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Home / Studio Index / England / Derbyshire / Chesterfield / John Stringfellow
John Stringfellow (1833-1882) of Chesterfield & Sheffield
Image © & Collection of Brett Payne
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

John Stringfellow was baptised at Ecclesfield, near Sheffield in Yorkshire, on 21 Apr 1833, one of five surviving children of James Stringfellow (1797-1828) and his wife Hannah. He was also nephew of his namesake John Stringfellow (1799-1883) who developed a remarkable ability at designing and building light steam engines, and who would later - with William S. Henson and others - achieve some considerable fame as an aeronautical engineer.

John Stringfellow's father died in July 1837 when he was only four, and he and his siblings grew up living with their mother in Attercliffe cum Darnall, near Sheffield. He married Elizabeth W.B. Houlden (born in 1840 at Sheffield) at Sheffield in 1866, and they had three children (a son and twin daughters) between then and 1872. In his teens he worked as an attorney's clerk, and was described as such in the 1851 Census.

James STRINGFELLOW bapt. 21 May 1797 Cathedral St Peter, Sheffield YKS d. Jul 1837 m: Hannah b. c.1803 Ecclesfield YKS
|- Mary Ann STRINGFELLOW bapt. 20 Jul 1823 Ecclesfield YKS
|- Elizabeth STRINGFELLOW bapt. 7 May 1826 Ecclesfield YKS
|- Harriet STRINGFELLOW bapt. 26 Dec 1827 Ecclesfield YKS
|- John STRINGFELLOW bapt. 21 Apr 1833 Ecclesfield YKS d. Feb 1882 Sheffield YKS
   m: 4 September 1866 St Phillip, Sheffield YKS Elizabeth Wade Bartiam HOULDEN
   |- Henry STRINGFELLOW b. & d. c.Feb 1867 Eccleshall Bierlow R.D. YKS
   |- John Henry STRINGFELLOW b. c.Feb 1868 Eccleshall, Sheffield YKS
   |- Percy Edward STRINGFELLOW b. c.Nov 1870 d. c.May 1871 Eccleshall Bierlow R.D. YKS
   |- Florence STRINGFELLOW b. c.May 1872 Eccleshall, Sheffield YKS
   |- Lillian STRINGFELLOW b. c.May 1872 Eccleshall, Sheffield YKS
|- William STRINGFELLOW bapt. 20 Sep 1835 Ecclesfield YKS
Adamson (1997) states that by the time John Stringfellow arrived in Chesterfield in the company of a photographer named Edgar (presumably George Edgar, later of Ashbourne) in December 1858, he was "already a well traveled itinerant," and that he had "formerly [been] in Lyme Regis, Somerset in March 1858," but it is not clear when or where he started practising as a photographer. The Lyme Regis sighting is perhaps explained by the fact that his uncle John Stringfellow was working as an engineer in nearby Chard, making bobbins and carriages for the lace industry and experimenting with steam engines and aeronautics. (Hunt, 1851 & Day & McNeil, 1996)

Adamson reports further that "when their scheduled visit ended the partnership broke up. Stringfellow stayed ... in Chesterfield." An advertisement in Harrison & Harrod's 1860 trade directory, presumably compiled either in that year or late in 1859, demonstrates that he was operating from a studio in Salter Gate, Chesterfield, offering "portraits taken daily in all kinds of weather, on glass, paper, leather, &c. ... [and] stereoscopic portraits."
Advertisement from Harrison & Harrod's 1860 Trade Directory
Image & courtesy of Christine Hibbert
He may have been working for or in partnership with Paul Turner, with whom he was lodging at the Spread Eagle Inn, Beetwell Street in April 1861. His occupation is described on the census enumerator's sheet as "photographer jour[neyman]." A carte de visite dating from the early 1860s has the address "Vicar Lane," to which address he presumably moved c. 1860-1862. He was still working in Chesterfield in October 1863, when his studio received some considerable damage at the hands of the enraged father of a lady friend (The Liverpool Mercury, 21 Oct 1863). Perhaps the damage caused financial misfortune from which Stringfellow was unable to recover, because in July the following year, an order for his bankruptcy was made in the Chesterfield County Court. (The Derbyshire Mercury, 20 Jul 1864)

It seems likely that he had returned to Sheffield by the time of his marriage in September 1866. Adamson (1983) shows him operating from premises in Alma Street in 1867 and 1868. By April 1871 he was living at 77 Prospect St, Nether Hallam (Census) and had taken over a studio at 13a Fargate from George Washington Unwin, who moved to Matlock Batch in Derbyshire (Adamson, 1983). Trade directories for 1879 and 1881 show him living at 81 Fulton Road, Walkley, Nether Hallam, with a studio at 5 Chapel Walk, Fargate, Sheffield. Adamson states that he was occupying the Chapel Walk premises as early as 1877, and possibly took it over from James Thomas, who departed in 1871. The April 1881 Census suggests that his residence was by that time 79 Fulton Road.

On 17 Feb 1882 the Sheffield newspapers reported that John Stringfellow had died "suddenly on the Midland Railway", and he was buried at Sheffield Fulwood Christ Church on 22 Feb 1882. His widow and their three children continued living in Fulton Road until at least 1891. Elizabeth Stringfellow was "living on her own means", but Adamson (1983) states that she operated the studio on her own account for a brief period in 1887.


If you have any further information about John Stringfellow and his studios, or if you have any photographs by him, please email me. I welcome contributions of images to increase the variety of coverage on this site. If you are able to identify or have an interest in any of the subjects in the photographs shown below, I would also be very keen on hearing from you.
CARD TYPES
Image © & Collection of Brett Payne Image © & Collection of Brett Payne Image © & Collection of Brett Payne
Type I
Used c. 1861-1865
Black ink on white card
Crown & belt motif
Additional line of text
Type II
Used c. 1872-1875
Brown ink on buff card
Rampant lion with 5 lines of
ribboned text & scrollwork
Type III
Used c. 1874-1878
Brown ink on buff card
Upward sloping signature
Several lines of ornate text

PORTFOLIO Contribute a Photo
Image © & Collection of Brett Payne Image © & Collection of Brett Payne ID #: jstringfellow02
Source: Collection of Brett Payne
Artist: Stringfellow, of Vicar Lane, Chesterfield
Negative No. -
Size: Carte de visite (Mount 61 x 105 mm; Photo 58 x 92.5 mm)
Card Type: Type I - Crown & belt motif.
Date: Undated, probably taken c.1861-1865
Notes: Thin card. Square corners. Painted backdrop shows Chesterfield parish church's "crooked spire" through the window.
Subject: Unidentified woman, possibly in her 50s, full length standing portrait with chair.

Image © & Collection of Brett Payne Image © & Collection of Brett Payne ID #: jstringfellow05
Source: Collection of Brett Payne
Artist: Stringfellow, of Chapel Walk, Fargate, Sheffield
Negative No. -
Size: Carte de visite (Mount 64 x 103.5 mm; Photo 58.5 x 96 mm)
Card Type: Type II - Rampant lion, ribboned text and scrollwork.
Date: Undated, probably taken c.1872-1875
Notes: Square corners.
Subject: Unidentified woman, three-quarter length standing portrait.

Image © & Collection of Brett Payne Image © & Collection of Brett Payne ID #: jstringfellow01
Source: Collection of Brett Payne
Artist: J. Stringfellow, of Chapel Walk, Fargate, Sheffield
Negative No. -
Size: Carte de visite (Mount 63.5 x 106.5 mm; Photo 60 x 97.5 mm)
Card Type: Type III - Signature & ornate text.
Date: Undated, probably taken c.1874-1878
Notes: Square corners.
Subject: Unidentified family group portrait, with two adults (seated) and two young children (standing).

Image courtesy of Castleford Archive, Yorkshire ID #: jstringfellow04
Source: Collection of Castleford Archive, Yorkshire
Artist: Stringfellow, of Sheffield
Negative No. -
Size: Carte de visite
Card Type: Unknown
Date: Undated, probably taken c.1874-1878
Notes:
Subject: Unidentified young man, full length standing portrait.

Image courtesy of Camerafinder.com ID #: jstringfellow03
Source: Collection of Camerafinder.com
Artist: J. Stringfellow, of Chapel Walk, Fargate, Sheffield
Negative No. -
Size: Carte de visite (Mount 62 x 105 mm)
Card Type: Unknown
Date: Undated, probably taken c.1874-1878
Notes: Thin card. Square corners. Plain backdrop.
Subject: Unidentified man and young girl, full length seated/standing portrait.

REFERENCES

Historical Directories from the University of Leicester
Indexed 1841- 1901 Census Images from Ancestry.com
Transcript of the GRO Index from FreeBMD
The Liverpool Mercury, 21 October 1863, 19th Century British Newspapers, from Gale CENGAGE Learning.
The Derby Mercury, 20 July 1864, 19th Century British Newspapers, from Gale CENGAGE Learning.
Adamson, Keith I.P. (1983) Professional Photographers in Sheffield & Rotherham 1843-1900, Bath, England: RPS Historical Group, June 1983.
Adamson, Keith I.P. (1997) Professional Photographers in Derbyshire 1843 - 1914, The PhotoHistorian, No. 118 Supplement, September 1997, ISSN 0957-0209.
Anon (1879) White's Directory of Sheffield, Rotherham, etc.
Anon (1881) Kelly's Directory of West Riding of Yorkshire.
Day, Lance & McNeil, Ian (1996) Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology, Taylor & Francis, 844p. (p. 678.) Google Books.
Harrison, Harrod & Co. (1860) Directory and Gazetteer of Derbyshire, London.
Hunt & Co. (1851) Directory of Dorsetshire, with part of Hants, Wilts & Somerset.
Payne, Brett (2008) John Stringfellow of Chesterfield and Sheffield, Photo-Sleuth blog, 12 May 2008.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Many thanks to Christine Hibbert, Castleford Archive & Camerafinder.com for kind contributions of images and information.


© 2006-2009 Brett Payne unless otherwise stated.