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Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
George Henry Swift

of Chapel-en-le-Frith

G.H. Swift operated a studio in Chapel-en-le-Frith for a few years in the late 1870s and early 1880s.


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George Henry Swift was born at Gamesley, near Glossop, in 1846, one of six children of stone mason John Swift and his wife Sarah.  He married Maria Penelope Whiteley (1847-1880) at Huddersfield in 1868, and they settled in the town of Chapel-en-le-Frith, where George was a licensed victualler, owning the Shoulder of Mutton Inn.  They had six children before Maria died in 1880.  George remarried in 1886, to Sarah Ann Harrison, who bore him another two sons.

In his early teens George worked as an accountant's clerk in Lockwood, Yorkshire.  However, by the time of the 1871 Census, he was an innkeeper and victualler.  In 1881, by which time he was widowed, the census shows that he briefly worked as a "photographist" and the carte de visite shown below is probably from a few years earlier.  By 1887, however, he had become a political agent (directory entries show him as a Conservative registration agent) living in Belper, and then in the 1901 Census, he described himself as a musical instrument dealer. In the 1881 Kelly's trade directory, G.H. Swift was listed as "secretary to the agricultural society, & rate collector" - he was, no doubt, a man of many talents.  It is interesting that in 1891, he was living in Campbell Street, adjacent to photographer Jacob Schmidt.

Portfolio
Image © & collection of Brett Payne
Unidentified elderly woman
by G.H. Swift of Chapel-en-le-Frith
Undated, but probably taken c. 1875-1878

Format: Carte-de-visite
Size: Mount 63 x 103.5 mm Photo 56 x 94.5 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes: The clothing worn by this elderly woman is characteristic of the early 1870s, but the rounded corners suggest a slightly later date, perhaps in the middle of the decade

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & courtesy of Ann Taylor Image © & courtesy of Ann Taylor
Parish church & churchyard of St Edmund, Castleton, Derbyshire
by G.H. Swift of Chapel-en-le-Frith
Undated, but probably taken c. 1875-1878

Format: Carte-de-visite

Image © & courtesy of Ann Taylor

Notes: see Photo-Sleuth article

References
Images provided by Ann Taylor & Brett Payne
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

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