Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   
Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
Robert Bull Senior & Robert Bull Junior

of Railway station, Ashbourne

Robert Bull and subsequently his nephew, another Robert Bull, operated several studios in Ashbourne - Sturston Lane, Railway Station, Compton and Victoria Square, Butcher's Row - between 1876 and 1913, although it is not clear whether any of these premises were operated simultaneously.


Go straight to Portfolio


Robert Bull was born c. 1839 at Ashbourne, Derbyshire, the third of six children (and eldest son) of Robert Fletcher Bull senior (c. 1807-1886) and his wife Helen (c. 1811-1857), a joiner, cabinet maker and builder from nearby Compton.  As a young man he followed his father - and grandfather before him - into the carpentry trade, and was listed with his younger brother Henry as a "joiner & cabinet maker" in the April 1871 Census.  By 1874 however, when Wright's trade directory gave the listing, "Bull Rt. joiner and bldr, and newsagt, Sturston rd. Ashbourne", they had obviously opened up a shop.  Adamson (1997) shows Robert Bull, presumably Robert junior, working from premises in Sturston road from 1876 to 1878, so he seems to have started the photographic sideline in 1876.

The April 1881 census and Kelly's trade directory listing for the same year (probably compiled in late 1880) also provide evidence of Robert Bull junior working as a photographer; he is shown as a photographer, general dealer, and a stationer.  Although they were living at the Sturston road address
, the premises of the shop are shown at "Railway station, Ashbourne".  By this time, Henry Bull had begun the process of taking over the carpentry and building business from his father, although the latter was still working.  Robert Bull senior died in 1886.  Robert Bull junior remained unmarried and continued to live in Sturston road with his two elder sisters, both spinsters, until at least 1895.  Between 1895 and 1899, they probably opened additional premises at Compton.  Certainly by April 1901 they were living in Compton Street.  One of the sisters, Elizabeth Bull (born c. 1837) is shown in successive censuses as a general shop woman (1881), a shop assistant (1891), and finally as a photographer's assistant in 1901.

By April 1891 Henry Bull's eldest son, another Robert, had started working as an assistant in the photographic studio, as is demonstrated by the census record.  Ten years later he was living in Friern Barnet (near Finchley) in Middlesex, where the census shows him working as a photographer bromide enlarger.  By 1904, however, he had returned to Ashbourne and was working with his uncle.  Post card portraits and directory entries (Adamson, 1997) for the period 1904 to 1913 show the business as "R. & R. Bull, Ashbourne", with premises at Victoria Square (1904-1908) and Victoria Studio,
Butcher's Row (1905-1913), the latter previously operated by J.L. Hart from at least 1895 to 1900.

Portfolio
Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan Unidentified woman
by Robert Bull of Sturston Lane, Ashbourne
Undated, but probably taken c. 1876-1878 

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan


Notes:
Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan

Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan Unidentified man with beard
by Robert Bull of Sturston Lane, Ashbourne
Undated, but probably taken
c. 1876-1878
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan

Notes:
Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan

Image © & collection of Brett Payne Unidentified woman and child
by Robert Bull of "Adjoining the Railway Station" (Residence: Sturston Road), Ashbourne
Undated, but probably taken
in the mid- to late 1880s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 63 x 104 mm Photo 54.5 x 91 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne


Notes:
Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & courtesy of Martin Jackson Unidentified woman
by Robert Bull of Ashbourne
Undated, but probably taken in the early 1890s 

Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Martin Jackson

Notes:

Image © & collection of Brett Payne
Unidentified young woman
by R. of Ashbourne
Undated, but probably taken in the late 1890s or early 1900s 

Format: Carte de Visite, with bevelled gilt edges
Size: Mount 64 x 106.5 mm Photo 58 x 89.5 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Nothing further is known about this photograph.
Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & courtesy of Martin Jackson Unidentified couple
by R. & R. Bull of the Victoria Studio, Ashbourne
Undated, but probably taken c. 1905-1907 

Format: Cabinet Card

Image © & courtesy of Martin Jackson


Nothing further is known about this photograph.

Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock Harriet Elizabeth Barker (1908-1998)
by R. & R. Bull of Ashbourne
Undated, but probably taken in 1912

Format: Post Card
Size:
85.5 mm x 134.5 mm

Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock


Notes: see Photo-Sleuth article
Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Image © & courtesy of Derek Smith
Frederick Lomas of Derby (1892-1934)
taken by R. & R. Bull of Ashbourne
Undated, but probably taken c. 1914-15

Format: Post Card
Size:
86.4 mm x 133 mm

Image © & courtesy of  Derek Smith

Nothing further is known about this photo.

Image © & courtesy of Derek Smith

Image © & courtesy of Rob Jennings Mary Williams Bentley
taken by R. & R. Bull of Ashbourne
Dated on the reverse, July 1917

Format: Post Card

Image © & courtesy of Rob Jennings

Notes
Image © & courtesy of Rob Jennings

Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan Unidentified young woman reading
From the Studio of R. & R. Bull, Ashbourne
Undated, but probably taken in the late 1910s or early 1920s 

Format: Silver gelatin (?) print, mounted on large embossed card
Size: Mount 190 x 232.5 mm Photo 100 x 145 mm

Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan

Notes:
Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan

Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan George Redfern Holmes (1898-1928) and Annie Holmes with their daughter Irene Holmes (born 1921)
probably attributable to R. & R. Bull of Ashbourne
Undated, but taken in c. November-December 1921 

Format: Postcard

Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan

Notes:  Inscribed on the reverse, "Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year."  The studio backdrop is identical to that shown in the photo shown above, from the same source, of a young woman reading, and was therefore almost certainly also taken by R. & R. Bull of Ashbourne.

Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan George Redfern Holmes (1898-c.1928)
probably attributable to R. & R. Bull of Ashbourne
Undated, but taken in late 1921, and possibly printed later from original negative

Format: Mounted print

Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan

Notes:  This photo is an enlarged version of a portion of the post card print shown above.  It was not copied from the above print, and was probably produced from the original negative, perhaps after the death of the subject c. 1928.

Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan Probably Annie Holmes
probably attributable to R. & R. Bull of Ashbourne
Undated, but probably taken in the mid- to late 1920s

Format: Print
Size: 80 x 125 mm

Image © & courtesy of Jo Bevan

Notes:  Although it has no identifying studio marks, this portrait once again appears to use the same backdrop shown in two earlier portraits of this family by the studio of R. & R. Bull.  JB believes this to be her grandmother Annie Holmes, slightly later than the earlier two photographs.

References
Images kindly provided by Cynthia Maddock, Rob Jennings, Jo Bevan, Brett Payne, Martin Jackson & Derek Smith
1881 UK Census - online from the LDS church
1871, 1891 & 1901 UK Census - online from Ancestry.com
FreeBMD
Bagshaw (1846) History, Gazetteer and Directory of Derbyshire. Collection of Brett Payne.
White, F. & Co. (1857) History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Derby. Transcribed by Neil Wilson.
Harrison, Harrod & Co. (1860) Directory and Gazetteer of Derbyshire, London.
Anon (1870) J.G. Harrod & Co.'s Postal & Commercial Directory of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland & Staffordshire. - from University of Leicester - Digital Library of Historical Directories.
Wright C.N. (1874) Directory of South Derbyshire, Third Edition, October 1874, Derby.
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
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.
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.
Craven, Maxwell (ed.) (1993) Keene's Derby, Breedon Books, Derby, pp. 200-202. - by kind courtesy of Sonia Addis-Smith

Home Page
Index to Photographers
Photographer Profiles
Contribute an Image
South Derbyshire Genealogy

Back to the Top


If you have found the resources on this web site useful in your research, please support the maintenance of the site and the addition of new resources by using the GenDesk QueryBoard & Chat Room for your genealogy problems and brickwalls.

© 2002-2005 Brett Payne All Rights Reserved