John Hinchcliffe (1825 – 1878) & family

The Hinchcliffe family provided two generations of photographers who operated variously in Dewsbury, Liverpool and Leicester from 1864 until about 1923. It is possible that the Hinchcliffe name continued above studio doors for a few years after 1923 but that the studios were actually owned by people who were not members of the family.

Research has been difficult at times because the family name has been variously recorded as Inchcliffe and Hinchliffe as well as Hinchcliffe.

John Hinchcliffe had seven children and most of them were involved in photography to some extent. His sons Ramsden, Henry and Eugene were particularly active as commercial photographers as were Henry’s wife Ellen, Ramsden’s second wife Emma, and Eugene’s wife Alice.

Hinchcliffes who operated their own studios are shown in red below:


Generation 1
John married Grace Colbeck

Generation 2
Ramsden married Emma Bradshaw
Henry married Ellen Malone
Eugene married Alice Hughes



1841 – John age 18 at home with his parents William and Susan Hinchcliffe and four siblings.  William’s occupation is wool spinner

1851 – John age 26 at 65 Shaver Hill, Heckmondwike with his wife Grace and young Alfred. Occupation clothier

1861 – John age 36 at Wharton Square, Heckmondwike with his wife Grace and four young children. Occupation blanket weaver

1871 – John age c47 at Oates Square, Dewsbury, Yorkshire with his wife Grace and four children. Occupation photographer

1871 – Ramsden, age18, as a boarder at 35 Westgate, Dewsbury. Occupation painter and photographic artist. No census record has been found for Alfred

1881 – Grace, a widow, age 54 at 46 Virgil Street, Liverpool, Lancashire with four of her children, three of whom were involved in photography

1881 – Ramsden age 28 at 102 Park Lane Liverpool, with wife Harriet and two sons

1891 – Grace, a widow, age 63 at 18a Norton Street, Liverpool with two children. Occupations photographer and photographer’s assistants

1891 – Alfred, age 43, a boarder at 53 Hunter Street, Liverpool and general labourer.

1891 – Ramsden, a widower, declared age 34 (true age 38) at 243 & 245 Scotland Road, Liverpool with his son Eugene (14). Occupation photographer/dealer

1891 – Henry age 27 at 106 Cazneau Street, Liverpool and single. Occupation photographer

1901 – Ramsden declared age 43  (true age 48) at 273 Scotland Road, Liverpool with his wife Emma. Occupation photographer

1901 – Henry age 37 at 106 Cazneau Street, Liverpool with his wife Ellen, an artist/sculptress age 21. Occupation photographer

1911 – Eugene age 41 at 2 Kempston Street, Liverpool with his wife Alice and daughter Grace. Occupation photographer.


This biography is divided into two chapters


Chapter 1 – The story of John Hinchcliffe and his family

1825 John Hinchcliffe was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire in 1824 (although the 1871 census says he was born in Mirfield). His father William was a clothier and a wool spinner and his mother’s name was Susan Child according to the report of England, Select Marriages, 1538-1973. Their marriage took place in Birstall, Yorkshire on 30th May 1819.

1841 John was age 18 and living at home with his parents William and Susan Hinchcliffe and his four siblings. John was not listed as having an occupation but William’s occupation was recorded as being a wool spinner.

1844 John Hinchcliffe married Grace Colbeck, who was born in 1827, on September the 8th 1844 at the Parish Church in Batley and both partners confirmed their marriage by adding a cross next to their name on the marriage certificate (see below). John is actually recorded as Inchcliffe.

John Hinchcliffe Marriage Certificate

According to their marriage certificate, Grace was 19 years old and John was 20. Grace had been born in Batley, Yorkshire in 1827.

John’s parents were William and Susan Hinchcliffe (shown as Inchcliffe) and Grace’s parents were Jeremiah and Elizabeth Colbeck. Both of their fathers were clothiers.

Interestingly, neither of the witnesses were obvious relatives, one being John Swallow and the other being Joseph Chadwick.

1848  John and Grace had their first child, a son, and called him Alfred Hinchcliffe.

1851 According to the census taken on the 30th March 1851, John Hinchcliffe was age 26 and lived at 65 Shaver Hill, Heckmondwike with his wife Grace, age 25, and young Alfred age three. John’s occupation was recorded as a clothier and Grace was a bobbin winder. The family was listed under the name Hinchliffe.

1852 John and Grace’s second child was a boy and they named him Ramsden. He was born in Heckmondwike in West Yorkshire and grew up to become a photographer in his own right.

Interestingly, according to the census of 1841, John and his parents had neighbours called Ramsden – could it be that John liked the name or the neighbours so much that he named his son after them?

1854 John and Grace had a third child, a daughter named Eva.

1861 John and Grace’s fourth child arrived in March 1861 in Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire. The census for that year includes John at Wharton Square, Heckmondwike living with Grace and his four children Alfred, Ramsden, and Eva who were scholars and little Clara who was only two weeks old. John was recorded as a blanket weaver.

1862 Sadly, John and Grace’s daughter, one-year old Clara, died in July 1862 and was buried at Castleford.

1863 John and Grace produced their fifth child, Henry Hinchcliffe, in Dewsbury on 16th April 1863.

1864  John opened and operated a photography studio named J. Hinchcliffe in Wellington Road in Dewsbury. It remained open until 1877 or 1878 when John moved to Liverpool.

1866  In 1866, John and Grace’s children were joined by a sister called Alice.

1870 John and Grace Hinchcliffe had another son, Eugene Hinchcliffe. He was born in Dewsbury on 23 February 1870 (but the 1871 census says he was born in Ripley).

1871 By 1871 the census records that John (age 47) was living at Oates Square, Dewsbury with his wife Grace (age 44) with their daughter Eva (age 17), Henry (age 8), Alice (age 5) and Eugene (age 1). John was a photographer but Grace was not allocated an occupation.

Ramsden was living nearby, but away from home, as a boarder in residence at the abode of John Marriott a sign writer and insurance agent at 35 Westgate in Dewsbury. Ramsden Hinchcliffe was listed as a painter and photographic artist and he was said to be 18 years old.

It is possible perhaps that both Alfred and Ramsden worked with their father John in his studio but do not appear on the 1871 census living with their parents because they boarded out. It is not possible to be sure.

1873 On the 25th May 1873 John’s son Ramsden Hinchcliffe married Harriet Taylor in Dewsbury.

1874 John was caught trading on a Sunday in breach of the Sunday Trading Laws and was taken to court. He pleaded guilty and was fined 5 shillings and costs. A report in the Huddersfield Chronicle on Friday the 23rd. of October is shown below.

Hinchcliffe, John breached Sunday Trading laws 1874

1874 Ramsden Hinchcliffe’s first son, Albert, was born, but sadly died in 1876.

1875 Eva Hinchcliffe, John and Grace’s daughter, married John King at Dewsbury.

1876 Ramsden Hinchcliffe’s second son, Eugene, was born.

1877 By 1877 Ramsden was advertising his own studio at Market Place, Batley. He may well have opened this studio at an earlier date as he was listed in the 1871 census as a painter and photographic artist at the age of 18.

1878 In 1878, John moved with his wife Grace and the four youngest of their seven children many miles to the West to the big, port city of Liverpool in Lancashire. Pictures of John and Grace appear below.

John Hinchcliffe

Grace Hinchcliffe taken at her studio 18a Norton Street Liverpool

Here John opened Hinchcliffe’s Photographers, a studio on Scotland Road at the corner of Belle Street and opposite Mile End.  Not shown on the map below is the fact that Belle Street was eventually cut through to Scotland Road just at the site of the studio.  Belle Street was eventually re-named Cazneau Street.

John Hinchcliffe Map

However, for a while, John’s carte de visite photographic mounts showed both studio addresses, the one in Dewsbury and the one in Liverpool. This indicates that BOTH studios were open at the same time. 

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It is conjecture only but it is very possible that when John and Grace moved to Liverpool, their son Ramsden closed down his own studio in the small town of Batley and moved to nearby Dewsbury to manage his father’s old studio.

Whatever the situation, Ramsden Hinchcliffe was advertising a studio of his own in Liverpool by 1880 (which means he probably had arranged to put the advert in the trade directory some time in 1879). A picture of Ramsden appears below.

Ramsden Hinchcliffe

The former Hinchcliffe’s studio in Dewsbury was taken over by Raven and for a time his Cartes de Visite mention the Hinchcliffe name.

Raven Photographer Carte de Visite Raven Photographer Carte de Visite Reverse

Tragically, John died later the same year on 16th July 1878 at the age of 53.

John’s death certificate incorrectly lists his birth year as 1825 rather than 1824.

Following the death of her husband, John’s widow Grace and their sons Alfred and Henry kept Hinchcliffe’s studio in operation. Initially located at 102 Cazneau Street and called Hinchcliffe’s Photographers.  Here Grace sold Gem Portraits for one shilling for nine tintypes. The studio was moved to 106 Cazneau Street and renamed Hinchcliffe’s Eagle Studio. The youngest son Eugene would still have been at school. An incredible picture of the exterior of the studio is below.

Hinchcliffe's Eagle Studios, 106 Cazneau Street, Liverpool, England 1878-1901 96dpi

1880 Sometime after 1877 (when he had a studio in Batley) Ramsden moved to Liverpool and advertised a new studio at 102 Park Lane in Liverpool. He had definitely moved by the time of the 1881 census. Ramsden’s third son, George, was born, but died in 1886.

1881 The census in 1881 shows that Grace (age 54) and her family were living at 46 Virgil Street, Liverpool. Grace is shown as a widow and head of household and she is living with her sons Alfred (34) and Henry [Harry sic] (age 17) who are both described as photographers. Also living there is Alice Hinchcliffe (age 15) as an assistant photographer. Eugene Hinchcliffe is 11 years old and a scholar.

Alfred was not listed with his parents in the 1871 census ten year’s earlier and it is probable that he had returned to live with his mother to help her with the photography business after the death of his father three years earlier in 1878. By the 1881 Census, Alfred was again living with his mother, Grace. Alfred was the only one of the four sons of John and Grace Hinchclife to not make a career in photography. He died in a Liverpool work-house at age 54.

Virgil Street is on the map above and is very close to Cazneau Street where the studio was located.

Meanwhile, Ramsden aged 28 was living at 102 Park Lane Liverpool with his wife Harriet and a son named after his uncle and called Eugene (aged 4) and another son called George (aged 9 months). Ramsden had also opened a second studio at 15 Parker Street in Liverpool by 1881 which appears to have been run concurrently with the studio at 102 Park Lane.

1885 Ramsden’s wife Harriet died having committed suicide by ingesting vermin poison. Sometime in the summer months, Harriet had left her husband and children in Liverpool and returned to Dewsbury to live with her sister. Ramsden testified at the Coroner’s Inquest held on 9 October 1885 in Dewsbury, the day following Harriet’s suicide.

1886 Ramsden’s son George died at age 6.

1891 After 11 years in business working with and for his mother, Grace’s son Henry assumed ownership of Hinchcliffe’s Eagle Studio at 106 Cazneau Street, Liverpool. The census states he was 27 years old and still single.

An amazing photograph of the inside of the studio showroom is shown below and  the name of the business is clearly reflected in the mirror in the top left side of the picture.

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Henry ran this studio from 1891 until 1902. In the latter years Henry called his business Hinchcliffe’s Photographers then Hinchcliffe’s Art Photographers.

Below are photographs taken in Ireland before 1891 of Henry’s future in-laws, Edward (who died in 1891) and Ellen Dorgan who died in 1950. Henry’s wife Ellen took these pictures with her when she emigrated from Ireland to England around 1900. Henry mounted the pictures on to Hinchcliffe’s Eagle Studio cabinet card stock. The design of the mount was popular during the period 1896 and 1904.

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1891 With Henry taking over the studio at Cazneau Street, Grace opened her own studio at 2 Kempston Street in Liverpool. By the 5th April 1891 (the census date) she was 63 years old and she had moved her residence to 18a Norton Street in Liverpool and taken over the Royal’s City Portrait Rooms, see the image below. The census lists her as a widow and a photographer. In the household are Alice (age 27) who is still single and Eugene (age 21); both are photographer’s assistants.

Also appearing below is a rare Carte de visite taken by Grace at this studio.

Carte de Visite by Grace Hinchcliffe 96dpi Carte de Visite by Grace Hinchcliffe 96dpi

Carte de visite by Grace Hinchcliffe

For the ongoing story of Henry Hinchcliffe and his family – see Chapter 2 below.

1891 Meanwhile Ramsden, a widower, was living at 243/245 Scotland Road, Liverpool with his 14 year old son Eugene.

1892 Ramsden was advertising a different studio at 273 Scotland Road Liverpool from 1892 to 1897 and he was still living at that address in 1901.

At some point, Ramsden opened a second studio on Waterloo Road in New Brighton, Merseyside, which was a popular seaside resort serving Liverpool and the Lancashire industrial towns. See the two Carte de visite below showing the Liverpool address on one card and both the Liverpool and New Brighton addresses on the other.

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Interestingly, at one point, Ramsden had his studio illustrated on the back of his cabinet card mount. Unfortunately the building no longer exists. See the following image.

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1894 Sometime previously, Eugene, Grace’s son had met and courted Alice Hughes. Alice was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire in 1871 and was slightly older than Eugene. They married in All Saints, Toxteth Park, Liverpool in 1894 when they were both 24 years old. Their marriage certificate states Eugene’s father’s name as John Hinchcliffe but his mother’s name is left blank as is that of his new mother-in-law.

1896 Grace’s studio at 18a Norton Street was taken over by her youngest son, Eugene and his wife Alice in 1896. Grace would have been 68 years old and probably felt the need to retire. Very few photographs from Eugene Hinchcliffe’s studio have been found, all are cabinet cards. Following is the front and back of a cabinet card which Eugene took. The posing of the subject is very like that in the Carte de visite which Eugene’s mother Grace took from the same studio address and which appears a few pages prior. The same photograph book, table and chair appears in both pictures.

Eugene Hinchcliffe’s only child, daughter Grace, named for her grandmother, was born.

1898 Hinchcliffe’s Eagle Studio of Cazneau Street photographed the Liverpool football team. Copies of the image are available from the Liverpool Football Club.

1899 Ramsden Hinchcliffe, John’s son, had lost his first wife in Dewsbury to suicide in 1885 but in 1899 he met and married another lady, Emma Bradshaw, who was born in Manchester, Lancashire, in 1861.There were no children born from this marriage. On the 1890 Census Emma Bradshaw’s occupation was listed as a Photographer’s Assistant.

1900 Until her death on the 10th October 1900 in Liverpool at the age of 73, Grace continued to reside with her son Eugene, her daughter-in-law Alice, and her granddaughter Grace.

1901 According to the census, Ramsden Hinchcliffe was 43 years of age and was still living and working at 273 Scotland Road, Liverpool with his second wife Emma. His occupation was given as a photographer but he does not appear to have advertised his studio at that address in trade directories since 1897. Of course, businesses were not always advertised every year. Ramsden was still described as a photographer at that address on his death in 1910.

1907 One of the Hinchcliffe studios – either Henry’s, Ramsden’s or Eugene’s, took the following mug shots of a couple accused of the heinous crime of baby trafficking. The pictures were published along with the story in the Leeds Mercury 28 March 1907.

Mug shots from Liverpool 1907 baby trafficking article Ellen sent 1-13-2021, could have been taken by Henry, Ramsden, or Eugene

1910 Ramsden Hinchcliffe had married for a second time in Liverpool in 1899 but his second marriage was cut short when he died on the 16th of February 1910. Ramsden left £1,159 11s 5d to his widow, Emma Hinchcliffe. Ramsden was described at his death as a photographer at 273 Scotland Road, Liverpool.

The studio continued to be advertised under the name of Hinchcliffe & Co until 1918 so it is probable that Emma carried the business on until then. She had worked as Ramsden’s Photographer’s Assistant since at least 1890.

1911 The census in 1911 shows Eugene was 41 years old and was living at 2 Kempston Street with his wife Alice and daughter Grace. His occupation was recorded as a photographer.

1912 Eugene, who had been running the studio at 18a Norton Street in Liverpool with his wife Alice, died unexpectedly in the second quarter of the year at the young age of 42. Eugene left £938 2s 2d to his widow Alice.

The photography business was continued at the same address by Alice until at least 1923.

1918 Hinchcliffe and Co (the business previously operated by Ramsden Hinchcliffe) appears to have stopped advertising the studio at 273 Scotland Road, Liverpool in 1918.

1920 John’s daughters Alice Hinchcliffe (later Alice Davidson, wife of John Davidson) and Eva Hinchcliffe (later Eva King, wife of John King) both died in the same year.

1941 Alice Hinchcliffe, Eugene’s widow, died through “war operations” in the Liverpool Blitz in May 1941 at the age of 70.


Chapter 2 – The story of Henry Hinchcliffe and his family from 1900 onwards.

1900 Meanwhile Henry was still busy running his studio at 106 Cazneau Street, Liverpool and here is an interesting example of his work with an unusual subject.

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However, Henry also ventured outside at times to take photographs. The picture below shows Henry (at the rear) with a friend pushing a bicycle up a steep hill on his way to photograph – what? He may have offered the service of portraits ‘at home’ or he may have been taking topographical photographs for sale in his studio. On the other hand he may just have been out enjoying the countryside and the prospect of taking some beautiful images for personal use.

Whatever he was doing, it is clear that there is camera case strapped to the handlebars of the bike and he is enjoying himself. But who took the photograph, and with what camera?

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1900 Henry Hinchcliffe, at the age of 36, had at last found a bride. Henry married Ellen Malone from Cork in Ireland on the 25th August 1900 in the Parish Church of the Holy Trinity in the county of Chester. Their marriage certificate lists both Henry and his deceased father John as photographers.

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Ellen was much younger than Henry and she was a very beautiful young lady aged 21. Below is a superb photograph of Henry and Ellen in their wedding clothes. Also shown is a stunning photograph of Ellen which Henry must have used as a display piece in his studio – she is dressed like a fortune teller and she is holding a pack of cards.

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1901 The census for Cazneau Street, Liverpool which was compiled on the 31st March lists Henry Hinchcliffe (37 years old) as a photographer and his wife Ellen (aged 21) as an artist/sculptress. Henry is again recorded as having been born in Ripley, Derbyshire which provides more evidence that the 1891 census stating that his birthplace was Liverpool was factually incorrect.

1902 Sometime in 1902 Henry moved his residence and studio to 71 London Road, Liverpool and renamed the business Hinchcliffe’s Century Studio. Below is a picture of the inside of the studio. Ellen’s sister, Mary Malone, is seated at the table.

Mary Malone in the studio at 71 London Road Liverpool

Also in 1902, Henry’s brother Alfred died.

1903 Henry and Ellen had their first baby, a boy named Frank. He was born on the 27th January. The picture below is not on Studio card stock, but was undoubtedly taken by Henry, Frank’s father.

Frank Hinchcliffe 1903

1904 On the 9th of September 1904 a second son arrived and Henry and Ellen called him Gilbert. Below are three photographs of him as a young baby taken in Henry’s studio at 71 London Road, Liverpool about 1905.

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Here is another delightful portrait taken in 1906 by Henry of his two sons, Frank on the left and Gilbert on the right.

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1907 Henry and Ellen added to their family with another baby, a little girl named Viola who was usually called by the name Violet. She was born on the 6th of February 1907, here is a picture of Violet.

Violet taken at 71 London Road studio Liverpool between 1907 and 1910

And here is a charming portrait of Ellen with all three of her children and a pram. The photograph was probably taken late in 1907.

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1907 In 1907 Henry moved his photography studio again to 52 Pembroke Place in Liverpool. The photograph below of his son, Gilbert, was almost certainly taken at that studio.

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1909 For whatever reason, Henry and Ellen moved to Leicester in 1909 and Ellen advertised a studio in her own name at 46 Market Place. Henry had a studio at 39 Belgrave Gate in Leicester called Hinchcliffe’s Central Studio.

1911 Meanwhile, despite their growing family, the marriage of Henry Hinchcliffe and Ellen did not work out and in 1911 he and his wife parted company. To date no record has been found of a divorce. The following picture of the Hinchcliffe children dating from 1911 is probably the last picture taken together.

John Hinchcliffe Image 027

Ellen returned to Cork in Ireland with her two younger children Gilbert and Violet whilst Henry stayed in Leicester with his older son Frank who would have been about 8 years old at that time. Upon arriving in Cork, Ellen placed her daughter Violet age 4 in the Female Industrial School of St. Finbarr Sunday’s Well, Cork. While she searched for employment, Ellen and Gilbert lived with her married sister, Anne O’Sullivan. When she found a position in the home of William Managh in Blackrock, Cork, as a nursery maid caring for the two young children of the family, Ellen placed her son Gilbert age 7 in the house of her widowed mother Ellen Dogan Malone. Ellen’s job was a live-in situation and she rarely saw her own children.

Another picture of Frank Hinchcliffe, Henry and Ellen’s eldest son, was taken at 39 Belgrave Gate in April 1911 – see below. This is the only example taken in that studio which is in the family archives.

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1912 By 1912, Henry moved from 39 Belgrave Gate to 15a Cank Street where he operated until at least 1919. He called it Hinchcliffe’s Central Studio. Frank worked in the studio for his father until 1919 when he left to join the army.

About 1916 Like most photographers in the WW1 period, Henry took many pictures of men in uniform.

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The picture above appears on the excellent website WW1TIGERS.COM in the section about Leicestershire Regiment Solders of WW1 under the sub-heading ‘Leicester men who served in other regiments’ and is reproduced with the kind permission of Jonathan Capewell.

1917  Young Gilbert was living with his grandmother, Ellen Malone, in Cork while his mother Ellen Hinchcliffe was a live-in nursery maid in Blackrock, Cork and his home life was not exciting. When Gilbert was about 13 years old, Henry went to Ireland to find him. Henry asked his young son to return with him to England and he willingly agreed.

Father Henry made two attempts to ‘kidnap’ his son. The first time, they took a train to Dublin to board a ship to cross the Irish Sea but Gilbert was recognized on the train and forcibly removed from his father’s custody by family members who worked on the railroad. During his trip to Ireland, Henry also visited Violet at the Female Industrial School of St. Finbarr’s Sundays Well, Cork where she had been resident since 1911. This visit was Henry’s last sight of his daughter. Violet was eventually removed from the school and placed in the home of her grandmother, Ellen Dougan Malone, to assist her maternal aunt Elizabeth Malone Ferguson (one of Ellen Malone Hinchcliffe’s sisters) who suffered from dropsy.

Henry’s second attempt was successful. Henry took Gilbert to Leicester, England,  where he was reunited with his brother, Frank. Gilbert later told members of his family that he remembered working in the photography studio over one summer helping his father and brother develop sun pictures. However, his mother, Ellen, discovered his whereabouts, most likely through the photography studio name, and took him back to Ireland. After this separation, Gilbert never saw his father or brother again. This occasion was also the last time that Ellen saw her son, Frank, or her former husband, Henry. Ellen was afraid that Henry would make another attempt to secure Gilbert so she placed him in a boarding school in Farnborough in England (the Salesian School) where he stayed for two years (1917-1919) – see photo. Gilbert eventually returned to Ireland and resumed living with his grandmother.

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1918 By 1918, Henry was still in Leicester at 15a Cank Streert which he operated until at least 1919. Henry moved his studio again to 22 London Road, Leicester. Following are two wonderful pictures of the exterior of the studio. In the first picture, the studio is on the right of the image.

Hinchcliffe's Studio on 22 London Road Leicester 1920, cropped 96dpi

22 London Road Leicester 1916, 96dpi

The picture below of his son Frank was probably taken by Henry in 1918. The last location of the Hinchcliffe photography studio in Leicester was 18a London Road.

John Hinchcliffe Image 032

1919 In May Frank Hinchcliffe left his father’s photography business in Leicester as he was ‘fed up with photography’ and joined the army in the King’s Liverpool Regiment for a 12 month period.  In June 1919, Frank’s relationship with Florence Naomi Bird resulted in pregnancy.  Frank and Florence married in November 1919, their son, Frank Arthur Jr., was born in March 1920.  Their daughter, Gwendoline May, was born in June 1921.

1920 On the 5th July 1920, Ellen Hinchcliffe, who was Henry Hinchcliffe’s estranged wife emigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the USA. Her 1920 passport photograph is shown below.

John Hinchcliffe Image 032A

In the 1920s, Henry opened a camera store, Hinchcliffe’s Wireless Cameras, at 4 Campbell Street in Leicester. Following are pictures of the outside and inside of the store.

Hinchcliffe's Wireless & Cameras shop 4 Campbell Street Leicester exterior

Hinchcliffe's Wireless & Cameras shop 4 Campbell Street Leicester interior

Hinchcliffe's Camera Store, 4 Campbell Street, cropped - Doug 96dpi

1921 In early January 1921 Gilbert, Ellen Hinchcliffe’s second son, also emigrated to the USA coming through Ellis Island in New York, New York at the age of 16 with $15 in his pocket, but did not live with his mother. After finding work in New York City for a few years, he joined the Merchant Marine and began a career at sea as a Marine Engineer ending in 1943 when he joined the United States Coast Guard as an officer working in maritime safety. He retired from the Coast Guard in 1966 at the rank of Captain.

Gilbert married Melva Esther Noxon in 1939, and raised a family.

A letter full of wonderful reminiscences was written by Gilbert to his daughter Marcy in 1980. It reflects on his times in the 1920s and concerns himself, his father Henry, mother Ellen and his siblings Frank and Violet. The letter is shown in full below with a copy of Gilbert’s passport photograph relating to that same period when he was preparing to emigrate to the USA. The photograph and the letter together show and tell a moving story for this young man.

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1921 By March 1921 Frank Hinchcliffe, the eldest son of Henry and Ellen Hinchcliffe who had left the army in 1920, was working as an agricultural contractor in Leicester on a temporary basis. As noted above, Frank was a married man with two young children.  Frank omitted all mention of his family in a letter to his mother Ellen written in March 1921. The letter describes his life and his desire to see his mother, brother and sister again in the USA. Enclosed with the letter was a photograph of Frank taken in 1920.

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Frank never made it to the USA, he went to Canada instead in July 1921; apparently without using the funds that his mother had offered. Frank left behind in England his wife and two children, the youngest of whom was born just one month before his departure for Canada.  Did Frank intend to send for his family to join him in Canada, or did Florence decline to leave England?  There is no way of knowing.  Frank never let his mother know where he had settled, possibly due to discomfort over his family situation. Ellen later made a trip to England in 1936, as did Gilbert in 1937, to try to find some trace of him but without success.

Frank was 18 when he emigrated but declared himself to be 21 and that he wanted to be a farmer. This declaration was made to facilitate his move to Canada so that he could travel on a Canadian Government Warrant which paid for his passage. Frank married Lily May Paige in 1936, possibly without the legality of a divorce from Florence Naomi Bird, raised a family and worked as a Stationary Engineer. They lived in Montreal, Canada.

1925 Ellen also funded her daughter Violet’s passage to the United States. Violet arrived in New York City in December 1925 at age 18, lived with her mother in New York City for a few years, eventually relocating to Bridgeport, Connecticut where she married John Kreutz in 1933 and raised a daughter. Violet’s marriage ended in a divorce.

1931 Henry Hinchcliffe advertised his photography business at 18a London Road in Leicester for sale in the local newspaper (see below) and emigrated to Canada at the age of 67 to live near his son Frank and his family.

Hinchcliffe Studio for sale 18a London Road Leicester newspaper 1930

Once located in Cowansville, Quebec, Canada, Henry opened the Sunbeam Studio. See the following advertisement of the studio’s services.

Hinchcliffes Photographers Sunbeam Studio Cowansville Quebec Canada

Following is a picture of Frank’s wife Lily May, and their adopted daughter Jessie, taken at the studio.

Lily May Hinchcliffe and daughter Jessie at Sunbeam Studios, Henry Hinchcliffe's Studio about 1932

Here is a picture of Henry Hinchcliffe taken about the same time in Canada. He was a distinguished looking man.

Henry Hinchcliffe and his dog 1932

Through the years, Henry kept one of his early cameras (see below). It is now in the possession of one of Frank’s sons.

Henry Hinchcliffe's camera - 1 adjusted 96dpi

1936 Here is a lovely portrait of Ellen Hinchcliffe, thought to have been taken in 1936 when she was 58 years old. She was still a good looking woman. Ellen remained close to her son, Gilbert, and his family who lived in Baltimore, Maryland; and to her daughter, Violet, and grandaughter who lived in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

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1940  Henry Hinchcliffe died in Cowansville, Quebec, Canada at the age of 76.

1952  Ellen Hinchcliffe, Henry Hinchcliffe’s estranged wife, died in New York, New York, USA at the age of 73. This brought to an end the dynasty of John Hinchcliffe, his children Alfred, Ramsden, Eva, Henry, Alice and Eugene and their respective spouses.

1983 Frank Hinchcliffe died in Montreal, Quebec, Canada at age 80.

1992 Gilbert Hinchcliffe died in Savannah, Georgia, USA at age 87.

2010 Violet Hinchcliffe Kreutz died in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA at age 103.




John Hinchcliffe’s Family

Father        William Hinchcliffe, born 1795

Mother        Susan Child, born 1798


John Hinchcliffe

Born             10 October 1824 Dewsbury, Yorkshire

Baptised       1825 Mirfield, Yorkshire

Married         1844 to Grace Colbeck at Batley
                       Born 1827, baptised 25 March 1827, died 10 October 1900

Child 1          1847 Alfred Hinchcliffe (d. 1902)

Child 2          1852 Ramsden Hinchcliffe (d.1910)

Child 3          1856 Eva Hinchcliffe (later Eva King; d.1920)

Child 4          1861 Clara Ellen Hinchcliffe (d. 1862)

Child 5          1863 Henry Hinchcliffe (d. 1940)

Child 6          1865 Alice Hinchcliffe (later Alice Davidson; d.1920)

Child 7          1870 Eugene Hinchcliffe (d.1912)

Died               16 July 1878 in Liverpool, Lancashire




Compiled by Ron Cosens © 2015 

Revised and updated in 2021.


  • which provided links to family members and documents.
  • Marcy – Gilbert Hinchcliffe’s daughter in the USA, family historian provided much of the family information and pictures in this biography
  • Jean Hinchcliffe McRae – Gilbert Hinchcliffe’s daughter in the USA, provided family history
  • Douglas Hinchcliffe, Frank Hinchcliffe’s son in Canada, provided family pictures and history
  • Brian Hinchcliffe, Frank Hinchcliffe’s grandson in England, provided additional family history
  • Ellen Hansen, Gilbert Hinchcliffe’s granddaughter in the USA, provided picture research
  • Marcella Ferrier, Frank Hinchcliffe’s and Gilbert Hinchcliffe’s first cousin once removed in Australia, provided additional family history and research.
  • Sandy Barrie for trade directory information
  • Marcel Safier for additional research
  • Allan Collierfor additional research
  • Jayne Shrimpton – for fashion advice & image dating
  • Ron Cosens for images from the Victorian Image Collection




Hinchcliffe – Gallery of mount designs

This gallery contains the MAIN types of carte de visite and cabinet card photographic mounts used by John Hinchcliffe and his family. Minor variations have been omitted.

John Hinchcliffe

John Hinchcliffe – Dewsbury

John Hinchcliffe Image 100 John Hinchcliffe Image 101

Carte de visite by John Hinchcliffe (aka Hinchliffe)


John Hinchcliffe Image 102 John Hinchcliffe Image 103

Carte de visite by John Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 104 John Hinchcliffe Image 105

Carte de visite by John Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 106 John Hinchcliffe Image 107

Carte de visite by John Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 108 John Hinchcliffe Image 109

Carte de visite by John Hinchcliffe (aka Hinchliffe)


John Hinchcliffe Image 110 John Hinchcliffe Image 111

Carte de visite by John Hinchcliffe (aka Hinchliffe)


John Hinchcliffe Image 112 John Hinchcliffe Image 113

Carte de visite by John Hinchcliffe (aka Hinchliffe)


John Hinchcliffe Image 114 John Hinchcliffe Image 115

Carte de visite by John Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 116 John Hinchcliffe Image 117

Carte de visite by John Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 118 John Hinchcliffe Image 119

Carte de visite by John Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 120 John Hinchcliffe Image 121

Carte de visite by John Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe – Dewsbury and Liverpool

John Hinchcliffe Image 122 John Hinchcliffe Image 123

Carte de visite by John Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 124 John Hinchcliffe Image 125

Carte de visite by John Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe – Liverpool only

No images available at this time


Grace Hinchcliffe and her children

Grace Hinchcliffe – 102 Cazneau Street

John Hinchcliffe Image 126 John Hinchcliffe Image 127

Carte de visite by Grace Hinchcliffe


Grace &/or Henry Hinchcliffe – 106 Cazneau Street

John Hinchcliffe Image 128 John Hinchcliffe Image 129

Carte de visite by Grace &/or Henry Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 130 John Hinchcliffe Image 131

Carte de visite by Grace &/or Henry Hinchcliffe


Hinchcliffes cdv101 Hinchcliffes cdv101x

 Carte de visite by Grace &/or Henry Hinchcliffe


Hinchcliffes cdv102 Hinchcliffes cdv102x

 Carte de visite by Grace &/or Henry Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 136 John Hinchcliffe Image 137

Carte de visite by Grace &/or Henry Hinchcliffe


Hinchcliffe Eagle Studio cav01 Eagle horizontal 96dpi

Hinchcliffe Eagle Studio cav01x Eagle horizontal 96dpi

Carte de visite by Grace &/or Henry Hinchcliffe


Hinchcliffes cdv0008 Hinchcliffes cdv0008x dated 1889

Carte de visite by Grace &/or Henry Hinchcliffe


Hinchcliffes cdv0007 Hinchcliffes cdv0007x

Carte de visite by Grace &/or Henry Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 142

John Hinchcliffe Image 143

Cabinet card by Grace &/or Henry Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 144 John Hinchcliffe Image 145

Carte de visite by Grace &/or Henry Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 146 John Hinchcliffe Image 147

Carte de visite by Grace &/or Henry Hinchcliffe


Grace Hinchcliffe – 18a Norton Street (Previously John Royal’s studio)

John Hinchcliffe Image 148

Carte de visite by Grace Hinchcliffe


Carte de Visite by Grace Hinchcliffe 96dpi Carte de Visite by Grace Hinchcliffe 96dpi

Carte de visite by Grace Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 149 John Hinchcliffe Image 150

Carte de visite by Grace Hinchcliffe


Grace Hinchcliffe – 2 Kempston Street

No images available at this time


Ramsden Hinchcliffe

Ramsden Hinchcliffe – Batley

John Hinchcliffe Image 151 John Hinchcliffe Image 152

Carte de visite by Ramsden Hinchcliffe


Ramsden Hinchcliffe – Liverpool 102 Park Lane

No images available at this time


Ramsden Hinchcliffe – Liverpool 15 Parker Street

No images available at this time


Ramsden Hinchcliffe t/a Hinchcliffe & Co

Ramsden Hinchcliffe t/a Hinchcliffe & Co – Liverpool

John Hinchcliffe Image 153 John Hinchcliffe Image 154

Carte de visite by Ramsden Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 155 John Hinchcliffe Image 156

Carte de visite by Ramsden Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 157 John Hinchcliffe Image 158

Carte de visite by Ramsden Hinchcliffe – established 1846 is a printing error


John Hinchcliffe Image 159 John Hinchcliffe Image 160

Carte de visite by Ramsden Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 161

John Hinchcliffe Image 162

Cabinet card by Ramsden Hinchcliffe with studio illustrated


Ramsden Hinchcliffe t/a Hinchcliffe & Co – Liverpool & New Brighton

John Hinchcliffe Image 163 John Hinchcliffe Image 164

Carte de visite by Ramsden Hinchcliffe


Henry Hinchcliffe

Henry Hinchcliffe – Liverpool

John Hinchcliffe Image 165

John Hinchcliffe Image 166

Cabinet Card photograph by Henry Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 167

Carte de visite by Henry Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 168

Cabinet card by Henry Hinchcliffe


Henry Hinchcliffe – Leicester – 39 Belgrave Gate

John Hinchcliffe Image 169

John Hinchcliffe Image 170

Postcard portrait by Henry Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 171


Henry Hinchcliffe – Leicester – 15a Cank Street

No images available at this time


Ellen Hinchcliffe

No images available at this time


Eugene Hinchcliffe

Eugene Hinchcliffe – Liverpool


Cabinet Card by Euene Hinchcliffe Landscape

Cabinet Card by Eugene Hinchcliffe


Hinchcliffe, E cab01

Hinchcliffe, E cab01x

Cabinet Card by Eugene Hinchcliffe


John Hinchcliffe Image 173 John Hinchcliffe Image 174

Carte de visite by Eugene Hinchcliffe


Alice Hinchcliffe

No images available at this time