole & Son were listed in the Post Office Directory of 1875 as 'Mason & Photographer'. Cole & Son were advertising in the Western Gazette from as early as 12 March 1875 as 'late Swatridge' with the photographic studio "as heretofore... under the able management of Mr Higgins." There are no other references to Cole & Son as photographers.

For Cole & Son's webpage click here.

 


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Ebenezer Whitby


   

Ebenezer Whitby was born in 1815 in Yeovil, the fourth son of Elias Whitby Snr and his wife Hannah née Hooper and he was the younger brother of Elias Whitby Jnr. In 1847 Whitby was in partnership with Benjamin Trenchard and the firm of Trenchard & Whitby traded as 'Stationers, Booksellers and Printers' at 8 Princes Street where Trenchard and his wife lived above the shop premises with an apprentice, William Guppy, and a house servant. The partnership was dissolved by mutual consent in May 1854 after which Ebenezer traded on his own account. Ebenezer Whitby died in the summer of 1889 but his business was carried on as Whitby & Sons by his sons John and Frederick well into the twentieth century.

In truth, it is not known if Ebenezer Whitby was the photographer who took the photograph for the carte de visite below, or just the publisher. Certainly E Whitby & Sons, presumably one or other of the sons, was a photographer for Frith's who published postcards and several Frith postcards in my collection are attributed to E Whitby & Sons.

For Ebenezer Whitby's webpage - click here

 

This is the front and back of a carte de visite produced by Ebenezer Whitby, of the cottage at Ninesprings and is probably the earliest of any images of Ninesprings. The writing on the back says "EB from GSS in remembrance of a walk to Nine Springs. Oct 7th 1876". However the fact that it has square corners almost certainly dates the CDV to the late 1860s or early 1870s(rounded corners were introduced from 1872 to slip into newly-introduced slotted album pages). Much smaller than later cabinet cards, this CDV is 2½" x 4" (65mm x 100mm).

 


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Adam Gosney

 


From my collection

           

Adam Gosney was born in 1844 in Sherborne. He established himself as a photographer in Sherborne, Dorset in 1866, and opened a studio in Yeovil in May 1879.

In 1879 Gosney advertised his new branch studio in Yeovil at bookseller and stationer Mr Clark's premises. Gosney was recorded as having photographic studios at 19 Middle Street. In 1880 Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser listed him as a photographer with studios at 39 Middle Street. The listing was repeated in Whitby's edition of 1889 but he was not listed in trade directories thereafter although he maintained a Yeovil studio until 1896 when he was succeeded by Frederick Christopher (see below).

For Adam Gosney's webpage - click here

 


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T Clarke

 

Again, very little little is known of T Clarke (since the name is so common) it is known, however, that he had a photographic studio in Middle Street during the 1870s which he opened in May 1874. There are no listings for him in any trade directories and his Yeovil photographic venture was probably very short-lived. I've found no examples of his photographic work.

 

This advertisement, placed in the 22 May 1874 edition of the Western Gazette, announced the opening of T Clarke's photographic studio in Middle Street.

 

Advertisement that appeared in several editions of the Western Gazette during late 1874.

 

This notice, placed by Clarke in several editions of the Western Gazette between 21 August 1874 and 25 September 1874, informed his clients that he had moved to more commodious premises, albeit still in Middle Street.

 


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Lewis Lee

 

Lewis Lee,  for a year or two, had a photographic studio at 25 Earle Street. This was, in fact, Henry Lee and his wife Margaret née Lewis who, for business reasons, worked under the name Mr & Mrs Lewis Lee, later just Lewis Lee.

There was only one trade directory listing and that was in the 1895 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser - for Mrs Lewis Lee. The Lees came to Yeovil in 1891 and left in 1896.

For Lewis Lee's webpage - click here.

 


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William Sherrell

 


From my collection

 

      

William Sherrell was born in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, in 1837. In 1871 he gave his occupation as an Artist but he is known to also have been a photographer with a studio at 107 Newhall Street, Birmingham. It is not known when he moved to Yeovil, but was certainly here by 1891. In the 1891 census William was living at 'Hill View' Sherborne Road and gave his occupation as 'Artist & Photographer'. William was listed as an 'Artist & Photographer of 55 Middle Street' in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1895 but as just a photographer of 165 Sherborne Road (presumably his home address, not his photographic studio) in Whitby's edition of 1898. His final trade listing was in Whitby's edition of 1903. William had retired and Grace Cumming (see next) had taken over his studio by 1907.

For William Sherrell's webpage - click here.

 


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Grace Cumming

 

                   

Grace Cumming was born in 1863 in Battersea, London. In the 1881 census she was lodging in Southampton and gave her occupation as a Photographer. In the 1891 census both she and her sister Kate were listed as Photographer's Assistants in Bournemouth. By 1901 she was a Photographer's Manageress in Sandown, Isle of Wight. By 1907 she had moved to Yeovil and was listed as a Photographer in Collins' Yeovil Directory. The portrait at left was taken by Grace Cumming around 1910 and the sitter was Ellen Jane Pike of Yeovil (1894-1973). Grace died in Reading in 1913, age 50.

For Grace Cumming's webpage click here


 


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William Palfery


   

William Palfery was born in 1829 at Clayhidon, Devon. In the 1861 census he was living at 188 High Street, Exeter, Devon, with his wife Helen and their four children. William gave his occupation as 'Artist & Tobacconist'. The family were still in Exeter in 1867 when their youngest daughter, 8-year old Louisa, died. In the 1871 census he was listed on his own, lodging at the Green Dragon Inn at Combe St Nicholas and gave his occupation as a photographer and was, presumably, on a photographic sojourn while Helen and the children were still in Exeter.

It is thought that William established his Yeovil photographic studio in Court Ash during the 1870s but by 1881 he was living with Helen and son William in North Street, Wellington. He listed his occupation as 'Photographer & Bird Stuffer'.

Helen died in Wellington in 1893 and William was still living in North Street in 1901 as a 73-year old widower, describing himself as a 'Photographer & Naturalist'.

 


From my collection

An early carte de visite, dating to the 1860s, by William Palfery during his time in Exeter.

 


Courtesy of Bill & Audrey Robertson

A carte de visite by W Palfrey of Court Ash.



From my collection

A carte de visite by William Palfery of St Anne's House, Baltonsborough (near Glastonbury). Because of the style of the back of the carte and its square corners, this was likely taken in the very early 1870s.

 


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John Bell

 


From my collection

            

John Bell was born in 1845 at Silton, Dorset (just north of Gillingham), and was a carpenter and millwright by trade. By 1881 he was living in Frome and was a professional photographer with an apprentice and was still in Frome at the time of the 1891 census. By 1896 John was living in Yeovil and was listed in the Western Gazette Almanac of that year as an 'Art photographer of Hendford'. His studio was at Fern Bank Villa in Hendford (adjoining the Masonic Hall) but he clearly didn't stay in Yeovil very long since Jarratt Beckett (see below) took over his studio almost immediately. By 1911 John was retired and living in Burnham on Sea where he died in 1914.

For John Bell's webpage - click here.

 


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Jarratt Beckett

 


From my collection
 

            

Jarratt Rudston Beckett was born in 1839 in Yorkshire and spent most of his life there as a 'Printer, Stationer & Publisher'. He was declared bankrupt in 1879 and moved around a bit thereafter and around 1896 moved to Yeovil taking over the photographic studio of J Bell at Fern Bank Villa in Hendford and immediately styled himself as a 'Photographic Artist'. His final listing in a Yeovil trade directory was simply as a 'Photographer of Hendford' in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1903. What happened to him after 1903 is something of a mystery but it is known that Jarratt died in Birmingham in 1922 aged 83.

For Jarratt Beckett's webpage - click here.


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Frederick G Christopher

 


From my collection

      

FrFrederick George Christopher was born in 1851 at Upwey, Dorset, He became a professional photographer around the 1880s and had a photographic studio at 131 Victoria Street, Bristol, certainly between 1885 and 1887 (the carte de visite at left dates from this period). Probably in the early 1890s, but certainly by 1893 he had established a studio at 38a Middle Street, Yeovil, managed by Walter Pead - see next - he succeeded to the former studio of Adam Gosney in September 1896.

Frederick Christopher died in Crewkerne on 22 February 1925. His son, Frederick James, also became a photographer.

For Frederick Christopher's webpage - click here.


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Walter Wilkinson Pead

 

Walter Wilkinson Pead was born in Shoreditch, London, in 1865. He was the youngest of the four children of cabinet maker Henry Carpenter Read (1824-1908) and Diana Wilkinson née Ranse (1827-1908). In the 1881 census, 16-year old Walter was living at home with his parents at 78 Buckland Street, Shoreditch - the house in which he had been born. He gave his occupation as a book binder. Walter was to marry Mary Jenkins (1870-1943) while in South Africa and he and Mary were to have four children; Gwendoline Mary (1894-1980) and Joseph Henry (1896-1971) were both born in South Africa, while Walter (b1897) was born in Poplar, London, and Grace (b1899) was born in Blandford, Dorset.

It appears that Walter moved to Yeovil around May 1898, to become the manager of the Yeovil studio of Frederick Christopher of Crewkerne (see above). Pead was engaged at two guineas a week, the engagement being terminated by a month's notice either side. Among other things, Walter agreed not at any time, either by himself or in connection with any other person, directly or indirectly, to carry on the business of a photographer at Yeovil or within 20 miles without the consent of Christopher. Pead continued to manage Christopher's studio until 24 September 1898 when the agreement was terminated.

Walter Pead immediately set himself up as a photographer in Waterloo Lane. As a consequence, Christopher took Pead to court for £50 damages for breach of agreement in June 1899. The court found against Pead, Christopher's claim for damages was not pressed and the judge awarded a shilling damages.

Walter Pead, Yeovil's photographer with the briefest of stays, left Yeovil for Blandford, Dorset, where he set himself up as a photographer. He died in Blandford on 20 January 1905.

 


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Alexander Stuart Macmillan


Alexander Stuart Macmillan was born in Castle Cary on 12 January 1870. He was the eldest of the eight children of commercial clerk William Macmillan (1844-1911) and Emily née White (1844-1937). Macmillan primarily worked as a secretary at the Western Gazette and it is likely that his venture into professional photography was short-lived and possibly something of a sideline as he concentrated on his work at the Western Gazette. By 1939 he was the managing director of the Gazette.

Alexander Macmillan died in Yeovil in 1949.

For Alexander Macmillan's webpage - click here

 


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William Ross

 

William Alexander Mitchelson Ross was born in 1883 at St Denys, Hampshire, the son of artist Alexander Mitchelson Ross (1816-1907) and Maria née Biddlecombe (b1861 - 45 years his junior!!). In the 1891 census the family were listed at 21 Dover Street, Southampton. By 1906 William Ross was living in Yeovil - the year this photograph of Yeovil firemen was taken..

On 15 April 1908, at Holy Trinity church,, William married Rose Wilhelmina Langdon (1885-1968) of Yeovil. By the 1911 census they were living at 82 Earle Street. William gave his occupation as a photographer - his photographic studio was at 21 Princes Street.

For William Ross' webpage - click here.

 


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 Edmund Hugh Rundle

          

Edmund Hugh Rundle was born in the spring of 1877 in Yeovil. He was one of the five children of saddle maker John Rundle (1843-1891) and Eliza née Smith (1841-1915). John had a shop and workshop at 112 Middle Street next-but-one to the corner with Union Street and the family lived above it. On 18 September 1910 at East Coker, Edmund married Ethel Maud Black (1880-1945). On his marriage certificate Edmund gave his occupation as an ironmonger.

The photograph at left by Edmund was probably taken between 1900 (when he would have been 23 years old) and 1910 (when he moved to Bristol after his marriage).

For Edmund Rundle's webpage - click here.

 


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Harold Beale Collins

          

Harold Beale Collins was born in Yeovil in 1891. He was one of the eleven children of Princes Street printer and bookseller William Beale Collins (1854-1911) and Sarah née Dark (1852-1922). In the 1911 census Harold gave his occupation as 'Printer & Photographer' and was clearly responsible for taking many of the postcards of Yeovil published by his father. 

Harold later moved to London and married Gladys Lilian Alpe (1896-1987) at Holy Trinity, Clapham, on 11 April 1915. and by the 1950s was a Director of the Broadway Press, London, and living in Edenbridge, Kent. Harold died in Tonbridge, Kent, in the summer of 1970.

 

A hand-coloured postcard of Princes Street, dating to around 1905, produced by William Beale Collins and showing his own premises at left. Probably photographed by his son, Harold Beale Collins.

 


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Samson Dade


 

Samson Dade was born in Yeovil on 14 December 1866, the son of John Dade (1816-1897) and Mary Ann née Bartlett (1831-1908). In 1897, at Yeovil, he married Emily Edmunds (1876-1954).

Although he was never listed in any trade directory as a professional photographer, it is clear that Samson was a photographer as a sideline and had likely set up part of his father's Coffee Tavern in Wine Street as a photographic studio. He was clearly operating during the 1890s and into the 1900s.

For Samson Dade's web page - click here.  

 

 


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Francis Hubert Crocker

 


Courtesy of Bill & Audrey Robertson

            

Francis Hubert Crocker was born in Yeovil in 1882 the son of corn merchant William Henry Down Crocker (1830-1886) and Cleopatra Malvina Robina née Colmer (1846-1920), the daughter of Robert and Jane Colmer, the infamous Yeovil murderers.

In the 1891 census 9-year old Francis was living with his widowed mother in Peter Street. Cleopatra remarried and in 1901 Francis was living with her and her new husband, Thomas Thorne, in the Victoria Inn in Huish and Francis, now aged 19, worked as a butter factor's clerk.

In 1909 Francis married Mary Ann Pinney at Yeovil and by the time of the 1911 census he gave his occupation as a carpenter and joiner.

Francis was listed in Kelly's Directory of 1914 as a Photographer of 7 Peter Street - his only listing - but in November 1914 he enlisted and served throughout the Great War in the Royal Field Artillery as a driver, rising to the rank of Sergeant. He served in Egypt from 1914. He was then transferred to the Labour Corps.

Francis Crocker died of tuberculosis on 11 October 1921 in Birmingham, age 39.

 


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Witcomb & Son


   

Charles John Witcomb and his son Sidney George were professional photographers of Salisbury, Wiltshire with their two main studios at 10 Catherine Street, Salisbury, and 9 Triangle, Bournemouth, throughout the 1870s and into the twentieth century. By 1903 Witcomb & Son were established in Middle Street, Yeovil, The Yeovil studio was run by Sidney.

Witcomb & Son were first listed in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser in 1903 and they placed an advertisement in the same edition stating 'Under Royal Patronage'. In the 1911 census Sidney was listed as a photographer with his wife Melina 'assisting in the business' and their twin 22-year old twin daughters Edith and Ethel (both born 4 June 1890) working as photographer's assistants. Witcomb & Sons appeared regularly in Yeovil trade directories until their listing in the Post Office Directory of 1935. Sidney died in Yeovil in 1947 aged 87.

For Witcomb & Son's web page - click here.  

 

A photograph of a Yeovil family (any ideas?) by Witcomb & Son, Yeovil, dating to about 1905.

 


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Henry Stein McNair


   

I have only come across one reference to the photographic work of Henry Stein McNair which was in Collins' Yeovil Directory of 1907 noting in the Street List "HS McNair, 7 Court Ash, Photographic Artist". I have found no examples of his photographic work.

Henry was born in Croydon, Surrey, on 2 April 1873, the fifth of the eleven children of beer merchant's clerk Linsey William McNair (1835-1906) and Harriett Agnes née Turrell (1846-1915). Henry emigrated to Queensland, Australia where, on 6 February 1899, he married Annie Woodhead. By 1901 he was living in Guernsey with Annie and their young son Henry.

By 1902 Henry had moved his family to Yeovil where their next child, Glenny Stein, was born.

His stay in Yeovil was very brief since by 1904 he was recorded as a photographer of Cullompton, Devon, and a third child, Dudley Stein, was born in 1905 at Tiverton, Devon.

Henry and his family moved back to Australia, arriving at Sydney, New South Wales on 30 November 1909, travelling with his wife Annie and sons, Henry, Glen and Dudley. Henry died on 2 November 1943 at Bulimba, Queensland, Australia.

 


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Ralph Gorell


   

I have only come across one reference to Ralph Gorell, which was in the 1911 census where 22-year old Ralph was a boarder at 26 Brunswick Street. He gave his occupation as a 'Photographer (Journeyman)' working on his own account (that is, freelance). Ralph was born in Bath, Somerset, in 1899.

 I have found no examples of his photographic work and no further reference to him in the records.

 


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Walter Samuel Rendell


   

Walter Samuel Rendell was born in 1874 at Melcombe Regis, Weymouth, Dorset. Initially apprenticed to his brother as a draper, by 1911 he was working as a photographer's assistant at Weymouth. Walter moved his family to Yeovil and set up his own photographic studio in 1913 at 55 Middle Street and was listed as a photographer in many trade directories from 1914 onwards. Initially trading as WS Rendell and later as WS Rendell & Son as his son William Ernest joined his father in the business.

Walter Rendell died at home, at 24 Beaconsfield Avenue, Yeovil, on 31 July 1949. William carried on the Yeovil photography business until (I think) the 1980s.

For Walter and William's webpage - click here.

 


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Horace Arnold 'Jack' Cooper


   

Horace Arnold Cooper, known as Jack, was born on 25 October 1899 at Twyford, Hampshire. He was the eldest of the four children of gamekeeper Arnold James Cooper (1870-1947) and Beatrice Elizabeth Julia née Whillier (1867, Jersey,-1941).

In 1940, Jack established a photographic studio at 97a Middle Street, later moving to 42 Middle Street, where he also operated a newsagent's shop. He was active as a photographer throughout the 1950s and the early 1960s, at one point noting that he was of 'Yeovil & Sherborne'. During the 1950s he published a series of postcards of Yeovil.

Jack retired in 1965 and died on 21 March 1969, aged 69. He is buried in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels, East Coker.

For Jack Cooper's webpage - click here.

 


From my collection  -  This photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'.

Fiveways photographed in the early 1950s by HA 'Jack' Cooper, when the roundabout still had its black and white markings - painted on during the war so that it was easier to see in the blackout.

 


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Harold Charles Tilzey


   

Harold Charles Tilzey was born on 4 April 1911 at Barnstaple, Devon, son of Sidney Tilzey (1872-1942) and Hebe Florence née  Knight (1882-1950). In 1938 he married Elizabeth Squire at Barnstaple and around 1939 he set up his own photographic studio at 43 Princes Street, Yeovil. The studio was destroyed by fire in June 1948 but later refurbished.

Harold died in Yeovil in 1975, age 64. Harold's son, Bryan, continued the business. The following is taken from the Programme of the Yeovil Centenary Trades Fair in 1954 -

"For the past 15 years Harold C Tilzey has offered a personal service in photography at his well-equipped premises in Princes Street, here your requirements meet speedy and efficient attention. A list of work undertaken reads like a catalogue, including the photographs of Buildings, Factories, Homes, Schools, both inside and out, Machinery, Vehicles, Equipment and Finished Parts, in fact everything that the manufacturer, builder, architect, advertiser and shopkeeper might require. Portrait photography is catered for, very special attention being given to children. The work can be done at the studio or at home. Another speciality is photographs of animals and pets of all descriptions. The pictorial recording of weddings is a service much appreciated.

Direct colour is the latest innovation in photography, all the latest developments are given due consideration and this work can now be carried out on the premises, although, at the moment, hand colouring by skilled artists is more suitable for many purposes.

Finally, a complete service is available for the amateur photographer, films are developed and printed on the premises. A large stock of material and equipment is maintained and expert advice is always available."

 

One of Harold Tilzey's first commissions - the wedding of Ronald Richards of Barnstaple and Elizabeth Ricketts, youngest daughter of William Ricketts of WJ & EG Ricketts Ltd of Yeovil. Published in the North Devon Journal of 8 June 1939.

 

A typical wedding photograph by Harold Tilzey, this example is dated 1950.

 


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Yeovil's Amateur Photographers

 

Henry Stiby

 

While not a professional photographer as such, future Mayor of Yeovil Henry Stiby is included here simply because he was one of the most prolific of Yeovil amateur photographers and left a fine record of Yeovil and its surroundings from the 1880's onwards.

For Henry Stiby's webpage - click here

 

Henry Stiby, the photographer, on location with his camera and tripod at Thorne Coffin church during the late 1880's.

 


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Film Wallets


As snapshot photography became more popular, people began to take their film to photo finishers, such as the local photographer or local chemist, for developing and printing rather than sending it away to Kodak or doing it themselves. Film wallets were the most popular receptacle for delivering and storing prints and negatives. The examples below, all from my collection, are roughly in date order.


A Kodak film wallet, dating to around 1915 and featuring 'the Kodak Girl'.  Charles Cowle was a chemist of Middle Street.
       
A film wallet of the 1920s by Boots the Chemist (or in this instance, Boots the Photographic Dealers).


A later Kodak film wallet used by Walter Rendell & Son. This film wallet, featuring a later 'Kodak Girl', dates to the 1920s/30s.
 

A film wallet, probably of the late 1930s, again by Boots the Photographic Dealers.


A film wallet featuring a 'Kodak Girl' of the 1950s, used by Holman & Hann, chemists of Park Road.
 

Again from the 1950s, this film wallet was used by Yeovil photographer HA 'Jack' Cooper, when his address was 42 Middle Street.


This film wallet of the late 1950s was used by HA 'Jack' Cooper. The 'Kodak Girl' is no longer a drawing, but a photograph.
 

This film wallet dates to the 1960s and was used by Harold Tilzey.



The back and front of a film wallet issued by Cecil B Gosling, 'Dispensing and photographic Chemist' of Middle Street and dated 3 July 1959.




The back and front of a second film wallet by Gosling, this dated 12 April 1960.


 
Two wallets by Boots the Chemist from the late 1970s or early 1980s.


A film wallet by Boots the Chemist of the 1990s.