Richard John LUESLEY

Richard John Luesley 1858 – 1924


Photographic Business

Richard first advertised a studio Rochester in 1887. By 1902 he was advertising in Barnes, London SW and stopped advertising in 1905.



Cage Lane Court, Strood, Kent




Newark Street, Strood, Kent




2 Margaret Terrace, Paddington, London




23 Cazeneuve Street, Rochester, Kent




16 Hillensdon Avenue, Barnes, Surrey




3 Cleveland Gardens, Barnes, Surrey



Richard was born to Joseph Thomas Luesley and Sarah Elizabeth Luesley on the 23 December 1858 in Strood, Kent and was baptised on the 6 February 1859 at St. Nicholas Parish Church in Rochester. His father was a tailor.

Little is known about his early life in Strood but, according to census records, by 1861, he was two years old and was living at Cage Lane Court, Strood with his parents, his older brother Joseph Stephen Luesley and his baby sister Sarah Elizabeth Luesley who was three months old.

By 1871 Richard was 12 and was a scholar and was still living in Strood at Newark Street. He was with his parents and his brother and sister Joseph and Sarah and two new siblings, Emily Luesley who was eight and Mary Ann Luesley who was five.

By 1881, then aged 22, Richard had moved to Paddington in London and was living as a lodger with Ann Weare (Weave?) and he was working as a tailor.

In February 1885 he married Mary Ann Edwards (born 16 Oct 1863 in Sheerness, Kent) at St. Nicholas Parish Church, Rochester and by September of that year their first child, Richard Joseph Henry Luesley, was born followed by Violet May Luesley in January 1887.

The first indications of him becoming a photographer were all in 1887. Although his home address was 3 Nags Head Lane, Rochester (taken from the baptism record for his daughter Violet) he advertised his photographer’s studio as being at 214 High Street Rochester. Also, Violet’s baptism record stated his occupation as ‘Photographer’.

He does not appear to have advertised his High Street, Rochester studio after 1887 (people did not necessarily advertise every year).

In 1891 he was definitely living at  23 Cazeneuve Street, Rochester, Kent and listed in the census as working as a photographer and Richard’s wife was recorded as a photographer’s assistant. They were living with their children, five year old Richard and four year old Violet.

Further children followed, Clarence St Clair Luesley in 1893, Agnes May Luesley in 1895 and by 1896, when Lily Winifred Luesley was born, the family appears to have moved to Luton, Kent as she was born in Luton.

By 1901 Richard had moved to 16 Hillensdon Avenue, Barnes, Surrey and was still listed as a photographer working on his ‘own account at home’ i.e. self employed. Richard and Mary were living with their children Richard Luesley junior (15), Violet Luesley (14), Clarence Luesley (8), Agnes Luesley (6) and Lily Luesley (4).

By 1902 he advertised his studio at Station Road, Barnes (in Surrey but also part of London SW) and advertised the studio at that address until 1905.

Richard and Mary’s daughter, Hilda Averil Luesley, was born in Barnes in 1904 but trouble was ahead.

According to 1906 newspapers in England (The Richmond & Twickenham Times – 31 March 1906) and  in Australia (West Gippsland Gazette, Warragul – 29 May 1906), Richard was implicated in the death of a young woman who had three months earlier given birth to his child at Richmond Workhouse. Both reports were similar and read as follows:




IN THE CORONER’S COURT. While dredging for sand at Mortlake a lighterman recovered the dead body of Agnes Mary Peck , twenty-eight, a domestic servant, and a tragic story was told at the inquest held by Dr. Michael Taylor yesterday. The woman, who was single, was the mother of two children, and Richard John Luesley, a photographer, of First Avenue, Mortlake, told the jury that he had known her about three years. He first made her acquaintance through his wife nursing her first baby. He was the father of one child. The coroner “I believe you then had the audacity to take this young woman and your child to the house where your wife and family were living?” – Quite so. The witness went on to say that he met the young woman in a public-house on the 22nd March, and she told him that she was going into the Richmond Workhouse.  He had left the house for a minute and found her gone on his return. A few days later he learned that she had been found in the Thames. The Coroner:- “Why did not you tell your wife that Peck had gone to the Workhouse?” – “My dear sir”. The Coroner: “I do not want ‘my dear sir’ from you”. The Coroner pointed out that Peck’s baby had disappeared, and it was quite possible that its body was in the Thames. The jury returned a verdict of Found Drowned, and said that Luesley should be severely censured for his behaviour. The Coroner (to Leuesley): “The jury and I think that you are an unmitigated black guard. You are morally responsible for this poor woman’s death, and I wish we could fasten it on you. Go away”.

From the Daily Mail – 20th March 1906.


Despite the scandal of 1906, Richard and Mary had a further daughter, Christina Elizabeth M Luesley, in 1910. She was born in Barnes, London.

By 1911 Richard was still working as a photographer but was working from his new home in Barnes at 3 Cleveland Gardens. Interestingly, Richard had a ‘photographer’s  assistant’ boarding with him – a Leon Watson, aged 19, who was born in Rochester where Richard had previously come from.

Perhaps the Mortlake scandal put a damper on his photography business as, in 1913, he was admitted to the same workhouse himself, which suggests business wasn’t exactly booming.

Richard died in 1924 in Fulham Registration District, London.


Richard’s Uncle in Australia

Richard had an uncle, also named Richard, who was a brother of his father Joseph. Uncle Richard emigrated to Australia in 1853 and was not heard of again. Richard’s father, Joseph, actually wrote to the Australian press in 1905 to see if he could trace his brother but, sadly, he had died in Victoria in 1855 at the age of 24, just two years after he had arrived in Australia. See below:-


Missing Friends Advert 1905 Part 1

Missing Friends Advert 1905 Part 1


Missing Friends Advert 1905 Part 2

Missing Friends Advert 1905 Part 2


There is no doubt that Joseph, who had lost all of his other siblings by 1905, could have done with some better news considering the scandal that was to surround Agnes Mary Peck.




Richard John Luesley Family 

Father – Joseph Thomas Luesley born c.1829 in Rochester, Kent

Mother – Sarah Elizabeth Luesley (nee Turner) born c.1835 in Strood, Kent


Born 23 December 1858 in Strood, Kent

Baptized   6 February 1859 at St. Nicholas Parish Church, Rochester, Kent

Married    17 February 1885 at St. Nicholas Parish Church, Rochester, Kent to Mary Ann Edwards (born 16 Oct 1863 in Sheerness, Kent)

Child 1     Richard Joseph Henry Luesley. Born 5 Sep 1885 in Rochester, Kent

Child 2     Violet May Luesley. Born 31 Jan 1887 in Rochester, Kent

Child 3     Clarence St Clair Luesley. Born 9 Jan 1893 in Rochester, Kent

Child 4     Agnes May Luesley. Born 21 Feb 1895 in Rochester, Kent

Child 5     Lily Winifred Luesley. Born 1896 in Luton, Kent

Child 6     Hilda Averil Luesley. Born 28 Apr 1904 in Barnes, Surrey

Child 7     Christina Elizabeth M Luesley. Born 1910 in Barnes, Surrey

Died         1924 in Fulham Registration District, London





 Compiled by Ron Cosens ©




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