FAMOUS DERBY PEOPLE


Photograph by Richard Keene.
Rotton Row in Market Head
looking north to Irongate

Richard Keene 1825-1894
Lots of the old photos of Derby were taken by Richard Keene, Derbyshire photographer, he was born in London on May 15th 1825, and was the son of Richard Keene and Priscilla Kimpton. The family moved to Derby in 1828 where his father worked as the manager of Frost's Silk Mill.
After his education at Thomas Swanwick's academy in Derby, Richard Keene was apprenticed to Thomas Richardson & sons, printers of Ashbourne, moving to their London offices. He then worked for Simpkin Marshall & co where he learnt about publishing and bookselling.
Richard returned to Derby, setting up as a printer, publisher and bookseller at 24 Irongate in 1851. He developed an interest in photography taking photographs of Derby and Derbyshire which he began to sell as prints. Soon the photography dominated his business and Richard Keene & Co became known for high quality topographical views. He produced private commissions for firms, estates and families as well as running a portrait studio, he also took photos in many other counties.
He was a founder member of the Derby Photographic Society, formed in 1884 and a member of the Photographic Convention of the UK.
Keene married Mary Barrow in 1851 and lived in Radbourne Street, Derby where he died in 1894, leaving 5 sons and 3 daughters.


Birds the Confectioners
Birds the Confectioners
Birds the Confectioners: Their tall Pork Pie the best I have ever tasted and very delicious cakes. Birds the Confectioners was founded by three brothers; Frank, Thomas and Reginald Bird in 1919. The company was later passed on to their sons, the last of the founder members passing away in 1951.
In the 40s and 50s I remember long queues forming outside the shops in St James St, Normanton Rd and the Cavendish.
Paul Bird the second generation pioneer expanded the company considerably while maintaining the quality of their products.
Currently the company is run by the third generation Patrick and Nicholas Bird.


Matthew Walker Food Producer 1869 - 1944
Matthew Walker was born Dec 6th.1869 at Anslow nr Tutbury the son of Matthew a Derbyshire farmer and Sarah Walker. After leaving school he worked in Austin Hodgkinson's high class grocery shop which was situated in Derby market place and was still working there in 1901,he was living at 226 Uttoxeter New Rd Derby.
The 1911 census shows: He was still living at 226 Uttoxeter New Rd
Matthew Walker, 42. Fruit Preserver
Kate Walker, Wife 38
John Walker, Son 4
He started making Christmas puddings, mincemeat and jams using his mothers traditional recipes. Word soon spread about his home made produce and,he opened his first factory in Exeter Street, Derby. The business grew steadily and, when Matthew Walker died in 1944, his son John continued the business. In 1968 John Walker sold the company, which was moved to its present home in Heanor. After several changes in ownership, the Heanor factory became part of Northern Foods in 1992. The company supplies many supermarket own brands as well as their own much loved range of puddings, which are sold in countries throughout the world. Each year, the factory produces around 20 million puddings, each one taking up to 4 days to complete.


“Austin Hodgkinson” high class grocery shop Market Head Derby
Gilbert Frank Hodgkinson (February 19th 1913 — January 7th 1987) played cricket for Derbyshire between 1935 and 1946 and captained the team in 1946.
Gilbert was born in Derby, the second son in a family of six children, and educated at Derby School. He ran a family grocery business "Austin Hodgkinson". He made his debut for Derbyshire in the 1935 season against the touring South Africans in May. In the match, he made 44 runs including nine fours which came mainly from drives and this was the side's top score in the match and his own career best score. He made two more first-team appearances for the Derbyshire team in 1935 and one in the 1937 season. Otherwise, he played mainly in second team games in the pre-war period.
In World War II He was wounded badly in the head and taken prisoner in 1940. After the war he was captain for the 1946 season at a time when Derbyshire had difficulty finding anyone to commit to the task He played regularly in the season and Derbyshire ended the season fifteenth in the table. He ended his career with Derbyshire in 1946 but played one game for North Wales in 1947.
He died at The Pastures, Mickleover, Derbyshire in 1987at the age of 73.

Joseph Wright was born in Irongate, Derby, the son of John Wright (1697–1767) an attorney, who was afterwards town-clerk and his wife, Hannah Brookes (1700–1764); he was the third of their five children. Wright was educated at Derby grammar school and taught himself to draw by copying prints. Deciding to become a painter, Wright went to London in 1751 and for two years studied under portraitist Thomas Hudson, the master of Joshua Reynolds. After painting portraits for a while at Derby, Wright again worked as an assistant to Hudson for fifteen months. In 1753 he returned to and settled in Derby and varied his work in portraiture by the production of the subjects with strong chiaroscuro under artificial light, with which his name is chiefly associated and by landscape painting. In 1756 Wright returned to Hudson's studio for 15 months. Wright also spent a productive period in Liverpool, from 1768 to 1771, painting portraits. These included pictures of a number of prominent citizens and their families. Wright married Ann (also known as Hannah) Swift, the daughter of a leadminer, on 28 July 1773 and at the end of that year visited Italy, where he remained till 1775. Wright and his wife had six children, three of whom died in infancy. While at Naples Wright witnessed an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which formed the subject of many of his subsequent paintings. On his return from Italy he established himself at Bath as a portrait-painter, but meeting with little encouragement he returned to Derby in 1777, where he spent the rest of his life. He became increasingly asthmatic and nervous about the house, and for these complaints he was treated by his friend Dr. Erasmus Darwin. Ann Wright died on 17 August 1790. On 29 August 1797 Wright died at his new home at No. 28 Queen Street, Derby, where he had spent his final months with his two daughters. The label Wright of Derby was first bestowed on him by the Gazetteer's exhibition reviewer of 1768.

Francis William Scarratt local photographer and publisher 1876 - 1964 the second son of Thomas and Annie Scarratt born Hadley End, near Yoxall in Staffordshire, the Scarratts were originally from nearby Barton-under-Needwood. Shortly after his birth the family moved to Derby.
According to Jewell (1995), Francis worked briefly as a coachman for the vicar of Allestree during his teens, which must have been in the early to mid-1890s. In 1897 he married Mary "Polly" Johnson at Burton and they settled in Derby. In 1899 records show Francis as a newsagent at premises in 28 Campion Street, Derby, but at the end of March 1901, he was living at 15 Upper Boundary Road, Derby, and working as a "designer for wall paper." He was employed by Wilkins, Ellis & Co., a firm of wall paper merchants, in their warehouse at 12 St Peter's Street.
In about 1903 Francis opened a small stationer's shop in Boundary Road, and a year later moved to premises at 117 Abbey Street, on the corner of Wilson Street and adjacent to the Vine Inn. In 1905 he moved again, this time just across the road to number 114 Abbey Street.
In 1906 he published his first picture postcards, using photographs of Derbyshire scenes that he had taken himself, and printing them in Germany.
Over the next three decades Francis would go on to produce almost two thousand different designs, mostly of city, town and village views of Derbyshire, but also Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire.
The census of 1911 shows Francis and Mary, now with three children, still at Abbey Street. Between then and early 1912, they had moved again to 115 Normanton Road, where their home would remain until the 1920s. It was about this time that Francis opened a shop in the Derby Market Hall.
From 1917 until 1938, when production ceased, all of his postcards were published from the Market Hall premises.
Francis Scarratt died on 29th March 1964, aged 88, in Mickleover, where he had lived with his wife since the mid-1920s.

Francis Scarratt Postcards


Print by Frank Sherwin 16”x12”
Frank Sherwin 1896-1986 was born in Derby and studied at the Derby School of Art and then in Chelsea, London at the Heatherleys School of Fine Art. He specialised in watercolours, but is remembered for the railway posters which promoted travel to holiday destinations around Britain and were very much part of the railways in the days of steam. He did posters for GWR, LMS, LNER & British Rail.
During the war he was an advisor to the War Office on the camouflage of air fields. It is also said that some of his paintings were used in wartime posters. For the last forty six years of his life he lived in the High Street in Cookham Village in Berkshire.


Dame Laura Knight Born Laura Johnson Long Eaton, Derbyshire, England 4 August 1877 - 7 July 1970 (aged 92) Laura Johnson was born in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, the youngest of three daughters to Charles and Charlotte Johnson. Her father died not long after her birth, and Laura grew up in a family that struggled with financial problems. In 1889, she was sent to France with the intention that she would eventually study art at a Parisian atelier. After a short time in French schools, she returned to England. Charlotte Johnson did some part-time teaching at the Nottingham School of Art and managed to get Laura Johnson enrolled as an 'artisan student' there, paying no fees, aged just thirteen. Aged fifteen, Laura Johnson took over her mother's teaching duties when Charlotte became seriously ill. Later she won a modest scholarship and the gold medal in the national student competition held by the then South Kensington Museum. She continued to give private lessons after she left the Art School as both her and her sister Evangeline Agnes, known as Sissie, had been left to live together on very little money, after the deaths of their mother, their sister Nellie and both of their grandmothers At school, Laura met one of the most promising students, Harold Knight, then aged 17, and determined that the best method of learning was to copy Harold's technique. They became friends, and were married in 1903. She was an English artist who worked in oils, watercolours, etching, engraving and drypoint. Laura Knight was a painter in the figurative, realist tradition who embraced English Impressionism. During her long career, she was among the most successful and popular painters in Britain. In 1929 she was created a Dame and in 1936 became the first woman elected to the Royal Academy since its foundation in 1768. Her large retrospective exhibition at the Royal Academy, in 1965, was another first for a woman. Although Laura was known for painting amidst the world of the theatre and ballet in London, and for being a war artist during the Second World War, she was also greatly interested in, and inspired by, communities and individuals including Gypsies and circus performers.

Holiday Poster by Laura Knight.


Artist Louise Rayner was born in Matlock Bath Derbyshire
The picture " At the End of the Day " is from a print of a painting by Louisa Rayner a Derbyshire born artist whose life spanned the years 1832 to 1924.

1518 - 1608 Elizabeth [Bess] Hardwick - Landowner
1561 - 1586 Anthony Babington - Conspirator
1593 - 1683 Izaac Walton - Writer and Angler
1630 - 1687 Charles Cotton - Writer and Angler. Was Cotton Lane named after him?
1646 - 1719 John Flamsteed - Scientist
1682 - 1752 Robert Bakewell - Wrought ironsmith
1709 - 1784 Samuel Johnson - Writer and Traveller
1713 - 1788 John Whitehurst - Clock maker and scientist
1726 - 1797 Jedediah Strutt - Mill owner
1731 - 1802 Erasmus Darwin - Scientist
1731 - 1810 Henry Cavendish - Scientist
1732 - 1792 Richard Arkwright - Mill Owner
1734 - 1797 Joseph Wright - Painter
1734 - 1782 Joseph Pickford - Architect
1764 - 1805 Benjamin Outram - Civil engineer
1769 - 1822 Peter Fidler - Chief surveyor and mapmaker for the Hudson Bay Company
1781 - 1841 Francis Legatt Chantrey - Artist
1801 - 1865 Joseph Paxton - Architect and landscape gardener
1804 - 1887 Joseph Whitworth - Engineer
1806 - 1873 Henry Izaac Stevens - Architect
1808 - 1892 Thomas Cook - Founder of modern day travel
1820 - 1903 Herbert Spencer - Founder of modern sociology
1820 - 1910 Florence Nightingale - Nurse and Hospital Reformer
1822 - 1898 Francis Frith - Photographer
1825 - 1894 Richard Keene - Photographer
1829 - 1890 Catherine Booth - Co-founder of the Salvation Army
1832- 1924 Louise Rayner a Derbyshire born artist 1863 - 1933 Henry Royce - Car and Aero engine designer
1869 - 1944 Matthew Walker - Christmas Pudding maker
1876 - 1964 Francis William Scarratt local photographer and publisher.
1877 - 1970 Dame Laura Knight, DBE, RA, RWS
1884 - 1976 Alison Uttley - Writer
1885 - 1930 D.H.Lawrence - Writer
1885 - 1975 Stuart Mais - Writer & broadcaster
1887 - 1979 Barnes Wallis - Inventor of the bouncing bomb
1896 - 1986 Frank Sherwin - Artist
1901- 1978 Joe Davis - Champion snooker player
1934 - 2003 Alan Bates - Actor
1940 - John Hurt - Actor
1941 - Vivienne Westwood - Fashion Designer


Frank Sherwin print - Westcotes Quay St Ives Cornwall