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  1. #1
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    Default William CLARK Southport Photographer

    I have a rather fine photograph which I am trying to date - I think it's either my great great grandmother but more likely to be the older sister of my great grandmother. The photo is labled 'William Clark, 15 Nevill Street, Southport. Permanent Photograph Patent Chromotype'. The fashion of the garments suggests mid to late 1880s to me (high collar and quite modest), and I understand that the Chromotype process was first used around 1874. From what I have read, the process didn't catch on as this type of photograph was relatively expensive - but, luckily for me, the picture has hardly faded. I have been unable to find Clark in census/trade directories etc, but I was hoping someone may be able to help me out.

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    Liz

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    I've had no luck finding him anywhere but I see the V & A have a photograph by him that they date as 1883:
    http://www.
    vandaimages.com/results.asp?image=1000LM0276-01

    There are a couple of references to him in The National Archives and they give his address as 16 Nevill Street - but that's not much help either.
    malcolm99

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    I forgot to mention that there is an interesting description in the National Archives about "Benjamin Wyles & Co., Victoria Studio, Nevill Street, Southport." It's just possible that William Clark operated out of this address - see 'Contents' on this page:

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a...1119&cid=-1#-1
    malcolm99

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    Malcolm

    Thank you for looking. Yes, I had seen those references, but looking at them again, perhaps the photo is slightly earlier than I thought and may be the late 1870s/early 1880s. I wonder if the Clark studio was rather short-lived?

    Liz

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    After discovering that Southport was in the parish of North Meols, I came across in this 1881 census:

    2 Shakespeare Street, North Meols, Lancs
    William Clarke, head, 35, photographer, b. Preston Lancs
    Gesana Clarke, wife, 28, b. Oldham Lancs
    Charles W. Clarke, son, 3, b. Southport Lancs
    Mary Clarke, dau, 2, b. Southport Lancs
    Thomas L. Clarke, son, 1, b. Southport
    Isabella Davis, visitor, wid., 48, nurse, b. Scotland

    RG 11/3751, f.82, p.14. Census returns Crown copyright, in care of The National Archives

    His wife's unusual name may help in tracking the family in later censuses.

    From FreeBMD it looks as if William Clark married Gesana Lees in the Runcorn district Q2 1876. Cheshire BMDs confirms that they married one another, and gives the name of the church: Norley St John.

  6. #6
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    FamilySearch has baptisms for these two children of William and Gesana Clark(e):

    - Charles W. Clarke, 3 Aug 1885, St Mary's, Walton on the Hill, Lancs
    - Robert Speakman Clark, 30 Dec 1889, St Peter's, Liverpool

    So they appear to have moved away from Southport by 1885.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coromandel View Post
    After discovering that Southport was in the parish of North Meols, I came across in this 1881 census:

    2 Shakespeare Street, North Meols, Lancs
    William Clarke, head, 35, photographer, b. Preston Lancs
    .
    ...and Charles Holden, 23, photographer is living at 4 Bradley Street, North Meols RG11/3748 fol. 123 p. 20.
    Lo and behold at 5 Bradley Street is a William Holden and family.

    Now from the TNA we know that William Clark and Charles Holden collaborated on a photograph of “Dog sitting by fence” and that Clark took an Oval portrait of William Holden,see: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a...1192&cid=-1#-1 ) and so that seems some sort of proof that they were working together around 1881.

    I’m not sure this moves things on very much, but I thought it was interesting.

    (Record in care of TNA: Crown copyright)
    malcolm99

  8. #8
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    From Liverpool Parish Registers on Ancestry:

    - Charles William Clark, son of William (agent) and Gesana, of 2 Shakspeare Street, Southport, was baptised at Bootle St John on 4 June 1877.
    - Robert Speakman Clark, son of William (cotton broker) and Gesana, of Melling, was baptised 30 December 1889 at Liverpool St Peter (b. 14 Dec. 1888)

    From the 1877 baptism, William was already at Shak(e)speare Street by 1877, but giving his occupation as agent. That doesn't mean he didn't already have a sideline in photography, though. It would have been nice if we could find this William at Nevill Street but perhaps that was just a studio, not his house? Perhaps local directories or newspapers would fill in some details, but I haven't so far found any online.

    The 1891 census finds the family in Melling, with William shown as a cotton broker ('agent' added in another hand). Five children (13, 12, 10, 9 and 7) were shown as born in Southport while the youngest (2 year old Robert S.) was born in Melling. (RG 12/3028, f.79, p.31).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coromandel View Post
    From the 1877 baptism, William was already at Shak(e)speare Street by 1877, but giving his occupation as agent. That doesn't mean he didn't already have a sideline in photography, though. It would have been nice if we could find this William at Nevill Street but perhaps that was just a studio, not his house? Perhaps local directories or newspapers would fill in some details, but I haven't so far found any online.
    Everything does seem to point towards William working at Benjamin Wyles's studio in Nevill Street (#3) but there's no certain proof yet. I’m sure I found the studio listed in a contemporary Directory yesterday but I haven’t got the details to hand.
    malcolm99

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    Wyles was evidently quite a noted and innovative photographer (do a Google search for him) and it seems more than likely that he would be experimenting with/using the latest methods of photography such as ‘Permanent Photograph Patent Chromotype’ as in #1.
    malcolm99

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