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Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
William Brentnall Pearson (1827-1885) 

of 17 & 26½ St. Peter's St, Derby

William Brentnall Pearson operated studios at 17 St. Peter's Church Yard and 26½ St. Peter's Street from 1858 until 1885.


Go straight to Portfolio


William Brentnall Pearson was born in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, and baptised as William Brentnall on 28 January 1827, eldest son of William Brentnall and Mary Pearson. He married Mary Ann Merriman (1828-1878) at Derby in 1849, and by 1851 they were living at Court 7, Bridge Gate, Derby St Alkmund, where he was working as a chimney sweep.  It is interesting that he had started to use his mother's surname by this time.

According to Adamson (1997), William Pearson started working as a photographer from 17 St. Peter's Church Yard in 1858.  The 1861 census shows him as both chimney sweep and photographic artist.  Electoral registers and census records show this address variously as 14, 17 or 18 St. Peter's churchyard.  He continued living and working at this location until about 1871. By late 1873 or 1874, he had moved to 26½ (or
25½) St. Peter's Street, at the back of the studio of J. Roberts (at No. 26), while the electoral registers show his residence at 1 Court, 3 St Peter's Street until 1878.

Mary Ann Pearson died in 1878, and William remarried two years later, to Mary Ann Walker of Nottingham.  He died in late 1885.

Portfolio
Image © & collection of Brett Payne
Unidentified woman and young boy
by Pearson of 17 St. Peter's Church Yard, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1860s
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Nothing further is known about this photograph

Image © & collection of Brett Payne

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Unidentified woman
probably taken at the studio of William Pearson, of 17 St. Peter's Church Yard, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1860s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 65.5 x 103.5 mm Photo 58.5 x 96.5

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin


Notes:  Although not marked as by Pearson, this cdv was in the same album as the one by Pearson of a younger woman immediately below this one.  It has the same curtain and chair as a portrait of the young woman (see below), and a similar, although not identical, carpet.  The painted backdrop is probably the same one seen in an earlier, unrelated, portrait (see above).  The same table, tablecloth, vase of flowers, carpet, painted backdrop and curtain appear in another photograph of a child from the same album (see below).
Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Unidentified young woman
by Pearson of 17 St. Peter's Church Yard, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1860s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 62 x 97 mm (trimmed at base) Photo 56 x 93.5

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Notes:
Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Unidentified woman
by Pearson of 17 St. Peter's Church Yard, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1860s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 64 x 105.5 mm Photo 58 x 96.5

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Notes:
Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Unidentified couple
by Pearson of 17 St. Peter's Church Yard, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken in the mid- to late 1860s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 65 x 103.5 mm Photo 58.5 x 96

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Notes:
Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin Unidentified girl
by Pearson of 17 St. Peter's Church Yard, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken in the mid-1860s
Format: Carte de Visite
Size: Mount 62 x 105.5 mm Photo 57 x 95.5

Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Notes:
Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock Unidentified woman and child
by Pearson of 17 St. Peter's Church Yard, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken around 1868-1870
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Notes
Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Image © & courtesy of Christine Hibbert Unidentified man
by Pearson of 17 St. Peter's Church Yard, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken around 1868-1870
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Christine Hibbert

Nothing further is known about this photograph

Image © & courtesy of Christine Hibbert

Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock Unidentified man with a beard
by Pearson of 17 St. Peter's Church Yard, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken in the early to mid-1870s
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Notes
Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock Unidentified older woman
by Pearson of 17 St. Peter's Church Yard, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken around 1870-1873
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Notes
Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock Unidentified man with beard
by Pearson of 17 St. Peter's Church Yard, Derby,
Undated, but probably taken around 1870-1873
Format: Carte de Visite

Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

Notes
Image © & courtesy of Cynthia Maddock

References
Images provided by Nigel Aspdin, Cynthia Maddock, Brett Payne and Christine Hibbert
FreeBMD
International Genealogical Index - online from the LDS church
1841-1901 UK Census - online from Ancestry.com
Derby Electoral Registers 1874-1885
Wright C.N. (1874) Directory of South Derbyshire, Third Edition, October 1874, Derby.

Anon (1881) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, Kelly & Co., 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

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