John Walker Thomas Blase 1838 – 1924
John Walker Thomas Blase was in the photographic business in three different studios in Liverpool, Lancashire for 45 years from 1880 to 1925.
John died in 1924.
1841 – not found
1851 – aged 13, student at the British Orphanage Asylum, Clapham
1861 – aged 23, tea merchant living at 233, Smithdown Lane, West Derby, Liverpool
1871 – aged 33, traveller bookseller, living with parents-in-law in Litherland
1881 – aged 42, photographer living at 17, Longfellow Street, Toxteth Park, Liverpool
1891 – aged 52, photographer living at 17 Longfellow Street, Lodge Lane, Toxteth Park
1901 – aged 62, photographer living at 17 Longfellow Street, Lodge Lane, Toxteth Park
1911 – aged 73, photographer living at 17 Longfellow Street, Lodge Lane, Toxteth Park with his wife Charlotte, daughter Charlotte and son Bishop (a labourer at Garston Bobbin factory).
John Walker Thomas Blase, was the second son of Thomas Blase and Ann Blase, nee Hewer. John’s father, Thomas, (who was baptised in Broseley, Shropshire) was a searcher, landing and coast waiter in His Majesty’s Customs, Port of London and lived in Stepney, Middlesex.
John Walker’s brother, Thomas, grew up to be a soldier and joined the 2nd. Dragoon Guards. Thomas died in the Punjab in India.
John Walker Blase was born on the 17th December 1838 and was baptised in Limehouse, London on the 27th September 1840.
When John’s father, Thomas, died in 1843 he made his wife his sole executor. She sent John Walker to the British Orphanage Asylum in Clapham which gave children of ‘good’ families an education fitting their background. Many children were fatherless. Thomas’ will of 1837 is shown below.
‘This is the last Will and Testament of me Thomas Blase of No 7, York Street, East Commercial Road in the hamlet of Ratcliff in the County of Stepney in the County of Middlesex, Searcher, Landing and Coastwaiter in His Majesty’s Customs Port of London which make publish and declare in the manner following that is to say first I direct all just debts , funeral and testamentary expenses may be paid and discharged by executors and hereafter… bequeath unto my dear wife Ann Blase all and singular the debts due to me also all my plates, linens ..goods, chattels, pictures and effects of what nature kind or … household or other property to have hold.. all and singular my said goods and personal estate as and for her and disposal and I do hereby nominate.. and appoint my said wife Ann Blase sole executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking any former wills or testamentary writings by me at any time ….set my hand and seal this twelth day of June one thousand eight hundred and thirty seven____Thomas Blase ___ signed sealed and published and declared by the above named Thomas Blase as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us ___ William Wride ___ FT Walsh.
Proved at London 15th April 1843 before his worship John Danbury, Doctor of Laws and Surrogate by the oath of Ann Blase, widow and Relict the sole executor to whom administration was granted hereby been first sworn truly to administer.’
The British Orphan Asylum was founded in 1827 based at Kingsland Green in London for ‘gratuitous board, clothing and education of destitute orphans of both sexes of those once in prosperity of all denominations in every part of the British Empire’. In 1834 it moved to Clapham in London and to Mackenzie Park in Slough, Berks in 1863 when it became known as the ‘Royal British Orphan School’
John Walker’s mother died in 1849 and John continued at the school. In her will she left John Walker ‘a little pocket money every two months’ and his dad’s ring and seal. Ann’s will of 1848 is shown below.
‘This is the Last Will and Testament of me Ann Blase of No 49 Totton Street in the parish of Stepney in the County of Middlesex. I give and devise unto my three children all my plate and books equally to be divided between them and give and devise all my goods, linen and chattels unto my executors hereinafter… and I devise that they sell the same and thereout.. of any money which may be owing to me at the time of my death.. and after such payment it is my wish and desire that my executors should appropriate the same to finishing my children’s education and placing them out and supporting their.. as far as it will…
I desire that my son, Thomas Blase may be placed at a good school until he is the age of 14 or longer if he requires it to receive a good education. I also desire that my daughter Mary Ann Sarah Blase be apprenticed to a milliner in a good and reputable trade.
I also desire that my son John Walker Blase, who is now at the Clapham Orphan Asylum shall be paid a little pocket money every two months.
My watch and other little trinkets I leave to my daughter Mary Ann Sarah Blase and my late husband’s watch to my son Thomas Blase and my late husband’s ring and seal to my son John Walker Blase and I appoint Mr. Walker Blase and Mr. James Stephens executors of this my will and trustees and guardians of my children.
….hereby declare this to be my last will and testament…..this twenty second day of August one thousand eight hundred and forty eight_____Ann Blase_____ signed and sealed….
Proved at London the 26th April 1849 before the Worshipful Thomas Pratt, Doctor of Laws and Surrogate by the oaths of John Walker Blase and the wills executors, Walker Blase and James Stephens…’
In 1851 John Walker Blase was aged 13 and was a student at the British Orphanage Asylum, Clapham, London.
After leaving school, John Walker Blase used his money to set up as a tea dealer in West Derby, in Liverpool.
John Walker Blase (for clarity, hereafter referred to as John) met Charlotte Gorsuch, daughter of hairdresser, John Gorsuch and his wife Margaret, and married her in 1860.
In the 1861 census John was living at 233 Smithdown Lane, West Derby, Liverpool and was recorded as a grocer and tea dealer but shortly thereafter he moved to Lodge Terrace, Lodge Lane, near Liverpool and was a commercial traveller and he then moved again to 27 Colquitt Street, Liverpool and was an accountant and general commission agent.
In 1862, their first child, John Walker Richmond Gorsuch Blase was born.
Unfortunately, in the same year, John was declared bankrupt and the following is from the London Gazette, February 11th 1862.
After his bankruptcy, John decided to emigrate to Canada. Emily Victoria A Blase was born in Canada in 1864 and Ellen Walker Cooke Blase two years later in 1866.
An accent sometimes appears on the e of John’s surname (i.e. é). Although there is no evidence of a French heritage his son was called Pierre. Possibly he lived in the French speaking province of Quebec in Canada.
John Walker moved his family once again, this time to New York, and Hester Addison Charlotte Maud was born there in 1869.
In the 1870 US census for New York, John was living with Charlotte and was described as a book seller. He was also mentioned in the trades’ directories for New York of that year.
The family did not stay in New York for long and returned to England to live with John’s parents-in-law in Litherland (just north of Liverpool), where they were named in the census of 1871.
More children were born to John and Charlotte in Liverpool. John Walker Thomas Hewer Blase in 1872, Thomas Blase in 1874, William Simms Sebastian Cabot Blase in 1876, Pierre Reginald Hewer Blase in 1877, Charlotte Blase in 1880.
In 1880 John Walker became a photographer, a profession at which he was successful. Some of his photos he took survive today and an example of one is held at the National Archives, that of F E Bacon, the runner at Rochdale Sports, June 1897.
His first studio in the Liverpool trade directory of 1880, was the Phoenix Castle Studio at 6 South Castle Street.
In the 1881 census John was aged 42, a photographer and living at 17, Longfellow Street, Toxteth Park, Liverpool with Charlotte, aged 36, and their eight children ranging from Emily (a photographer) at 17 down to Charlotte, aged one – see below. Pierre was recorded as Pierce Blase.
John and Charlotte’s remaining children, Caroline Edith Blase was born on the 30th April 1882, twins Bishop Hewer Blase and Annie Elizabeth Blase were born on the 7 March 1885 and Florence Hewer Blase was born in 1886.
Sometime between 1882 and 1889 John moved his studio to Church Street, Liverpool but by 1891 he was advertising his photographic services from his home address at 17 Longfellow Street, Lodge Lane, Toxteth Park, Liverpool.
John had a most unusual design on the back of some of his photographic mounts with a picture of a cat and the expression ‘STROKE BUT DO’NT (sic) RUFFLE’. The reason for this is not yet clear.
In the 1911 census, John Walker Thomas Blase and his wife Charlotte were still at 17 Longfellow Street. Daughter Charlotte was still at home as was his son Bishop, who was working as a labourer at Garston Bobbin factory. Interestingly, the census shows the number of children born to the marriage and to the couple as 17 children born alive; with only 9 surviving.
Here is the only known photograph of John Walker Blase – probably taken around the time of WW1.
John Walker Thomas Blase died on the 28th May 1924 in Liverpool and probate was granted to two of his sons on the 27th June the same year. He left £1,010 11s 7d.
- Emily Victoria A Blase married William E Rimmer, photographer of Slaithwaite
- Ellen Walker Cooke Blase married photographer Frederick Taylor and lived at St. Petersgate, Stockport
- Hester Addison Charlotte Maud Blase married photographer Edward Devereux and lived in Leigh
- Thomas Hewer Blase became a photographer in Blackburn, married May Blanche Beatrice Woodstock and lived in Douglas, Isle of Man
John Walker Thomas Blase’s Family
Father Thomas Blase
Mother Ann Blase, nee Hewer.
John Walker Thomas Blase
Born 17 December 1838
Baptised 27 September 1840 in Limehouse, London
Married 1860 to Charlotte Gorsuch in St. Luke’s Church, Liverpool
Child 1 1862 John Walker Richmond Gorsuch Blase in Chorlton
Child 2 1864 Emily (Emma) Victoria Alexanderina Blase born in Canada
Child 3 1866 Ellen Walker Cooke Blase born in Canada
Child 4 1869 Hester (Esther) Addison Charlotte Maud born in USA
Child 5 1872 John Thomas Blase born in Liverpool
Child 6 1874 John Walker Thomas Hewer Blase born in Liverpool
Child 7 1875 Howard Percy Blase born West Derby, Lancashire, bap. 11 Feb 1877, St. Clement’s, Toxteth Park, Liverpool (father’s occupation sewing machine agent)
Child 8 1876 William Simms Sebastian Cabot Blase born in Liverpool
Child 9 1877 Pierre Reginald Gorsuch Hewer Blase born in Liverpool
Child 10 1879 Charlotte Edith Marian Newill Blase born in Liverpool
Child 11 30 April 1882 Caroline Edith Blase , bap. 24 July 1882, St. Peter, Liverpool
Child 12 7 March 1885 Bishop Hewer Blase born in Liverpool
Child 13 7 March 1885 Annie Elizabeth Blase, bapt. 3 June 1885, St. Peter, Liverpool
Child 14 1886 Florence Hewer Blase, Toxteth, Liverpool
Children 15-17 – 3 other children were born to John and Ann according to the 1911 census
Died August 1924 in Liverpool.
Compiled by Ron Cosens © www.cartedevisite.co.uk
- Yvonne Holliday – firstname.lastname@example.org – family historian
- Sandy Barrie for trade directory information
- Marcel Safier for additional research – email@example.com
- Ron Cosens for images from the Victorian Image Collection
John Walker Thomas Blase – Gallery
Examples of John’s photography are shown below.