IOW Photographers - Clark


Photographer James Clark
Active Period c1865-1870
Lifespan Born:  1850  Ryde, IOW Died:  1870  drowned off Ryde Pier, IOW
Studio Addresses Unknown, possibly worked for one of the notable photographers in Ryde
Trade History None found to date
Evidence Found
None found to date
Examples of
Trade Cards,
Adverts, etc
None found to date
Family History James Clark was born in 1850 in Ryde, the son of a butcher Charles Clark and his wife Mary (nee Callow), both from London. In the 1851 census, James was recorded as a 3-month old baby living with his parents (both aged 30) and one year old brother William in Albert Street, Ryde. William had also been born in Ryde in 1849.

In the 1861 census, James and his brother William (then an 11 year old mason's labourer) were found lodging with labourer William Alford and family at 3 South Street, Ryde. The whereabouts of their parents at that time has not yet been established, though it is possible they were living in London. Interestingly, in the 1871 census, a widowed Mary Clark of the right age was found working as a nurse in St Anne, Soho, London. This was the birthplace Mary gave in the 1881 census, by which time she was back living in Ryde (working as a cook at Sheldon House, Belvidere Street). Likewise, at the time of the 1871 census, brother William was also found lodging nearby in London.

James Clark died tragically on 10th June 1870 along with two friends, Frederick Thurlow and Ebenezer Tilley, when their sailing boat capsized half a mile off Ryde Pier in breezy weather. The inquest returned a verdict of accidental death; the cause being attributed to the ignorance of the three young men in handling the boat. At the inquest, James' brother William identified the body and said that James lived in Ryde and was a photographer. No other evidence of James' photographic career has been found to date, so it is likely he worked at one of the several studios in the town.

James Clark was buried at Ryde Cemetery on 15th June 1870, and his mother was also buried in the same plot on her death in 1886.


Further Notes A full account of the inquest as printed in the IW Times (16th June 1870) and details of James' grave can be found on the Ryde Social Heritage Group website at 


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