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Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
Percy Rowbottom

of Matlock Bath

Percy Rowbottom worked as a photographer in Matlock Bath from at least 1908 to 1912.

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William Percy Rowbottom was born in Derby in 1865.  As a teenager, he worked as a butcher's shop boy in West Derby, Lancashire, but by 1891 he was working as a draper's assistant at Scarthin, Matlock in Derbyshire.  At about this time, he started painting landscapes, perhaps under the tutelage of his uncle, Frederick F. Foottit, who is described as a landscape and figure artist in the 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses.  His mother Ann and uncle Fred were children of Derby attorney & solicitor, James Foottit (1807-).  In 1897, Percy married Edith Mary Baker, who was also an artist, and they settled at Glenmore Cottage, Dale Road, Matlock.

The 1912 Kelly's trade directory listed him as a photographer, operating "by the Royal Hotel, Matlock Bath."  A mounted, large format photo dated 1908 shows him working from a studio in Temple Walk, Matlock Bath, and an example of a postcard has been submitted (see below), probably produced c. 1901-1904 for the tourist industry.

Image © & courtesy of John Palmer
Image © & courtesy of John Palmer
"Three little maids" and onlookers, probably in Derwent Gardens, on the bank of the Derwent River
by Percy Rowbottom of The Studio, Temple Walk, Matlock Bath
Dated (on the reverse) 1908

Format: Other  Size: Mount 250 x 200 mm Photo 150 x 110 mm
Image © & courtesy of John Palmer
Image © & courtesy of John Palmer
Notes: This photograph features on John Palmer's Wirksworth web site, and I am very grateful for his permission to reproduce it here.  John suggests that the three girls dressed in Japanese kimono-style dresses may have been advertising or taking part in "The Mikado," Gilbert & Sullivan's popular light opera, first staged in 1885.

Image © & courtesy of Michael Greatorex
Image © & courtesy of Michael Greatorex
"Royal Museum Petrifying Well"
by Percy Rowbottom of Matlock Bath
Undated, but probably taken before 1904

Format: Post Card
Image © & courtesy of Michael Greatorex

Images & information kindly provided by Michael Greatorex and John Palmer
1841-1901 UK Census - online from
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 (1912) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire 1912, Kelly's Directories Ltd., London.

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