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Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
William Edward Swift

of Derby & Skegness

William Edward was one of two Swift brothers who had photographic studios in Derby.  He briefly operated a studio in St Peter's Street during the late 1880s, after which he moved to Skegness.

Go straight to Portfolio


William Edward Swift was born c. 1852 in Coventry, Warwickshire, and was an older brother of Charles Samuel Swift.  The family moved to Derby between 1871 and 1881.  He married Elizabeth Jane Milton (born c. 1865 Plymouth, Devon) at Derby in 1888, and they had three children.

William Swift operated briefly (early 1880s to c.1888) from a studio at 30 St Peter's Street in Derby.  He opened a new studio in Lumley Road, Skegness by late 1884, in time to have a listing in the 1885 Kelly's trade directory.  A carte de visite dated tentatively from the late 1880s, and showing the addresses in both Skegness and Derby on the reverse (see below), demonstrates that both studios operated simultaneously, the Derby one probably being under the stewardship of a manager.  By the time that the 1891 edition of Kelly's trade directory for Derbyshire was compiled, probably in the latter months of 1890, the studio at 30 St. Peter's Street was occupied by Robert K. Peacock, and it seems likely that Swift disposed of the Derby studio between 1887 and 1890.  At the same time, the business in Skegness appears to have been expanded to include a grocer's shop.

Between 1896 and 1905 William E. Swift was being listed - still at 59 Lumley Road in Skegness - only as a greengrocer, fruiterer and florist, so presumably he had given up photography by late 1895.  He subsequently moved to Drummond Road in Skegness, where the greengrocer's shop was listed until at least 1909.


Portfolio
Photo © Brett Payne & courtesy of David Simkin Reverend Henry Fitzherbert Wright (1833-1880)
by Willm. Ewd. Swift of 30, St. Peter's Street (adjoining Mr. Wm. Newton)
Undated, but probably taken c. 1878-1880
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: 63 x 105 mm (mount) 57 x 94.5 mm (photo)

Card stock printed by Trapp & Münch, Berlin

Photo © Brett Payne & courtesy of David Simkin

"Mr. H. Wright" inscribed faintly in pencil on reverse (see below).

Photo © Brett Payne & courtesy of David Simkin

Photo © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library Reverend Henry Fitzherbert Wright (1833-1880)
by Willm. Ewd. Swift of 30, St. Peter's Street (adjoining Mr. Wm. Newton)
Undated, but probably taken c. 1878-1880
Format: Carte de Visite
Card stock printed by Trapp & Münch, Berlin

Photo © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Notes: Inscribed on the reverse, "Henry Wright. Sec. C.M.S., Died Aug. 1880."  Henry Wright, the son of wealthy land and mine owner Francis Wright (1806-1873) and Selina Fitzherbert (1806-1888), was an Anglican minister who was appointed Secretary of the Church Missionary Society in 1872.  He died tragically by drowning at Lake Coniston in the Lake District in August 1880.
Photo © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

Image © & courtesy of Christine Hibbert Unidentified child
by William Edward Swift,
of 30 St. Peter's Street, Derby,
Undated, but probably c.1884-1888
Format: Carte de Visite
Mount printed by Trapp & Münch, Berlin

Image © & courtesy of Christine Hibbert

Nothing further is known about this photo

Image © & courtesy of Christine Hibbert

Image © & courtesy of Claire Casey Unidentified young woman
by Willm. Ewd. Swift of 30 St. Peter's Street (joining Mr. W, Newton), Derby,
Undated, but probably taken c.1884-1888
Format: Carte de Visite
Mount printed by Trapp & Münch, Berlin

Image © & courtesy of Claire Casey

Notes

Image © & courtesy of Claire Casey

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith Unknown young man,
by William Edward Swift,
of 30 St. Peter's Street, Derby,
Undated, but probably c.1884-1888
Format: Carte de Visite
Mount printed by E.N.M.Co.L.

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith

Nothing further is known about this photo

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith Unidentified young man,
by William Edward Swift,
of 30 St. Peter's Street, Derby,
Undated, but probably c.1884-1888
Format: Carte de Visite
Mount printed by E.N.M.Co.L.

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith

Nothing further is known about this photo

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith

Image © & courtesy of Robin Boyce James Rann Boyce (born 1853 Aston, Birmingham)
by William Edward Swift of 30 St. Peter's Street, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken c.1884-1886
Format: Cabinet card
Size: Mount 110 x 167 mm

Mount printed by E.N.M.Co.L.

Image © & courtesy of Robin Boyce

Notes by RB: My great-grandfather JR Boyce was a grocer in Derby from 1878 until 1881, I am positive, but by the 1891 Census was back in Birmingham.
Notes by BP: Kelly's trade directory for 1887, probably compiled in late 1886, shows an "Alfred Butterworth, grocer," living at 4 Uttoxeter New Road, and no sign of JR Boyce in Derby, suggesting that Boyce had already moved back to Birmingham by this time.

Image © & courtesy of Robin Boyce

Image © & courtesy of Claire Casey Unknown older man,
by Wm. E. Swift of 30 St. Peter's Street, Derby,
Undated, but probably c.1884-1888
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Claire Casey

Notes


Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith Unknown subject,
by William Edward Swift,
of 30 St. Peter's Street, Derby,
Undated, but probably c.1884-1888
Format: Carte de Visite
Mount printed by Trapp & Münch, Berlin

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith

Nothing further is known about this photo

Image © & courtesy of Samantha Smith

Image © & Collection of Brett Payne Unidentified young man,
by William Edward Swift of 30 St. Peter's Street, Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the early to mid-1880s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 64 x 105.5 mm, Photo 57 x 95.5 mm
Mount printed by Trapp & Münch, Berlin

Image © & Collection of Brett Payne

Nothing further is known about this photo

Image © & Collection of Brett Payne

Image © & Collection of Brett Payne Unidentified young man,
by William Edward Swift of 30 St. Peter's Street, Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the early to mid-1880s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 63 x 105 mm, Photo 57
.5 x 95 mm
Mount printed by Trapp & Münch, Berlin

Image © & Collection of Brett Payne

Notes:
Image © & Collection of Brett Payne

Image © & Courtesy of Cynthia Maddock Unidentified young man,
by William Edward Swift of 30 St. Peter's Street, Derby
Undated, but probably taken in the early to mid-1880s
Format: Carte de Visite
Mount printed by Trapp & Münch, Berlin

Image © & Courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Nothing further is known about this photo

Image © & Courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Image © & courtesy of Lynne Ablard Unidentified gentleman,
by William Edward Swift,
of Lumley Road & Avenue, Skegness, & 30 St. Peter's Street, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken c.1885-1889
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Lynne Ablard

Nothing further is known about this photo

Image © & courtesy of Lynne Ablard

Image © & collection of Brett Payne
Unidentified man
by William Edward Swift of Lumley Road & Avenue, Skegness, & 30 St. Peter's Street, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken c.1885-1889
Format: Cabinet card
Size: Mount 107 x 165.5 mm Photo 99.5 x 150.5 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes: The photograph has been stuck over another photo, although the image of the hidden photo cannot be seen.

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & collection of Brett Payne Frederick William Halfpenny 
by William Edward Swift of Lumley Road & Avenue, Skegness, & 30 St. Peter's Street, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken in the early to mid-1880s
Format: Cabinet card
Size: Mount 107 x 163.5 mm Photo 99.5 x 152 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes:  Inscribed on the reverse, "Frederick Wm. Halfpenny, 27th Nov 1883," and a quotation from Aylmer's Field by Tennyson.  Frederick William Halfpenny was born at Derby in 1862, the eldest child of a Post Office employee, Frederick William Halfpenny (1836-1900) senior, and Dorcas Sarah Crespin (1838-1927).  The family moved from Litchurch (Derby) to West Ham (Essex) between 1876 and 1880, when FWH junior was in his mid- to late teens. By April 1881 he was working as a railway clerk in West Ham.  It appears he returned to Derby in the early to mid-1880s, perhaps to visit friends, when this portrait was taken.  He married Mary Elizabeth S. Palmer at West Ham in 1890, was described as an accountant in April 1891, and as a railway clerk again in April 1901, by which time he and his wife had two daughters.
Image © & collection of Brett Payne

References
Image & information kindly provided by Derby Local Studies Library, Robin Boyce, Cynthia Maddock, Claire Casey, Brett Payne, Lynne Ablard, David Simkin, Samantha Smith and Christine Hibbert
1841-1901 UK Census - online from Ancestry.com
FreeBMD
Anon (1885) Kelly's Directory of Lincolnshire, Kelly & Co., London.
Anon (1887) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Kelly & Co., London.
Anon (1889) Kelly's Directory of Lincolnshire, Kelly & Co., London.
Anon (1891) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland, and Nottinghamshire. - from University of Leicester - Digital Library of Historical Directories.
Anon (1896) Kelly's Directory of Lincolnshire, Kelly & Co., London.
Anon (1901) Eastern Counties of England Directory. - from University of Leicester - Digital Library of Historical Directories.
Anon (1905) Kelly's Directory of Lincolnshire, Kelly & Co., London.
Anon (1909) Kelly's Directory of Lincolnshire, Kelly & Co., London.
Craven, Maxwell (ed.) (1993) Keene's Derby, Breedon Books, Derby, pp. 200-202. - by kind courtesy of Sonia Addis-Smith

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