Frederick Mark Shettle, Photographer of Bradford-on-Avon, UK

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May I impose upon you for some advice please. See the attached photographs I have recently recovered from an old family album. Using your remarkable site, I felt I could possibly date the individuals as the original collector had omitted dates and names and so 'googled' for the photographer F. W. Shettle of Bradford-on-Avon. Your site also gave the name and I came across Maureen Shettle, a descendant. I've produced a precis of her reply to me for your information
Adrian Lewis

F. Shettle was Frederick Mark Shettle, a son of my ancestral uncle George Shettle and his wife Clara, formerly Clara Fieldgate. George was the brother of my gt. grandfather Isaac Shettle (born c. 1824) who both hailed from the village of Froxfield in Wiltshire and moved to the London area in the 1840s and 50s.

George and his 3 sons including Frederick were all in the photographic business and I have been hoping against hope that I might eventually find an example of their work.

Frederick was born in Peckham in 1864. At the time of the 1881 census when he was 16, he was living with his father and stepmother at 65 Dartmouth Place, Lewisham. His father George was then a photographer, and Frederick and his older brother Arthur were described as photographer's assistants.

By 1891 Frederick had moved to Rose Hill Terrace, Brighton where he was now described as a photographer in his own right. According to information from a branch of the family now living in France, Fred and his brother Arthur were working with a photographer named Fry who worked in close association with Fox Talbot. [probably W. & Allen Hastings Fry, 68 East Street, Brighton, at that address 1867 to 1897]

I don't know exactly when Fred moved to Bradford on Avon but I was aware of the trade directory entry for him in 1899 in Trowbridge Road.

In the 1901 census he was living at 13 St Margarets Road, Bradford on Avon, Wilts with his occupation given as a photographic artist working at home on his own account. I would dearly like to know why he set up his business in Bradford-on-Avon, whether it was for instance a chance opportunity or whether it was anything to do with the family connection with Wiltshire, although having said that the family came from East Wiltshire the other side of the county from Bradford on Avon.

He died a few years later in December 1905 when his address was given as 10 St Margarets Road, Bradford-on-Avon. I don't know whether he actually moved a few doors down the street or whether perhaps the houses were re-numbered at that time. A letter from his nephew Lucien Shettle written in Nantes in 1963 reveals that Fred had opened his photographic studio in Bradford on Avon in 1891 and died very suddenly so that the door to his studio had to be broken down in order to try and rescue him but obviously without success.

It is only within the last few years that I have discovered that Fred's brothers Arthur and William both emigrated - Arthur to France and William to the USA. Arthur married a French girl and set up home at Roubaix near Lille where he too, established his own photography business. I have been amazed to find several branches of the family still living in Lille and northern France and believe it or not one branch is still involved in the business.

The other brother William emigrated at the age of 18 to Pennsylvania where he was first of all a photographic assistant but then moved to New York where he became an accomplished artist of the Hudson River School Maureen Shettle

gent - photo: A. Lewis lady - photo: A. Lewis
Cabinet Card Photographs from the studio of F. Shettle, St. Margarets Street Bradford-on-Avon

It may be that you were fully aware of all this information but it was helpful to me in determining when Shettle worked at Bradford on Avon. But when I look at the photographs I cannot help feeling that they were mounted (square edged cabinet card) some years after having been taken
Adrian Lewis

The mount on the photos are from post 1900 so c. 1903 - 1905 but the images are earlier and so are copies.
The lady with the bonnett looks mid 1880s.
Man with beard I can't tell but faded out edges so a copy - probably goes with the lady above.
Roger Vaughan

From a website with photos of 9 -10 St Margaret Street - is this information:

The photographer once at the house was perhaps Frederick Shettle who operated from 5 Trowbridge Road in 1898-9 and St Margaret Street in 1903 as the Fine Art Photo Co.

Constructed by Roger Vaughan with information from Maureen Shettle and Adrian Lewis.

Roger Vaughan 2005