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Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
Joshua Evans (1831-1907)

of Bradwell

Although he worked principally as an optical instrument maker and later as an oil and colour dealer, Joshua Evans briefly operated a photographic studio in Bradwell in the late 1860s.

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Joshua Evans was born at Bradwell, Derbyshire in 1833, the eldest son of a lead miner Robert Evans (1811-1874) and his wife Sarah Barber (1811-1881).  Sarah Barber was an aunt of Frederick Barber, who later became a prominent photographer in Sheffield & Matlock.  Joshua started off by following his father into the mining industry, and at the time of the 1851 Census he was working as a lead miner.  In the same census, however, Joshua's younger brother Stephen - then aged 14 - was described as an apprentice optician, and Joshua himself followed suit soon after.  Both worked for their uncle Isaac Barber, another brother of Sarah Barber and husband to Margaret Evans, who was sister to Robert Evans.  Isaac Barber, possibly after an initial apprenticeship in Sheffield, had opened up a business in Bradwell in 1850 to manufacture telescopes, opera glasses & possibly camera lenses.  His apprentices included Stephen, Isaac and Joshua Evans, who eventually opened their own business, "Evans Bros." in an old hat factory belonging to another uncle, the wealthy and locally well known hat-manufacturer, William Evans.

Joshua married Hannah Greaves on 11 Jul 1859 and their first child Alwin/Alvin Wilson Evans was born at Bradwell in April 1860.  By the time of the census a year later, Joshua was working as an optician and living in the household of his mother-in-law at Smalldale, a hamlet in Bradwell parish.

They continued living at Bradwell until at least 1867, but by the April 1871 census they had moved to Sheffield in Yorkshire, where daughter Louisa was born in 1874.  Family member Peter Evans (pers comm) believes that new machinery and industrial methods of manufacture had made it impractical for the Evans Brothers to continue meeting governement contracts.  The census of April 1881 shows them living at Vicar Lane, Sheffield, with Joshua now working as the manager of an "Oil and Colour Warehouse."  They later moved to 38 Glover Road in nearby Eccleshall Bierlow, where Joshua described himself as a "traveller" - presumably a salesman in todays terminology - in April 1891.  Joshua & Hannah Evans had returned to live in Bradwell by 1901, where he was once again an "Oil & Colour Dealer."

Image © & courtesy of Peter Evans
Sarah Evans née Barber (1811-1881)  Portrait almost certainly by Joshua Evans c. 1869 at Bradwell
Image © & courtesy of Peter Evans
Image © & courtesy of Peter Evans It is not clear exactly how long Joshua Evans operated a photographic studio in Bradwell.  Adamson (1997) only gives a date of 1869.  It is perhaps worth noting that Joshua's cousin, Frederick Barber, had returned from London to Sheffield in about 1867, and opened a studio there, perhaps influencing Joshua's brief foray into photography.

Joshua Evans died at Bradwell on 19 October 1907.  He had been a local Methodist preacher in Bradwell and Sheffield for over thirty years.
Image © & courtesy of Peter Evans
Stephen Evans, brother of Joshua Evans - Artist unknown
Image © & courtesy of Peter Evans
Maurice Evans, nephew of Joshua Evans
Artist unknown
Image © & courtesy of Peter Evans

Portfolio
Image © & courtesy of John Bradley Two unidentified gentlemen
by Joshua Evans of Bradwell
Undated, but probably taken in the late 1860s
Format: Carte-de-visite

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Nothing further is known about this photo

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley William Bocking (1782-1869)
by Joshua Evans of Bradwell
Undated, but probably taken in the late 1860s
Format: Carte-de-visite

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Notes:  This gentleman has been tentatively identified as William Bocking, a Wesleyan Sunday School teacher from Bradwell, by Andre Hallam, to whom I am very grateful.  William Bocking, son of William Bocking (1753-1820) and Hannah Hill (1757-1824), was the Sunday School Superintendant of the Wesleyan Church in Bradwell for over 60 Years.  He married Alice Dearnley (1784-1821) in 1806, and they had nine children.  Further information regarding Andre's identification of this gentleman, and further clarification by Peter Evans, may be found in my Photo-Sleuth article.

Image © & courtesy of John Bradley

Image © & collection of Brett Payne
Image © & collection of Brett Payne
Unidentified haymakers, by J. Evans, possibly Joshua Evans of Bradwell
Undated, but probably taken in the late 1860s or early 1870s
Format: Carte-de-visite  Size: Mount 106 x 63.5 mm Photo 97.5 x 57 mm
Image © & collection of Brett Payne

References
Images and information provided by Andre Hallam, Brett Payne, Peter Evans and John Bradley
1841-1901 UK Census - online from Ancestry.com
FreeBMD
International Genealogical Index - online from the LDS church
North West Derbyshire Sources - by Marjorie Ward
White, F. & Co. (1857) History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Derby. Transcribed by Neil Wilson.
Derbyshire Wills: 1525-1928 by Michael Spencer on John Palmer's Wirksworth web site

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