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Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
Joseph Roberts

of Draycott-in-the-Clay, Sudbury & Stoke-on-Trent

Joseph Roberts worked as a photographer in Draycott-in-the-Clay, Sudbury and Stoke-on-Trent between 1860 and 1870.  From 1871 until the late 1890s he appears to only have worked as a publican, but he returned to photography briefly around 1901.

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Joseph Roberts was baptized at Cubley, Derbyshire on 19 Jun 1836, eldest of three children of John Roberts, a carrier, and his first wife Ann.  His mother died when he was still young, and his father remarried, having a further two daughters.  Joseph became a cordwainer, but by April 1861 he was also working as a photographer.  He had by this time married and moved to the village of Draycott-in-the-Clay, nearby, but across the county border in Staffordshire.  He appears to have continued using the photography as a sideline until at least 1870, when Harrod's directory lists him as a beer retailer & photographer.  The census of April 1871, however, shows him merely as a beer house keeper, living at Lichfield road, Draycott-in-the-Clay.  I have found no records of him working as a photographer between then and 1900; census records indicate that he was still a publican, at first "The Swan" (1881) and then at the "Roe Buck" Inn (1891).  However, the census of April 1901 once again lists him as a photographer.  The single example of  CDV (see below) suggests that in the late 1860s he perhaps operated a travelling studio between the villages of Draycott-in-the-Clay (Staffs), Sudbury (Derbyshire) and the town of Stoke-on-Trent.

Joseph Roberts married Frances in about 1855, his first child - a daughter - being born at Cubley in 1856.  They moved to Draycott shortly after, and had two more children there.  Their only son Edward Henry Roberts, who was born in 1858, became a blacksmith, and in the 1880s took over proprietorship of "The Swan."

Image © & courtesy of Sally Betts
Possibly Elizabeth Allcock née Leason (1806-1893)
by J. Roberts of Draycott in the Clays, Sudbury & Stoke on Trent
Undated, but probably taken in the late 1860s

Format: Carte-de-visite
Size: 60 mm x 105 mm

Image © & courtesy of Sally Betts

Notes by SB: We think this is my great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Allcock (née Leason) born 1806 in Church Broughton and died 1893 in Darlington Co. Durham. She lived all her life in and around Church Broughton and Boylestone until shortly before her death when she moved to Darlington to live with a daughter.
Notes by BP:   It seems likely that the subject travelled to Roberts' studio for this portrait, either in Sudbury or Draycott, as both villages were only a few miles from Church Broughton & Boylestone.

Image © & courtesy of Sally Betts

Images kindly provided by Sally Betts
1841 & 1861 Derbyshire Census - CDROM published by ArchiveCD Books
1851 Census Index, publ. by the Derbyshire Family History Society

1881 UK Census - online from the LDS church
1871, 1891 & 1901 UK Census - online from
International Genealogical Index - online from the LDS church
Bagshaw (1846) History, Gazetteer and Directory of Derbyshire. Collection of Brett Payne.
Anon (1870) Harrod & Co.'s Postal & Commercial Directory of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland & Staffordshire, from University of Leicester - Digital Library of Historical Directories.
Anon (1896) Kelly's Directory of Staffordshire, from University of Leicester - Digital Library of Historical Directories.
Anon (1904) Kelly's Directory of Staffordshire, from University of Leicester - Digital Library of Historical Directories.

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