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19th Century Photographers in Ayrshire: a preliminary list.


Corrected to 27 February, 2001

Copyright in this compilation belongs to Rob Close: no reproduction permitted without written authorisation.


A to G    H to M    N to end

ADAM, William. At 19 Fort Street, AYR in 1873/74 Directory.




ALLAN, John. At 10 Alloway Place, AYR in 1890/91 Directory: a partner in Marshall Wane & Allan.


ANDERSON, J., & SON, DALRY. Advert in ASH 21.1.1887. Advert (ANDERSON & SON) in ASH 8.6.1888.




AYRSHIRE PHOTOGRAPHIC CO. At 26 John Finnie Street, KILMARNOCK, in 1898-1900 Directory. This address previously used by William Craig & Co.


BALLANTINE, D. MAUCHLINE. Advert in ASH 7.4.1866. DBS has nd cdv, D Ballantine, Mauchline and Troon.


BALLANTINE, John. Ayr Road, CUMNOCK, in Cumnock Registers from 1882 to 1891 [1884 missing - B page missing 1892]. DBS: Photo of New Cumnock, winners of Eglinton Jug, 3 successive years to 1872/73, is by J Ballantine. Cf Wilhelm Hess.

ASH 26.3.1859. Advert. New waiting room and extension to premises.

AA 11.4.1861. Studio will re-open 19.4.1861, and then be open every Friday and Saturday. Has stereoscope views of, e.g., Drumlanrig and Lanfine, "several of which are rare gems". ASH 12.4.1862: establishment will re-open Friday 18.4.1862. ASH 24.10.1863: is about to erect new premises in a more convenient situation. ASH 27.2.1864: will open new premises in Ayr Road, near Free Church, on 17.3.1864; has new cartes de visite lens by Ross of London.

AA 5.1.1871, 1e: Advert placed by John Ballantine, photographer, Cumnock. Will be closed from 21.12.1870 to 6.3.1871.

John Ballantine is one of original trustees of John Baird, †1888.


BARA, Ambrose. First recorded at 9 Cromwell Place, AYR, in 1878/79 Directory: address previously used by David Campbell, and latterly by James Rae. In 1880/81 Directory has two addresses: 9 Cromwell Place, known as Fort Studios, and 10 Beresford Terrace, Ayr, known as Beresford Studio [which Bara had acquired from Hugh Murdoch (q.v.) in 1879]. In 1882/83 Bara built a new studio on the other side of Cromwell Place (known today as Citadel Place, and c.1890 gave up the Beresford Terrace studio [q.v. Burns]. He lived initially at 10 Beresford Terrace, but c.1883 moved to St John’s. Fort, Ayr. Ambrose Bara died in December 1890, suffering a fit and falling from his horse as he rode through Prestwick. The business was continued by his wife, [Directories 1892/93 and 1894/95], and then as ‘Bara’ into the 20th Century. In the 1894/95 and 1896/97 Directories a second studio in Smith Street, Ayr, is recorded, and in 1900/01 a studio in Troon is recorded. Photographs by "Bara" used to illustrate article on opening of Victoria Bridge, Ayr, in Scots Pictorial, May 1898. [See also MONNICKENDAM]


BARCLAY, John. At Riverbank, KILMARNOCK, in 1892/93 Directory. He is listed only as an engineer in the Names Index, but his advertisement confirms that he was a photographer. It may be that the photographer was the son of the engineer.


BECKET, Samuel. ASH 29.4.1887: Silverae House, Caledonia Road. He has opened his new studio here. Has had 24 years experience with Mr Fergus, Largs.

[He may be the "Mr Becket, photographer, there" whose photographs taken at Brodick and Lamlash are referred to in ASH 20.7.1867].


BERGMAN, F W. nd, DBS cdv. Has addresses in Main Street, Muirkirk; Main Street, West Calder; 91 Quarry Street, Hamilton.


BOOTH, George. At Wood’s Buildings, [26] John Finnie Street, KILMARNOCK, in Directories from 1882/83 to 1887/88. Address previously used by James Bruce, and subsequently by William Craig & Co. Booth moved to 5 John Dickie Street [Directories 1892/93 to 1898-1900] His advert in the 1898-1900 Directory claims that the firm was established in 1862: see Bruce.


BREWSTER, James [c1817 - 1883]. Advert in AA 10.1.1861 (but dated 29.9.1860): has moved from 135 High Street to 20 New Bridge Street. Thanks for patronage over last 5 years. New advert in AA 7.2.1861. Encomium paragraph in AA 28.3.1861: "local artist of gentlemanly manners, and great professional merit".

20 New Bridge Street, AYR. In Directories from 1861/62 to 1880/81. In 1882/83 Directory listed in name list only, at 40 High Street. Mrs James Brewster - not a photographer - is listed in Directories 1884/85 to 1888/89. In 1861 Census the Brewsters are recorded at 10 High Street, Ayr [C1861 578-3-22}: he is 44, and was born in Edinburgh, she [Christina] is 30 and was born in Newton upon Ayr.

[AA 16.5.1861. Ad on 8d, J Brewster, photographic artist, 20 New Bridge Street - and in announcements, also 8d, daughter born 12.5.1861 at 10 High Street.]

AA, Th 13.12.1883, 5f: Died, 40 High Street, 11.12.1883, James Brewster, photographer, aged 64.

[See also White and Brewster]


BRODIE, Edward. See John Henry WHYTE.


BROWN, Hugh. C1871-595-5-87, High Street, IRVINE. Hugh Brown, 28, photographer, b Mauchline. Spo, Agnes, 28, b Dundonald, and son Robert Burns Brown, 2, b Irvine.


BROWN, John. At 84 Portland Street, KILMARNOCK, in 1868 and 1872 Directories. He appears to be proprietor, 1864-1871, of "Ivybank, Wellington Street", which may be equivalent to 84 PS. 1872 directory additionally says "House: Dundonald". [DBS cdv says Kilmarnock and Troon]

Advert in KWP 20.7.1861, 1b, for John Brown, photographer and calotypist, 90 Portland Street. Includes price for cartes de visite: 18s per dozen. Advert in KWP 31.5.1862, and in ASH 14.6.1862: JB has erected a commodious portrait gallery at 82 Portland Street. Advert in KWP 3.1.1863: Cartes de visite, 8s per dozen; 5s per half dozen. Cartes coloured in all styles, from 1s upwards. Advert in KS 12.11.1870: from 5th November 1870, studios in Portland Street will be open on Saturdays only.

[AA 23.3.1865, 8e: Born, Ivy Bank Cottage, Wellington Street, Kilmarnock, 15.3.1865, a daughter to wife of John Brown, photographer.]

[ASH 29.4.1865 reports that Mr Brown has opened a first class photographic establishment (wooden) in Bank Street, Kilmarnock]

[ASH 27.6.1868. Ad. His former assistant, Alexander Gilchrist, has taken over business of T Harrow]

[ASH 13.1.1872. - "enlarged photographs (untouched) by the new photo-crayon process" - the latest novelty in the art.


ASH 28.4.1866. Mr Brown, Kilmarnock, photographer, will open branch in Troon on Saturday 5.5., which will be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.


BROWN, Robert. C1871-595-4-3, Springfield House, Kilmarnock Road, IRVINE. Robert Brown, 63, photographer, b Darvel. Spouse, Janet, 56, b Mauchline.

[Cf ASH, 1.8.1874: Died 16.7.1874, aged ‘nearly 80’, Robert Brown of Brown & Son, photographers. Born in Mauchline]


BRUCE, James. At John Finnie Street, KILMARNOCK. In 1868 Directory as Howie Bruce & Findlay [other partners: John Howie (q.v.) and Hugh Findlay]. On own account in 1872 and 1879 Directories. Succeeded in the premises by George Booth, q.v., whose advert, 1898-1900, says the business was established in 1862.

Advert in ASH 17.7.1869 for James Bruce, photographic artist, John Finnie Street (foot of railway brae), Kilmarnock.


BURNS PHOTOGRAPHIC CO. At 10 Beresford Terrace, AYR, in 1890/91 Directory. Address previously used by Ambrose Bara. Appears not to have been used subsequently.


BUTTERWORTH, William. [c1823 - ] In 1861 Census, William Butterworth, 38, photgraphic artist, his wife, Martha, 29 and their son, Joseph, 2, all born in Rochdale are recroded as living in a travelling caravan at Catrine. [C1861 613-10-137]

KWP 21.8.1858: The Birmingham Photographic Gallery will be opened in Kilmarnock on Wednesday 25th August in East George Street for a short time only. Messrs Butterworth and Smith ... being so liberally patronised during their last visit here (at the Fair), and by desire of several respectable parties, they will revisit this place." KWP 18.12.1858: Birmingham Photographic Gallery closing in Kilmarnock - opening in Stewarton on Saturday 25 December 1858.

KWP 22.12.1860: William Butterworth ... has opened his gallery in Duke Street for a short season.


CAMPBELL, Colin, Cumnock. Advert in Cumnock Express 24.11.1893 gives address as Barrhill Road. Advert in CC 17.1.1902 gives addresses at Barrhill Road, Cumnock, and 133 High Street, Kirkcaldy.


CAMPBELL, David, Ayr. At 9 Cromwell Place, AYR, in 1861/62 and 1864/65 Directories. Mrs David Campbell, photographer, listed in 1867/68 Directory. "Campbell’s" listed in 1870/71 and 1873/74 Directories. Address subsequently used by James Rae and Ambrose Bara. Appears to be a different individual from following entry.

[AA 21.4.1859, 5d: Photographic Studio. D Campbell respectfully announces, that from the success he has experienced as an Amateur Photographer during the last 5 years, he has been induced, at the solicitation of a number of friends, to commence the practice of PHOTOGRAPHY Professionally; and that he has just opened those commodious premises, specially erected for a photographic studio, at No,20 New Bridge Street, where he intends following out the Art in all its branches. The Art taught in a few lessons. 20 New Bridge Street, Ayr, April 1859.] [20 New Bridge Street address of James Brewster after September 1860]

[AA 10.1.1861, 1a. D Campbell, photographic artist, Cromwell Place, Fort, Ayr. "The Art taught in a few lessons"]

[AA 31.1.1861, 4c. Praise for views shown by Campbell at London Photographic Exhibition - called by BJP one of the few ‘new artistes who are likely to be men of mark". See ref in AA file. AA 7.2.1861 carries big advert, with long list of views available. Address: "9 Cromwell Place ‘the corner house opposite the Fort Castle’".]

[AA 16.5.1861, 1e. "David Campbell. Begs to announce his return from Haddingtonshire. His portrait rooms will be open on and after Thursday first. He has brought with him a large number of new photographs, specimens of which will shortly be added to his collection. 9 Cromwell Place, Fort, Ayr. 14th May 1861".]

[AA 20.6.1861, 8e. Avert. Campbell’s Photographic Portrait Rooms and Photographic Printing Establishment, 9 Cromwell Place, Fort, Ayr].

[AA 9.3.1865, 5c; David Campbell, photographer, 9 Cromwell Place, Fort "has opened his portrait establishment for the season. I have .... this year engaged a Competent Assistant, who will conduct the Portrait Department in my absence".]


CAMPBELL, David, Newton-on-Ayr. At [13] Allison Street, NEWTON UPON AYR, from 1864/65 to 1890/91 Directories. Listed as ‘photographic printer’ in 1864/65 and as ‘late photographer’ from 1884/85. Mrs David Campbell, (not a photographer), continues to be listed at 13 Allison Street until 1898/99 Directory.


CAMPBELL, Elizabeth. Wife of David Campbell, Ayr. In 1861 Cenus she is recorded at 9 Cromwell Place, Ayr [C1861 578-13-40]. She is 28, born in Catrine, and described as ‘photographer’s wife".


CHALMERS, C.B. Muirkirk. DBS cdv, nd.


COOK, Joseph. At 61 King Street, KILMARNOCK, in 1895/97 and 1898-1900 Directories. 1898-1900 Directory advert gives additional addresses in Paisley [32 High Street] and Glasgow [11 West Nile Street]. Advert in ASH 20.10.1899 gives the three addresses.


COWAN, Hugh C. ‘Photographist’, St Andrew Street, KILMARNOCK. Died 1 December 1854, aged 25. Obituary in Kilmarnock Chronicle 2.12.1854. [Ref: AGN85]


CRAIG, William, & Co. At Wood’s Buildings, 26 John Finnie Street, KILMARNOCK, in 1892/93 and 1895/97 Directories. Address previously used by George Booth, and subsequently by Ayrshire Photographic Co.


DARGAVEL, William. At 4 Murray Place, NEWTON UPON AYR in 1876/77 Directory. This appears to be an error: Dargavel was a partner in a family-run tobacconist. There is no evidence, other than the Directory entry, to suggest he was a professional photographer.


DAVIDSON, George. ASH 2.6.1860: "George Davidson, Quay, Irvine, is prepared to take photographic likenesses in a very superior manner, at his house, which he has fitted up expressly for this purpose, in Provost Barr’s Land. Irvine, 25th May 1860".

Advert in ASH 31.5.1862: has removed to house (the former Post Office) in Bridgegate, Irvine.


DICK, John. Advert in ASH 10.1.1863: photographer and picture frame maker, High Street, Irvine. Brief paragraph in ASH 31.1.1863 commends his large photographs of late Earl of Eglinton, coloured "with great taste", and says that "with the approach of favourable weather, Mr Dick is likely to have plenty to do". ASH 14.11.1863, advert, photographer. Advert in ASH 7.1.1865.


ELLIOTT, --. Advert in ASH 13.2.1864: Mr Elliott’s studios 76 Princes Street, Ardrossan: "glass house in the yard of Mr Wallace, optician".

ASH 7.1.1865: 57 Princes Street, Ardrossan.


FERGUS, John. LARGS [DBS 2 ccdv, nd] [See also Samuel Becket, who was with him c.1863-1887] [See also R Robinson, who was with him 5 years to c.1877]

In 1875 J Fergus bought the small 5A estate, Blackdales, Charles St., Largs, from Robert Blair, sugar refiner, Greenock, for £7600. ASH, 20.11.1875.

ASH 7.12.1888: Mr John Fergus, photographer, Largs, we believe, is about to open a branch establishment at LaTourelle, Cannes, France. Mr Fergus left for La Tourelle this week.


FERGUS Brothers, 5 Albert Place West, Blackhall Street, GREENOCK, LARGS and MILLPORT. DBS cdv, nd.


FERGUSON, Andrew. 81 Princes Street, ARDROSSAN. Advert in ASH 27.6.1868.


FINDLAY, Hugh. Died at Bank Street, KILMARNOCK 17 March 1868, aged 36. [KS 21.3.1868]


GILCHRIST, Alexander. At Duke Street, KILMARNOCK, in 1868 Directory. Advert in ASH 27.6.1868 - lately assistant to Mr John Brown, and has succeeded to the business in Duke Street, so long carried on by Mr T Harrow, who has left town.


© Rob Close 2001

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