Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Levi Cartwright of Hillstown, Scarcliffe, near Bolsover

Image © and courtesy of Valerie Bailey

This cabinet card showing a young couple was sent to me by Valerie Bailey. The couple are William David Cartwright and Annie Cartwright née Hobson - he was born in 1883, and married Annie in 1906. The style of clothing suggests to me that they sat for this portrait at about the time of their marriage.

Image © and courtesy of Valerie Bailey

The plain buff coloured card mount is stamped on the reverse with the photographer's name, enlarged below: "L. Cartwright, Art Photographer, Victoria Cross, Hillstown, Bolsover."

Image © and courtesy of Valerie Bailey

Levi Cartwright was, in fact, an older brother of the subject of the portrait. He was born in 1867 at Fegg Hayes, near Chell and Norton-in-the-Moors in Staffordshire, the son of a coal miner William Cartwright and his wife Hannah née Knight. The family moved to Eckington, Derbyshire in late 1880 or early 1881, and by census night that April, at the age of only 13, Levi was already working as a coal miner. His brother William David was born two years later, by which time they had moved again, to Hasland near Chesterfield. After a brief spell in Langwith, they then settled in Hillstown, near Scarcliffe by April 1891; Levi and his father were still employed as coal miners.

Levi Cartwright married Sarah Ann Hall at Mansfield in 1892. They settled in Hillstown too and by 1901, when they were living in Victoria Street with two children, Levi had become a postman and shopkeeper. It seems likely that he was working for, or took over from, Matthew Cowley and Cowley & Sons, respectively shown as sub-postmaster and shopkeepers in the 1899 edition of Kelly's trade directory. By this time, his brother William David, still living with his father (his mother had died in 1895) and work as a pony driver in the coal mines.

Levi may have worked as photographer in the mid-1900s, although the fact that he has used an inked stamp on the reverse of a plain card mount suggests to me that his foray into this occupation was probably brief.

Levi and his family emigrated to Canada in 1911, arriving at Portland, Maine on 3 April on board the ship Southwark. They settled first in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and then on a farm near Swift Current, where both Levi and his son Cressy Fortesque Cartwright were granted land. Sarah Ann Cartwright died in Vancouver, British Columbia, on 18 June 1944, aged 75, while Levi Cartwright died in the same location on 27 December 1947 aged 80.


  1. Really enjoyed reading about Levi Cartwright! Well done Brett!

  2. And thank you for sending the image and the information, Val. Much appreciated. Regards, Brett


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