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Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
George H.E. Bower

of Derby

George Bower operated as a photographer in Derby, probably only for a very brief period in the late 1890s.


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George Henry Everard Bower was born in 1869 at Syderstone, Norfolk, son of an Anglican minister Everard Hollier Spring Bower (1831-1893) and his wife Selina Asenath Flower (c1833-1899).  From 1871 until 1877, his father was Rector of St Michael Coslany in Norfolk, and then from 1878 until 1886 he was Vicar of Ringland, also in Norfolk. By 1891, his father had retired and was living in Heigham, Norfolk, while George was a student of music.  Shortly afterwards the family moved to the village of Ockbrook, near Derby, where Everard Bower died in 1893.  They remained there until at least 1895, when George's younger sister Charlotte died.  Between then and late 1898, when the 1899 edition of Kelly's trade directory was compiled, they must have moved into Derby itself, as the directory gives Mrs. Bower's address as 200 Osmaston road, Derby.  However, she died later that year, and by the time of the 1901 Census, in April, George was living with his three remaining sisters, all unmarried, at 200 Osmaston road.  George Bower's profession is shown as a "professor of music."

A single carte de visite is known from this photographer, with a simple printed card mount demonstrating that he was operating from home in Osmaston road.  From the clothing it appears that the portrait, an ordinary, but quite competent, school or class photograph, was taken in the late 1890s.  It has a written number (347) on the front, which is presumably a negative number.  On the reverse, however, a caption written in two different hands identifies it as "Cunningham School Class / High St, Lowestoft, Suffolk, England,"  which suggests that Bower was moving quite far afield to ply his trade.  As no other mentions of his working as a photographer have been found, it seems likely that he did not work in this profession for very long.  Perhaps he tried his hand at it while developing a reputation as a music teacher.

Portfolio
Image © & courtesy of Robin Bishop
Image © & courtesy of Robin Bishop
Class photograph at Cunningham School, High Street, Lowestoft, Suffolk
by G.H.E. Bower of 200 Osmaston Road, Derby, Undated, but probably taken in the late 1890s

Format: Carte-de-visite
Image © & courtesy of
Robin Bishop
Notes: Robin Bishop's grandmother Emilie Sewell is seated in the front row, second from the right, and marked with an X on the margin of the mount.  She was born at Norwich in 1889, daughter of Edward Sewell and Emily Martin, but moved to Lowestoft when young. She emigrated to New Zealand with her widowed father in the early 1900s.  She marked herself in this photograph with the X.

References
Images kindly provided by Robin Bishop
1841-1901 UK Census - online from Ancestry.com
FreeBMD
International Genealogical Index - online from the LDS church
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 (1899) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland & Nottinghamshire, Kelly & Co., London. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories
Anon (1912) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire 1912, Kelly's Directories Ltd., London.

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