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Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
Abraham Booth & Gertrude Fletcher

of Belper & Ripley

Abraham Booth operated studios in Cromford Road (later Oxford Street), Ripley and King Street, Belper from about 1879 until the late 1880s, after which he moved to Nottinghamshire.  He was assisted for much of his career by his sister-in-law, Gertrude Fletcher, who eventually took over the Nottingham studio in the late 1890s.

Go straight to Portfolio


Abraham Booth was born in Nottingham in about 1851.  The 1871 Census shows him working as an artist in Nottingham.  In 1876 and 1877, however, he operated a studio at Cobden Chambers, Market Street, Nottingham, which he took over from William Seward, the former manager of John Burton & Sons' Nottingham branch.  He appears to have returned the studo to Seward in late 1877 or early 1888.

Booth married Augusta Fletcher, daughter of a Ripley publican & farmer, at Nottingham in 1878, and a daughter Augusta Lydia was born in Nottingham later that year.  They then moved to Ripley in Derbyshire, where they lived on Cromford Road with his wife's widowed mother and sisters.  By 1881, Abraham had set up a studio at this address and was working as a photographer, with his sister-in-law Gertrude Fletcher, aged 21, employed as a photographic painter.  However, his wife Augusta was not shown at home on census night.

Kelly's 1887 directory shows that by late 1886, when it was probably compiled, he had moved his studio to Oxford Street in Ripley.  However, a carte de visite dating from before the move (see below) shows that he was also operating a studio at King Street, Belper during this period.  Adamson (1997) states that Booth worked in Ripley until at least 1888, but does not list his Belper premises.  Heathcote & Heathcote (n.d. & 1979) show him in another studio at Dilks Yard, 69 Long Row West from 1887-1888, after which he worked from 7a (or 11½) Exchange Walk in 1889, and from 74a Mansfield Road c. 1890.

By 1891, however, Abraham and his sister-in-law had moved to Radford, Nottinghamshire, where they lived and worked together at 2 Palin Street, Hyson Green, the premises apparently situated on the corner with Alfreton road.  A trade directory entry for 1894-1895 shows a listing only for Abraham Booth, but they appear to have gone their separate ways after 1897 (Heathcote & Heathcote).  Booth was also in partnership with someone by the name of Wilkinson at 69 Long Row West around 1896.

Gertrude Fletcher appears to have retained the 2 Palin street studio, since she is listed there in an 1898-1899 trade directory.  By April 1901 Abraham Booth was living at 221 Highway road, Nottingham St Mary, and Gertrude was at Alfreton road/Palin street; both were still describing themselves as photographers.  The various census entries suggest that Abraham Booth had two children by his wife Augusta Fletcher, two by his sister-in-law Gertrude Fletcher, as well as a son by a third partner Edith, with whom he was living in 1901.  A carte-de-visite by Gertrude Fletcher (see below) has been tentatively dated at c. 1897.  Kelly's trade directory for 1904 shows "Fletcher Miss Gtde. (photgrphr)" at 298 Alfreton road, but two later directories (1910-11 & 1913-14) list "Miss/Mrs Gertrude Fletcher" at 112 Exchange road, Nottingham, without any mention of her as a photographer.


Portfolio
Image © & courtesy of John Bradley Unidentified older woman
by A. Booth of King Street, Belper & Cromford Road, Ripley
Undated, but probably early 1880s
Format: Carte-de-visite
Mount: Marion Imp. Paris

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Nothing further is known about this photo.

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Image © & courtesy of Prue McKay and The Rootschat Collection of Victorian & Edwardian Photography Unidentified young woman
by A. Booth of King Street, Belper & Cromford Road, Ripley
Undated, but probably copied in the early 1880s from a photograph taken perhaps a decade earlier, in the 1870s
Format: Carte-de-visite
Card Mount published by Marion Imp. Paris

Image © & courtesy of Prue McKay and The Rootschat Collection of Victorian & Edwardian Photography

Notes:

Image © & courtesy of Prue McKay and The Rootschat Collection of Victorian & Edwardian Photography

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley Unidentified boy in a suit
by A. Booth of Oxford St., Ripley
Undated but probably mid- to late 1880s
Format: Carte-de-visite
Mount: Spicer Bros. London

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Nothing further is known about this photo.

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Image © & collection of Brett Payne
Unidentified couple
by G. Fletcher of Palin St & 298 Alfreton Road, Nottingham
Undated but probably mid- to late 1880s
Format: Cabinet card
Size: Mount 104 x 165.5 mm Photo 97.5 x 138 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Nothing further is known about this photo.

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & courtesy of Nick McFarlane-Watts Unidentified child
by G. Fletcher of 2 Palin st, Nottingham
Undated but probably taken c. 1897

Format: Carte-de-visite

Image © & courtesy of Nick McFarlane-Watts

Nothing further is known about this photo.


Image © & courtesy of Carol Standish
Sarah Miller (b. 1890) and Bernard Miller (b. 1892)
by G. Fletcher of 2 Palin st, Nottingham
Undated but probably taken c. 1896-1898

Format: Carte-de-visite

Image © & courtesy of Carol Standish 

Nothing further is known about this photo.


References
Images kindly provided by Prue McKay, Brett Payne, Carol Standish, Nick McFarlane-Watts and John Bradley.
1841-1901 UK Census - online from Ancestry.com.
FreeBMD
International Genealogical Index - online from the LDS church.
Anon (1881) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Kelly & Co., London.
Anon (1887) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Kelly & Co., London.
Anon (1891) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland & Nottinghamshire, Kelly & Co., London. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories.
Anon (1894-95) Wright's Directory of Nottingham. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories.
Anon (1898-98) Wright's Directory of Nottingham. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories.
Anon (1904) Kelly's Directory of Nottinghamshire. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories.
Anon (1910-11) Wright's Directory of Nottingham. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories.
Anon (1913-14) Wright's Directory of Nottingham. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories.
Heathcote, Bernard & Heathcote, Pauline (n.d.) Pioneers of Photography in Nottinghamshire, 1841-1910, Nottinghamshire County Council.
Heathcote, Bernard V. & Heathcote, Pauline F. (July 1979) Nottingham Photographic Studios in Victorian Times, The Royal Photographic Society Historical group.
Adamson, Keith I.P. (1997) Professional Photographers in Derbyshire 1843-1914, Supplement to The PhotoHistorian, No. 118, September 1997, ISSN 0957-0209. Extract courtesy of John Bradley.

Craven, Maxwell (ed.) (1993) Keene's Derby, Breedon Books, Derby, pp. 200-202. - by kind courtesy of Sonia Addis-Smith.

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