Saturday, 22 March 2008

Charles Warwick, Fairground photographer

Pat Blackwell recently sent me scans of a couple of entertaining photographs of James Loudon (1863-1931), her husband's grandfather, taken in Derby by travelling photographer Charles Warwick. The first carte de visite shows James (standing) with two friends, dressed in cricketing gear, and prominently displaying two bats and a ball.

Image © & courtesy of Pat Blackwell Image © & courtesy of Pat Blackwell

The other cdv appears to have been cut or trimmed from a group portrait, and is an outdoor portrait showing James posing in football gear, complete with football. The elbow of one of his team mates is just visible to his left.

Image © & courtesy of Pat Blackwell Image © & courtesy of Pat Blackwell

Pat provides the following background information on the subject:

"He was born 1863 in Kilmarnock but by 1881 was living in Mansfield Woodhouse, Notts, where he stayed until his death in 1931. He worked for the Duke of Portland all of this time on the Welbeck estate as a clerk and then cashier. From his obituary it states about his cricket 'he played consistently some 40 years ago for Mansfield Woodhouse and the Welbeck tenants.' This would point to him playing cricket in 1891 or thereabouts. My husband believes that [James] played [football] for Notts County as an amateur but we have no proof of that at present. We assume that it would have been about 1883."
It seems very likely to me that James Loudon and his fellow team members had their portraits taken by Charles Warwick on the occasion of a match (or matches) against a team(s) in Derby. The cricket and football photos may have been taken on the same day, but just easily they could have been some days, weeks or months apart. Although the reverse of both cartes state, "from London Road, Derby," I suspect that Warwick operated from a booth or something similar on London Road, as I've not found any evidence that he ever had a permanent studio in Derby. As is common with many travelling photographers, Warwick did not have purpose printed card mounts, but used blank ones, and merely hand-stamped his details onto the reverse. I estimate that the photographs were taken in the late 1880s or early 1890s, which fits well with your statement that he played around 1891. A few years later Warwick did have some card mounts printed for him, as shown by the example in my profile of Charles Warwick and his father, also named Charles.

In early April 1891, Charles Warwick junior was living with his Harriet née Sketchley, a son and a daughter, in a caravan on the Morledge, Derby. Nearby, and living in another caravan, were his younger brother and sister Arthur and Emma, also described as a photographers, and presumably assisting Charles. Examination of the relevant enumerator's schedules using Ancestry's subscription-based census image collection shows a miscellany of fairground people staying on the Morledge:

- Abraham Smith, cocoa nut bowling proprietor
- William Brickstock, proprietor of roundabout horses
- Emma and Charles Sketchley, shooting gallery proprietor (Charles Warwick's mother-in-law and brother-in-law)
- Henry Gaunt, travelling showman
- James Adkin, stall keeper (confectionery)
- Arthur Ashmore, shooting saloon proprietor
- Albert Hall, travelling rifle saloon
- Thomas Twigdon, proprietor of roundabouts (horses)
- William Howell, proprietor shooting saloon
- Thomas Richards, standing engine driver
- Joseph Cox, proprietor of roundabouts (horses)
- Alfred Twigdon, proprietor of switchback
- George Twigdon, proprietor of "Sea on Land"
- Peter, Thomas & Abraham Jerrison, proprietors of swingboats
- Amos Towle, riding donkey proprietor
- John & Frederick Smith, horse dealers
- Ellen Davis, proprietor of roundabouts (horses)
- Charles Tyler, photographer
- Samuel Whiting, swing boat proprietor
- Robert Odeley, cocoa nut bowling street
- John Monk, swing boat proprietor
- George Ware, horse dealer
- Lewis Shaw, proprietor cocoa nut bowling street
- William Hall, confectionery stall proprietor
- Edwin Morris, proprietor of confectionery stall
- Charles Antill, photographer
- Barton Lineker, travelling confectioner
- Frederick Pemberton, proprietor shooting saloon
- John Parker, showman (ghost show)
Coincidentally, a look at the September 2006 satellite images of the Morledge, Derby on Google Maps shows a fairground on the nearby Bass Recreation Ground, over a century later:


View Larger Map

A short distance away, to the north-west is a cricket oval - you can see this by zooming out and then back in, or panning to the NW - and a team can be seen playing on the ground. It is tempting to assume that John Loudon played cricket as a member of a visiting team on that same ground, and after the match, he and his friends visited Charles Warwick's booth in London Road. Alternatively, perhaps Warwick took his van to the cricket oval, to take advantage of the potential customers among the crowds who would have been watching the match.

Artist C.T. Moore captured the lively scene of the fairground and market at the Morledge in early 1882, in a painting - kindly brought to my attention by Nigel Aspdin - aptly titled "Fair Day in Morledge" which was exhibited at Richard Keene's "7th Spring Exhibition of Modern Pictures," reported in The Derby Mercury on 21 May that year.

Image © & courtesy of Derby Museum & Art Gallery
Fair Day in Morledge, 1882, by C.T. Moore

This painting was subsequently purchased by arts patron Alfred E. Goodey, and later became part of the Goodey Collection donated to the Derby Council Art Gallery in 1936. It was one of a series of pictures from this collection published by the Derby Museum & Art Gallery under the title, "Goodey's Derby," in 2003 (Breedon Books, ISBN 1 85983 379 9), and an image of the painting also appears on Picture the Past. It nicely conveys the bustling atmosphere of the annual Easter Fair, to which many travelling showmen from across the Midlands, including itinerant photographers, would congregate ... (continued in Part II)

P.S. Pat subsequently sent me the following:
As far as we know James Loudon won these awards for his performances at Mansfield Woodhouse cricket club, Nottinghamshire:
1885 Highest batting average
1888 Batting and bowling average
1889 Best Bowling average
1889 Best Batting average
1890 Best batting average
1891 Best batting average
1893 Best Average
1893 Highest score
1895 Bowling average

He also won one for Welbeck Tenants Cricket club:
1896 For highest batting average and acting as secretary for a number of years.

Three of the awards are mounted on old cricket balls but the others are not, although they have obviously been mounted on something in the past.

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