Abraham Augustus ASCOLI

Abraham Augustus Ascoli

Photographic Business

Abraham appears to have operated from only one studio at 4 Commerce Road, Wood Green, Tottenham, North London, Middlesex. He was described as a photographer between 1864 and 1887. However, he advertised himself as both a photographer and a watchmaker and it was not uncommon to combine photography with other occupations in Victorian times.


1841 – Age 20  Fieldgate Street, St. Mary Whitechapel. Tower Hamlets

1851 – Age 33  New Road, Stepney, London – tobacconist and cigar maker

1861 – Age 37  High Street Van, White Hart Yard, Southminster, Essex – artist – born in Paris

1871 – Age 48  Commerce Road, Tottenham, London – watchmaker

1881 – Age 58  4 Commerce Road, Tottenham, London – watchmaker


Abraham Augustus Ascoli


Abraham Augustus Ascoli and his son Abraham Arthur Ascoli

Abraham was a member of a large Jewish family, originating in Italy, which had branches in London, Manchester, Hamburg, Paris, Gibraltar, Guatemala and probably elsewhere. Most members of the family are now of other faiths.

Abraham’s parents were Joseph and Esther (nee Conquy) and Abraham was born c1820 – 1822 either in London or Paris. Abraham’s brother, Moses (1814-1860) had been born earlier in 1814.

Little is known of Abraham’s early life but by June 1841 he is listed in the census as being aged 20, a traveller, living with his future brother in law, Samuel Nunez a stonemason at Fieldgate Street, St. Mary Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets in London. It is also stated that he was born ‘in the same county’. Abraham usually referred to himself as Abraham but sometimes as Augustus.

And on the 18th August 1841, at the age of 21, he married Samuel’s sister Clara Nunez in London. Clara had been born in 1820. The records of the marriage showed that he lived at 14 Heneage Lane, St. James Dukes Place in the City area of London, not far from Whitechapel and the East End and he was described at that time as a cigar maker.

Their first child, Joseph, was born in 1845 followed by Moses Augustus in 1848.

By the time of the 1851 census Abraham had moved further to the east to 9 New Road, Stepney in London and was still working as a tobacconist and cigar maker

In 1853, Clara died – she was only 33 years old.

By 1855 Abraham had met Lydia Mendes Belisario and they married in London on the 5th December 1855 and Abraham was described as a cigar maker. Abrahams address was 1 Montefiore Buildings, Jewry Street back in the East End and very near where Abraham had lived previously at Heneage Lane.

Lydia had been born in 1836 and was only 19 when they married whereas Abraham was recorded as a widower aged 32. Within a year, in 1856, Lydia died. They had no children.

In 1856, Abraham was a tobacconist and shopkeeper but by 1857 it appears that he was having financial problems – see below:




The following PERSONS, who, on their several Petitions filed in the Court, .have obtained Interim Orders for protection from process, are required to appear in Court as hereinafter mentioned, at the Court-House, in Portugal Street, Lincoln’s-Inn, as follows, to be examined and dealt with according to the Statute: On “Wednesday the 4th February, 1857, at ten o’clock precisely, before Mr. Commissioner Murphy. Abraham Augustus Ascoli (known also as Augustus Ascoli), formerly of Back Road; Shadwell, General Dealer and Journeyman Cigar Maker, then and now of. No. 17, Tothill Street, Westminster, Tobacconist and Photographic Artist, and during part of the time whilst residing at the last-mentioned place, sometimes trading under the name of Joseph Lara, all in Middlesex.



In the 1861 census Abraham was described as a 37 year old artist living at High Street Van, White Hart Yard, Southminster in Essex. He had his 17 year old son Joseph with him.

Around this time Abraham met Charlotte Everitt who was about 12 years younger than him, being born in 1832.

Their first son, Abraham Arthur, was born in 1861 and Daniel followed along in 1863 before Abraham and Charlotte married in Colchester, Essex on the 22nd of January 1864. Abraham was stated as being a 38 year old widower at the time of his marriage, a photographer and living at North Street, Colchester, Essex.

Their family grew rapidly with the additions of Rebecca in 1865, Miriam/Marion in 1866 and Ezekiel Reginald in 1868.

The 1871 census shows Abraham, aged 48, at 4 Commerce Road, Tottenham, London, although he was ‘born in Paris’ and his birth year is given as 1823! His occupation was ‘watchmaker’.

In 1873-4 their last child was born, Daniel Louis Ascoli – he lived well into the next century until 1952.

A Post Office Directory of 1874 shows him as a watchmaker and still living in Commerce Road, Tottenham.

It seems that Abraham’s financial woes were not at an end as another bankruptcy loomed in 1878 – see below:




The Bankruptcy Act. 1869. In the County Court of Middlesex, holden at Edmonton. In the Matter of Proceedings for Liquidation by Arrangement or Composition with Creditors, instituted by Augustus Ascoli, of 4, Commerce-road, Wood Green, in the county of Middlesex, Watchmaker and Umbrella Manufacturer. NOTICE is hereby given, that a First General Meeting of the creditors of the above-named person has been summoned to be held at my offices, 3, Fumivals Inn, in the city of London, on the 8th day of January, 1878, at three o’clock in the afternoon precisely.—Dated this 20th day of December, 1877.

THOMAS A, ROMER, 3, Furnival’s-inn, London, Solicitor for the said Debtor.



The outcome of this petition is not known at present.

The 1881 census shows Abraham, aged 58, still living at 4 Commerce Road, Tottenham – born in Paris in 1823 – occupation watchmaker.

Six years later, Abraham was still working as a photographer when he died at Southgate Road, Wood Green, North London on the 31st August 1887 (age 65). His cause of death was stated as ‘Cardiac disease for some years – Syncope’ – [a sudden loss of consciousness, with momentary premonitory symptoms or without warning, due to cerebral anemia caused by obstructions to cardiac output or arrhythmias such as ventricular asystole, extreme bradycardia, or ventricular fibrillation].


Abraham Ascoli Tottenham General Cemetery London Grave No. 1792


He was buried in Tottenham General Cemetery, London – Grave No. 1792 in a family plot. Also buried there are his grandson Arthur Augustus Ascoli aged 8, his wife Charlotte Ascoli who died in 1918, aged 86, his daughter Miriam Waterson [nee Ascoli] aged 78, her son Edward Waterson aged 16 and his son Louis Daniel Ascoli aged 78.

Abraham’s brother Moses died in 1860 – he was the great great grandfather of Gina Marks who provided his life story which is recorded above.

Just to show that photography was not always an easy life:



From “The Illustrated Photographer” A NICE CUSTOMER TO TAKE –

Mr John Edmunds was brought up on a warrant by Inspector Westlake, Y Division, charged before Mr. Bodkin, with threatening and assaulting Mr. Augustus Ascoli, a photographer. It was stated that the complainant on Friday, the 5th of February went to the defendant’s house to take half a dozen cartes de visite. The defendant asked him and his son into the parlour, where some ale was given to them. While there, the defendant’s wife said that the complainant had insulted her one day while she was standing at the door. Mr Ascoli denied having done so, but the defendant got in a great rage, took a lance from the corner of a room, brandished it about and threatened to run him through. Complainant took to his heels, followed by the defendant and escaped into the street. He got safely home and hid himself for a couple of days. He was in fear that the defendant would do him some bodily harm. The defendant denied the charge. Mr Bodkin ordered the defendant to find two sureties in £100 each, and himself in £200, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour towards Mr Ascoli and all Her Majesty’s subjects for the next six months, and to pay the costs £2.16s.

NOTE:- the 5th of Feb fell on a Friday in 1858, 1869, 1875 and 1886.



Family Details

Father Joseph Ascoli, born c. 1770, died 1835 in England
Mother Esther Conquy, born 1783 in Gibraltar, died 1850 at 4 Heneage Lane



Born 1820 – 1822 either in London or Paris
Married 1 18th August 1841 in London to Clara Nunez, born 1820, died 1853
Child 1 Joseph born 1845
Child 2 Moses Augustus born 1848, died 1872 at the Strand, London
Married 2 5th December 1855 in London to Lydia Mendes Belisario, born 1836,
  died 1856
Child 3 Abraham Arthur born 1861, died 1913
Child 4 Daniel born 1863
Married 3 22nd January 1864 in Colchester, Essex to Charlotte Everitt, born 1832,
  died 1918
Child 5 Rebecca born 1865
Child 6 Miriam/Marion born 1866, died 1944
Child 7 Ezekiel Reginald born 1868
Child 8 Daniel Louis born 1873-4, died 1952
Died 31st August 1887 in Southgate Road, Wood Green, London


Compiled by Ron Cosens © www.cartedevisite.co.uk


  • Gina Marks Ascoli family historian who provided the life story above. She is the great great granddaughter of Abraham’s brother, Moses Ascoli (1814-1860). Gina says ‘I have gathered all the above information whilst doing my family research to create my family tree. If anyone reading these pages is connected to the Ascoli families – even those in other countries not mentioned above – I would love to hear from you with a view to exchanging information. Please email me on ginagem@hotmail.co.uk
  • Marcel Safier who provided additional census and family history information
  • Sandy Barrie who provided the trade directory information
  • Ron Cosens of the Victorian Image Collection who provided the images in the gallery



Abraham Augustus Ascoli – Gallery


Ascoli, A A cdv 1 front

Ascoli, A A cdv 1 front

Ascoli, A A cdv 1 back

Ascoli, A A cdv 1 back

Ascoli, A A cdv2 front

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Ascolia, A A cdv 2 back

Ascoli, A A cdv 2 back

Ascoli, A A cdv 3 front

Ascoli, A A cdv 3 front

Ascoli, A A cdv 3 back

Ascoli, A A cdv 3 back