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Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
Charles Carr, Gilbert & Co.

of Babington Lane & Osmaston Road, Derby

Charles Carr was in involved in photographic studio and picture dealership partnerships in Derby for a number of years, but apparently only moved there himself in the mid-1890s, having previously worked in Sittingbourne, Kent. He appears to have been in business as late as 1913.

Go straight to Portfolio


Craven (1993) states that a Frederick Carr, believed to be a brother of a Gilbert Carr, was operating a photographic business in Abbey Street (initially at number 271, and later at number 319), Derby between 1881 and 1898. He also states that "Carr, Gilbert & Co." was in business in Derby from 1895 to 1903. Adamson (1997) lists the photographic firm of "Carr, Gilbert and Co." as operating in Derby from two separate premises, 39 Babington lane (1895-1913) and 75 Osmaston road (1895-1899).

I have been unable to find any corroborative evidence of either a Frederick or a Gilbert Carr operating as a photographer in the UK at any time. An 1895 trade directory does, however, include an entry for the firm "Carr & Co., photographers" at both 39 Babington lane and 75 Osmaston road, and a separate entry for "Charles Carr, picture dealer", also at 75 Osmaston road. The cabinet card shown below, from the early to mid-1890s, was taken at "The Babington Studio".

Charles Carr - prior to 1891, he seems to have used the first name James - was born between 1851 and 1854 in Kent, probably in or near Maidstone, son of a hatter Charles Carr and his wife Emily. In his late teens, he worked as an assistant in his father's hatter's shop in the High Street of Milton Regis, but by April 1881 he had moved to nearby Sittingbourne, had married and was working as a signwriter. His wife Ellen produced a daughter Ellen Sarah, also known as Cissie, in 1883. By 1891 Charles Carr had set up in business as a photographer and frame maker in Station Street, Sittingbourne, with at least one employee. It seems likely that by 1895, when Derby trade directory listings for "Carr, Gilbert & Co." commence, he had moved to Derby and set up the photographic business with premises in Babington lane and Osmaston road, in conjunction with a Mr. Gilbert. Certainly in April 1901 he was living at 319 Abbey street, Christchurch, Derby. He described himself as a photographer, while his wife and daughter - the latter now eighteen - were listed in the census as assistant photographers.

It is conceivable that Charles/James Carr was in partnership with E.F. Bostock in the early 1880s - the firm of Bostock & Carr had premises at 8 Macklin street in 1881 - although there is no evidence that Carr was actually living in Derby at around this time. In fact, the census for April 1881 shows a picture dealer, Charles J. Wood living at this address. Adamson (1997) indicates that the Bostock & Carr studio was later transferred to Carr, Gilbert & Co., although the source of this information is not given.

The April 1891 Census shows an Edmund Hopkins, photographer, as a lodger at 185 Osmaston Road. It is possible that Hopkins, who was training in Southampton as early as 1881, was working for Carr at the Osmaston Road premises. No mention has been found of a Gilbert working as a photographer in Derby. However, there was a George Gilbert (born Winchester, Hampshire c. 1844-45) who worked as a photographer in Bath (1871), Gloucester (1881) and London (1901), who may have been in partnership with Charles Carr at some stage in his career.


Portfolio
Image © & courtesy of Michael Handley Patrick Handley
by Carr, Gilbert & Co. of The Babington Studio, Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1890s

Format: Carte de visite
Size: Mount 62 x 104 mm

Image © & courtesy of Michael Handley


Notes: Patrick Handley was born in Ireland, joined the British Army and fought in South Africa, where he married a South African girl who worked as the camp cook.  They came back to England and settled in Chesterfield, later moving to Bedworth near Coventry.
Image © & courtesy of Michael Handley

Image © & courtesy of Kath Marvill Ellen Amelia Cooper née Wise (1857-1909)
by Carr, Gilbert & Co. of Babington Studio, Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the late 1890s or early 1900s

Format: Cabinet Card

Image © & courtesy of Kath Marvill

Notes: Ellen was born at Oldbury, near Tewkesbury, married George Henry Cooper at Darley Abbey in 1889, and died at Derby.


Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Unidentified woman
by Carr, Gilbert & Co. of The Babington Studio, Derby
Dated 29 July 1901

Format: Small format

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin


Notes:
Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

References
Image kindly provided by Nigel Aspdin, Michael Handley and Kath Marvill
1881 UK Census - online from the LDS church
1871, 1891 & 1901 UK Census - online from Ancestry.com
1901 UK Census index - online from the PRO
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 (1895) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Kelly & Co. Limited, London.
Anon (1895) History, Topography, and Directory of Derbyshire, T. Bulmer & Co. - by kind courtesy of Sonia Addis-Smith
Anon (1912) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire 1912, Kelly's Directories Ltd., London.
Anon
Adamson, Keith I.P. (1997) Professional Photographers in Derbyshire 1843 - 1914, The PhotoHistorian, No. 118 Supplement, September 1997, ISSN 0957-0209. Courtesy of John Bradley.
Craven, Maxwell (ed.) (1993) Keene's Derby, Breedon Books, Derby, pp. 200-202. Courtesy of Sonia Addis-Smith

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