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Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
George & James Watterson

of Wirksworth

George Watterson and his son James operated a studio in Wirksworth from the early 1890s until at least the mid-1900s.

Go straight to Portfolio


George Watterson was born at Wirksworth and baptised there on 15 September 1844, second son of a dyer James Watterson (1812-1846) and his wife Elizabeth Roe (1815-1888).  His father died in 1846, when George, an older brother and a younger sister were still very young, and their mother went to work in a tape manufacturing warehouse.  George became a clerk to a grocer and spirit merchant in his teens, and continued working as a commercial clerk until 1891, when he described himself in the census of that year as an unemployed bookkeeper.  George Watterson married Fanny Clarke at West Derby, Liverpool in early 1871.  They eventually had five children, including a son James, who was born in early 1878.

It was probably shortly after 1891 that George Watterson started working as a photographer, because the 1895 Kelly's trade directory shows him with a studio at Bailey Croft terrace in Wirksworth.  In 1899 he was also proprietor of the Cheshire Cheese Public House at North end.  However, by April 1901 his son James Watterson, then aged 23, appears to have taken over the photographic studio, while George was the caretaker of the Town Hall.

Image © Herbert Brooks & courtesy of John Palmer
Advert from a local Western Derbyshire newspaper, dated 1900
James was obviously working in the trade a little earlier than this, as a second edition of the book "Wirksworth and Five Miles Around," by R.R. Hackett, containing six photographic views by James Watterson, was published in 1899 (John Palmer, pers. comm.).

A 1900 advertisement (see above) and Kelly's 1912 directory shows James as a musical instrument dealer on Coldwell street, Wirksworth, suggesting that photography was perhaps not his primary occupation.  A picture of Crich Cliff and Stand (built in 1923) by him on the Picture the Past web site shows that he was still operating in the early 1920s.


Portfolio
Image © & courtesy of Graham Robinson Elizabeth Potter (1903-1993)
taken by James Watterson at the New Studio, Wirksworth, Undated, but probably c. 1906
Format: Cabinet Card

Image © & courtesy of Graham Robinson

Notes: Elizabeth Potter was a daughter of Edward Robinson Potter and Annie Maria Street, and married Ernest Butlin in 1925.


References
Image & information kindly provided by Graham Robinson
1851-1901 Census of Wirksworth by John Palmer on his Wirksworth web site
Hackett, R.R. (1899) Wirksworth and Five Miles Around (2nd Edition), courtesy of John Palmer and his Wirksworth web site.
Wirksworth Parish Registers & Memorial Inscriptions by John Palmer on his Wirksworth web site

FreeBMD
International Genealogical Index - online from the LDS church
North East Midland Photographic Record - Picture the Past
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 (1899) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Kelly & Co. Limited, London. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories
Anon (1912) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Kelly & Co. Limited, London. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories
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.

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