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

of Matlock Bath

William Godber worked as a photographer in the late 1880s and early 1890s.


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William Godber was born in 1853 at Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, son of a locomotive engine fireman Robert Godber (1833-1861) and his wife Elizabeth Barnes.  In early 1861, the family was living in Litchurch, south of Derby, but later that year Robert Godber died.  In 1871, William was working as a grocer and living with his maternal grandparents Thomas & Emily Barnes at 8 Liversage Street, Derby St Peter, while his widowed mother was working as a domestic servant for a retired Indian Army officer in Alvaston, near Derby.  In 1874, William Godber married Edith Crookes at Chesterfield.

The 1881 Census shows William working as a photographer in Hammersmith, London; he may already have been working in the profession for a few years.  By early 1882, when their son James Orton Godber was born, they were in Salford, near Manchester.  In the late 1880s, it seems likely that Godber was working in Matlock Bath, as CDVs marked "The Rink Studio, Matlock Bath" dating from approximately this period are known.  Trade directories show the Matlock Bath Skating Rink in operation in 1887 and 1891.  By April 1891, however, they were back in Litchurch, living at 14 Yale Street, and with William still working as a photographer. A daughter Elizabeth Ellen was born at Sunny Hill, Normanton in late 1893.

The 1901 Census shows William Godber and family living in Newgate Street, Carlton, Nottinghamshire
; he and his son James were both working, on their own accounts, as photographers.  It is possible they moved away from Derbyshire a couple of years earlier - Wright's Directory of Nottingham for 1898-99 shows a Robert William Godber, photographer of 300 Radford Road, Nottingham.

Portfolio
Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Unidentified young man
by William Godber of The Rink Studio, Matlock Bath
Undated, but probably taken c. 1887-1890

Format: Carte-de-visite
Size: Mount 64.5 x 104 mm Photo 59 x 92 mm Padded cameo frame 50.5 x 75 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & collection of Brett Payne
Group of unidentified young men in bowler hats with dog
by William Godber of The Rink Studio, Matlock Bath
Undated, but probably taken c. 1887-1890

Format: Carte-de-visite
Size: Mount 64.5 x 104 mm Photo 61 x 95 mm

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Notes

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

References
Images kindly provided by Brett Payne
1841-1901 UK Census - online from Ancestry.com
FreeBMD
International Genealogical Index - online from the LDS church
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 (1899) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland & Nottinghamshire, Kelly & Co., London. University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories
Anon (1904) Kelly's Directory of Nottinghamshire 1904, University of Leicester's Digital Library of Historical Directories
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

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