Classic cdv Gallery 1

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John Wright Gilmor of Colchester

Carte-de-visite portraits by J. W. Gilmor of 29 Head Street, Colchester

[ABOVE] The trade plate of  John Wright Gilmor, Photographer, 29 Head Street, Colchester (c1865)

[ABOVE] John Wright Gilmor listed as a milliner & haberdasher at 29 Head Street, Colchester in the 1855 edition of Kelly's Directory of Colchester.

[ABOVE] John Wright Gilmor listed as a professional photographer at 29 Head Street, Colchester in the Trades Section  of Kelly's Directory of Essex (1874)

John Wright Gilmor (c1815-1898)

John Wright Gilmor was born in Norwich, Norfolk, in 1814 or 1815, the son of Sarah and William Gilmor, a boot and shoemaker of Magdalen Street, Norwich. The birth of a boy named John Wright Gilmor was recorded in Norwich on 19th November 1810 and 25th June 1813 (1815?), both the children of Sarah and Elizabeth Gilmor. The first child died young and was buried on 8th November 1813. It is likely that John Wright Gilmor was born in Norwich on 25th June 1815 and the year of birth has been mistakenly transcribed as "1813". All other primary sources indicate a year of birth of 1815. John Wright Gilmor's parents were members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) and he attended Ackworth School, a Quaker boarding school in West Yorkshire.

On 17th December 1843, John Wright Gilmor married Maria Bolton (born c1822, Colchester, Essex), a twenty-one year old milliner, at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, London. After their marriage, the couple settled in Maria's home town of Colchester, where John Wright Gilmor established himself as a linen draper at 17 Head Street. During their 12 year marriage, Mrs Maria Gilmor gave birth to at least 6 children, few of whom survived infancy - Charles Howard (1845-1848), Frederick William (1847-1854), Henry Wright Gilmor (born 1849), Lavinia Gilmor (born 1851), George Norris (died 1853), Arthur (1853-1854), Alfred John (1854-1854) and Louisa Maria Gilmor (1855-1855). When the 1851 census was taken, John Wright Gilmor was recorded with his wife and three young children - Frederick (4), Henry (2) and Lavinia (1) at 17 Head Street, Colchester. On the census return, John W. Gilmor is described as a 36 year old "Linen Draper". John Gilmor's wife, Mrs Maria Gilmor, is entered on the census return as a 29 year old "Milliner". John Gilmor must have been doing reasonably well with his drapery business as he was employing two domestic servants - a nurse maid and a general house servant. Gilmor's premises in Head Street probably incorporated a hat-making business as his household was shared by a twenty-eight year old milliner named Martha Pratt.

Early in 1855, John Wright Gilmor's thirty-three year old wife, Maria, died, possibly in childbirth (both Mrs Maria Gilmor and a new born baby, christened Louisa Maria Gilmor, died during the 1st Quarter of 1855). The following year, on 16th March 1856, at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, London, John Wright Gilmor married Mary Ann Beaumont (born c1817, Colchester, Essex). The couple's daughter, Mary Ann Gilmor, was born in Colchester during the 4th Quarter of 1856. It appears that sometime between the death of his wife early in 1855 and his second marriage in 1856, John Wright Gilmor established new business premises at 29 Head Street, Colchester. In their book The Magic Boxes: Professional Photographers and their Studios in North Essex 1845-1937, David & John Appleby report that local trade directories published between 1855 and 1898 record John Wright Gilmor as a "milliner, haberdasher, photographer and artist and picture dealer" at 29 Head Street, Colchester.

David & John Appleby in their survey of Professional Photographers and their Studios in North Essex 1845-1937 note that John Wright Gilmor emerged as a professional photographer in Colchester during the early 1860s: "By 1862 ... Mr J. W. Gilmor had begun to abandon his milliner's trade for the lure of the new business. A photograph taken twenty five years later in 1887 shows Gilmor standing in the doorway of his studio, resplendent in stiff collar with a huge white whiskered beard". In their Directory of Photographic Studios and Professional Photographers in North Essex, David & John Appleby list John Wright Gilmor as a professional photographer at 29 Head Street, Colchester, from 1864 until 1898.

John Wright Gilmor died in Colchester during the 2nd Quarter of 1898, aged 83.

 

Carte-de-visite portraits by J. W. Gilmor of 29 Head Street, Colchester

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a seated man, photographed by John Wright Gilmor of 29 Head Street, Colchester (c1862). [ABOVE] The trade plate of photographer John Wright Gilmor of 29 Head Street, Colchester as printed on the reverse of a carte-de-visite produced around 1862. [ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a woman seated in a chair, photographed by John Wright Gilmor of 29 Head Street, Colchester (c1862). [ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a young man seated in a chair, photographed by John Wright Gilmor of 29 Head Street, Colchester (c1862).

[ABOVE] The trade plate of photographer John Wright Gilmor of 29 Head Street, Colchester as printed on the reverse of a carte-de-visite produced around 1865. [ABOVE] A double portrait of a young woman and her bearded husband, photographed by John Wright Gilmor of 29 Head Street, Colchester (c1865). [ABOVE] A full-length portrait of a young woman standing by a chair, photographed by John Wright Gilmor of 29 Head Street, Colchester (c1863). [ABOVE] A full-length portrait of a young woman in profile, photographed by John Wright Gilmor of 29 Head Street, Colchester (c1864).
[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a man holding a light-coloured top hat, photographed by John Wright Gilmor of 29 Head Street, Colchester. This carte-de-visite dates from around 1870, but the original photographic portrait  was probably taken around 1862 and copied from the negative some years later. [ABOVE] The trade plate of photographer John Wright Gilmor of 29 Head Street, Colchester as printed on the reverse of a carte-de-visite portrait produced around 1870. [See the portrait of the man on the left]. The photograph is a copy of an earlier portrait probably taken around 1862. The back informs customers: "Negatives kept. Copies can always be had". [ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a young soldier in uniform, photographed by John Wright Gilmor of 29 Head Street, Colchester (c1872). An illustration from The Magic Boxes: Professional Photographers and their Studios in North Essex 1845-1937 by David & John Appleby. [ABOVE] The trade plate of photographer John Wright Gilmor of 29 Head Street, Colchester as printed on the reverse of an album (carte-de-visite) portrait produced around 1872. [See the cdv portrait on the left]. An illustration from The Magic Boxes by David & John Appleby.
 

Carte-de-visite portrait of Phoebe Deadman by J. W. Gilmor, Photographer of 29 Head Street, Colchester

[ABOVE] The trade plate of photographer  John Wright Gilmor, 29 Head Street, Colchester taken from carte-de-visite portrait of Phoebe Deadman [See the cdv portrait on the right]

[PHOTO: COURTESY OF ROB HYLAND]

[ABOVE] Phoebe Deadman (born 1848, Sonning, Berks.), a carte-de-visite photograph taken around 1870 by John Wright Gilmor of Head Street, Colchester.

[PHOTO: COURTESY OF ROB HYLAND]

[ABOVE] Phoebe Deadman (born 1848, Sonning, Berks.), a detail taken from a carte-de-visite photograph by J. W. Gilmor of Head Street, Colchester (c1870).

[PHOTO: COURTESY OF ROB HYLAND]

Phoebe Deadman was born in Sonning, Berkshire in 1848, the daughter of Faith and William Deadman, an agricultural  labourer. On 27th December 1871, Phoebe Deadman, described on the marriage certificate as a spinster of 25 Great Russell Street, Brighton, married William Taylor, a twenty-one year old "Fitter & Turner" of Islington, Middlesex. Mrs Phoebe Taylor, who eventually became the proprietor of a laundry, travelled widely during her married life. Phoebe's daughter, Julia Alice Taylor was born in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1876 and her son, Archie Bertram Ernest Taylor, was born in Australia in January 1887. By 1901, Mrs Phoebe Taylor and her two children were living in England. Mrs Phoebe Taylor (formerly Deadman) died in Birmingham during the 2nd Quarter of 1928 at the age of 79.

 
Another portrait of Phoebe Deadman, a carte-de-visite by Henry Spink of 109 Western Road, Brighton, can be viewed by clicking on the link below:

Phoebe Deadman, a carte-de-visite by Henry Spink of 109 Western Road, Brighton

 

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Acknowledgements

The Magic Boxes: Professional Photographers and their Studios in North Essex 1845-1937 by David & John Appleby. Thanks to Rob Hyland for providing John Wright Gilmor's carte-de-visite portrait of Phoebe Deadman and for supplying family history information relating to Phoebe Deadman and her family.

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