H.J. Gover, photographer, Piccadilly, Hanley

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Description:H.J. Gover's artists and photographers shop at 53, Piccadilly, Hanley.

Herbert James Gover was born in Clerkenwell, London in 1857. He was the son of Edward J. Gover, draughtsman and author of an 1858 book still available today: "Gover's Handy Book For All Readers, Being A Complete Manual Of Reference: Containing Copious Extracts And Quotations From The Best Authors". By the 1881 census Herbert, then aged 23, was working as a photographer and living with his wife and baby in Earlswick in Scotland. He came to the Potteries area by the following year and is believed to have been the manager of A. & G. Taylor's photographers shop in Hanley and eventually took over the business under his own name, subsequently moving to the premises shown here.

After retiring from business, around 1919, he moved to Stratford-on-Avon where he died in 1938. The Staffordshire Sentinel then received a letter from an ex-colleague who said that Herbert had been associated with Dr Barnado, accompanying him on his night-time searches for waifs and strays. This is quite possible as he lived the area at the relevant time period. It is also worth noting that Barnado opened a photographic department in 1874 in the Stepney Boys Home to take before and after photographs of the children. The correspondent also stated that Herbert was the first in Hanley to introduce Welsbach Incandesent lighting to the shop and studio, around 1905.

Image from 'Staffordshire Past and Present: An Historical Pictorial & Descriptive Guide' published in 1911 and edited by J.W. Bradley.

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Donor ref:LH2133_Gover (37/41205)

Source: Staffordshire Museum Service

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