This posting has little to do with hunting although it is very likely that one of the members of this trio (J. Lowe) photographed Joe Bowman. It tells the story of three remarkable photographers, overlooked by history, men who lived in Lakeland and probably never met but in their own way were pioneers in the developing field of photography. With the beginnings of the tourist industry entrepreneurial photographers sold postcards and pictures to be taken home as a souvenir of the holiday or visit. These men were part of this industry.
Beginning with Moses Bowness by Sue Premru whose web site can be found at http://susanpremru.webplus.net and is well worth a visit.
Following on from Moses Bowness comes George T. Hutchinson of Millom, in a piece written by his great niece Jean Gidman, who has kindly donated some photographs, and finally J. Lowe of Patterdale by Liz Hodgson.
When the 64-year-old Moses Bowness met his death in a carriage accident on a steep bend going down to the Sawrey/Windermere ferry in 1894, his family, and Ambleside, had lost a remarkable man.
In his way he was the personification of the drive and enterprise shown by many Victorians in the middle of the 19th Century who were inspired by the growing industrialisation of England and the tenets of Self Help. From his birth into a copper-miner’s family in Coniston he had, by then, built the largest photography business in Ambleside, and had photographed many well-known figures as well as the local people, visiting tourists, and views. His studios, shops and houses are still to be seen in Ambleside today opposite the Churchill Hotel that he, and his first wife ran as the Lodging House, Vale View.
Soon after he had taken up photography he had a lucky break. He was called to a Grasmere Hotel to photograph the young Prince of Wales and party who were touring the neighbourhood. He then displayed Photographer to the Prince of Wales on the reverse of his work. The following year he married a widow of a builder with children who were to join his business. They were among his apprentices, some of whom went on to good careers; one, Herbert Bell, son of the local chemist, later purchased Moses’ archive.
He played his part in the development of the tourist trade; was a director of the Gas & Water company from its start in the mid 1860s; played an active part in keeping open the free access to Stock Ghyll; used his photographs and gave Evidence to the Parliamentary Enquiry into the railway; exhibited in the Royal Academy; farmed 500 acres at Low Wray; was Secretary to the Hawkshead Agricultural Society; and though all this, still had time to write poetry.
On the death of his elderly first wife, he married the daughter of Josiah Huddleston. She had been born in Madras, and was heiress to her grandfather who was a director of the East India Company. They were only to have a few years together in the Georgian mansion, Belmont, with several of the children she had born to him previously, before his tragic early death. She then sold up and left the district leaving no one in Ambleside to perpetuate his memory. He became a forgotten man in spite of the crowds who attended his funeral in Coniston, but some of his photographs, buildings and poetry survive.
Susan Premru, 26 February 2012
GEORGE T. HUTCHINSON
My Great Uncle George Thomas Hutchinson was born in Millom in 1871 to Thomas Hutchinson and his wife Ann Swindale who had married in Darlington in 1866. Thomas became the book Keeper for the Hodbarrow Iron Mine and the family moved from Darlington in about 1870 when Millom was beginning to develop as an industrial centre. They lived at first out at Steel Green where the youngest of the family, my Grandmother Ethel was born in 1880. At some point after that they moved to Rock house out by the lighthouse on the shore and next to the mine.
Sometime during his childhood George suffered an accident, which left his back deformed and he never grew to full height. He did not let this stop him however and as he obviously enjoyed drawing he may have had ambitions to be come a draughtsman and artist. He won a First Class Certificate for Figure drawing at the Millom Industrial and Art Exhibition in May 1892. He also passed the examinations of the Department of Science and Art of the Committee of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council on Education in Model Drawing First Class in 1891 and in Geometrical Drawing in 1895.
He subsequently set up in business as a photographer in Millom using his youngest sister as a model. She said later that she had to sit still for hours while he set up his camera and as a result hated having her photograph taken for the rest of her life. As a result I have a large quantity of photographs of my grandmother as a young girl and of the rest of the family.
George did not restrict his photography to portraiture and took a number of photographs of the area surrounding Rock House. As this has now gone they provide a vital archive of Hodbarrow Mine in its heyday.
Following the death of Thomas Hutchinson in 1905, George moved to Scorton in Yorkshire where he continued his photography business. He died in East Bolden, Co. Durham in 1932.
Jean Gidman, March 2012
JOSEPH LOWE, PATTERDALE
Born in Rusholme, Manchester in 1865 and listed as a warehouseman in the 1881 census.
Ten years later Joseph was living in the Home Farm shanty at Grisdale Bridge, Patterdale.
Mr Lowe came to the Lake District as an artist and photographer.
He was present in 1892 when the Gough monument was erected on Helvellyn. A subject of one of his postcards.
Mr Lowe made and sold postcards and photographs of the area around Ullswater and beyond, travelling by bike or pony and trap.
Each image was numbered; these numbers were rarely duplicated and can help in finding the date of a picture.
He met and married a local farmer's daughter Jessie Grisdale in 1905.
This allowed him to go to new places, leaving Jessie to run the business.
They lived at Yew Tree Cottage, Deepdale where Mr Lowe made a studio and workshop in the garden.
Joseph was well known in the area giving lanternslide evenings in the local village halls.
In 1934 Mr J. Lowe died at the age of 68. His obituary was published in the local papers. (See below.)
Elizabeth Hodgson, 2012
Death of Mr. J. Lowe, Patterdale
The death yesterday morning of Mr. Joseph Lowe, Deepdale Bridge, Patterdale, removes one who was not only a well known resident of the dale but one whose photographic skills had made him ‘known’ among the many thousands who visit the Ullswater area. Mr. Lowe, who was 68 years of age, had been ill only a month.
A native of Manchester, he came to Patterdale some 35 years ago and conducted his business of landscape photographer in an unpretentious erection in The Hagg. He had an eye for the beautiful and the scenes he reproduced, particularly on picture postcards, eventually earned for him a wide reputation. When he married, he went to live at Deepdale Bridge, where many visitors made purchases from his stock of local views. He also showed much skill in oil and watercolour paintings.
While nature in all her phases made a strong appeal to him, Mr Lowe’s most absorbing hobby was the study of geology. He had an extensive knowledge of the evolution of Lakeland mountains and dales and became such an authority that he was called to lecture on the subject.
Mr. Lowe also took a keen interest in athletics and was a keen supporter of the local football and cricket clubs, acting as umpire for the latter in his younger days. Miniature rifle shooting also claimed his interest, when Patterdale had a shooting range.
Mr. Lowe married Miss Grisedale, Patterdale – a sister of Mr. George Grisdale, Penrith, and Mrs. J Holmes, Bridge Street, Penrith - who survives him with one son.