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Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
Charles William Lee (1875-1934)

of High Street, Eckington

C.W. Lee was born and grew up in Mosborough, near Eckington, where he initially worked as a confectioner in his father's shop.  He operated a studio in Eckington briefly around the turn of the century, before moving to Wigton in Cumbria, and then Carlisle, where he worked as a traveller and hawker.

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Charles William Lee was born at Mosborough, near Eckington in Derbyshire, and baptized there on 14 February 1875.  He was the eldest son of confectioner Herbert Lee (born in 1850 at Eckington) and his wife Sarah Booth.  While still a teenager, he worked as an assistant in his father's shop at 4 Southgate, Eckington.

C.W. Lee married Fanny Bramley at Holy Trinity Church, Wicker, Sheffield on 11 April 1898, at which time he was still working as a confectioner in Eckington.  By 27 February 1899, however, when their first child was baptized, he decribed himself has a photographer, living at 57 Market Street, Eckington.  In April 1901, the census showed that he was living alone at the shop premises in Market Street, and still working as a photographer. Adamson (1997) states that C.W. Lee also operated from premises at 210 Abbey street, Derby between 1908 and 1910.

According to family members, his partner/assistant had been "fiddling" him and eventually ran off.  The family were in a lot of debt and simply took off one day (c. 1902) to avoid the bailiffs.  They landed up in Liverpool, then went to Wigton (Cumbria), and eventually Carlisle.  According to family members, he appears never to have worked as a photographer again, attempting to support his family as a traveller and hawker.  This meant that he often left his family in Carlisle while he went off looking for work, and he eventually died in a hostel for the homeless in Edinburgh in 1934.

Image © & Courtesy of Max Solomon
C.W. Lee and family - unknown date & location
but probably taken c. 1905
Image © & Courtesy of Max Solomon

Image © & courtesy of Caroline Boston Unknown seated child,
by C.W. Lee of High Street, Eckington,
Undated, but probably c. 1900
Format: Cabinet Card

Image © & courtesy of Caroline Boston

Nothing further is known about this photo

Image © & courtesy of Peter O'Driscoll
View of crown in Eckington street
by C.W. Lee of High Street, Eckington,
Undated, but probably taken c. 1900
Format: Cabinet Card
Size: Mount 140 x 92 mm

Image © & courtesy of Peter O'Driscoll 

Notes by PO'D:  There used to be a Whitsuntide parade in Eckington, when all the children had new clothes and showed them off.  I don't know whether this is one of them, but have heard people mention the Victoria parade (when I was younger).  This part of Eckington is still there - the bulding on the left is under review for regeneration.  It was formeley owned by a motor cycle dealer, a Mr.Charles Freeman, who sadly is no longer with us.  His shop fell into disrepair, and this part of Eckington is known as charlie freemans corner.  I will send you a "then and now" picture when I have more time.  The building dropping down on the right is no longer there.  A mechanics' institute was built there, which is now a local amatuer dramatics theatre.  The large house on the right, standing back, is known locally as the minister's house - in my lifetime it has been the local library, a social services centre and is now back to a private dwelling (I have a postcard of this building dated 1906).  In the centre of the photograph there is a row of buildings which consists of two shops and a public house, which was named 'The Moulders Arms' - these are now gone (in late 60s or early 70s), and a new local library is in its place.

Images & information kindly provided by Peter O'Driscoll, Angela Treweek, Max Solomon & Caroline Boston
International Genealogical Index (IGI) - online from the LDS church
1861 Derbyshire Census - CDROM published by ArchiveCD Books
1881 UK Census - online from the LDS church
1891 & 1901 UK Census - online from
Anon (1895) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Kelly & Co. Limited, London.
Anon (1912) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire 1912, Kelly's Directories Ltd., London.

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