IOW Photographers - Switzer


Photographer Sidney Amos Switzer, AKA Amos Sidney Switzer
Active Period c1890
Lifespan Born:  1865  Newport, IOW Died:  1946  West Ealing, Middx
Studio Addresses 30 Holyrood Street, Newport
Trade History none found to date
Evidence Found
1890 estimated date of photo below
Examples of
Trade Cards,
Adverts, etc

Example of a Switzer photo estimated taken c1890

My thanks to Derek Warman of Shanklin for the above photo.

The photo is of Derek's ancestor John Crutch Savage, as Derek has annotated on the back

An advert in the IW County Press 11 April 1891 relating to Sidney's father Thomas Switzer

My thanks to Ann Barrett for supplying the above advert.

Family History

Sidney Amos Switzer was born in 1865 at Newport, the son of a coach & heraldic painter Thomas Longman Switzer from Winchester and his wife Julia Ann (nee Brient) from Salisbury. Thomas and Julia had married in 1864 at the Wesleyan Chapel, West Cowes. Sidney was baptised Amos Sidney in 1865 at the Wesleyan Methodist, Pyle Street, Newport, but often preferred to be known as Sidney Amos.

Although he stated his birthplace to be Newport in most of the census returns (like most of his siblings), his birth was registered at Cowes, and in the 1911 census he said it was Whippingham.

According to the census returns, Sidney had a varied career; being a coach painter in Newport 1881, manager of a lamp works in London 1891, art teacher in Willesden 1901, schoolmaster in West Kilburn 1911. The above photo is the only evidence that he was a photographer!

The address of 30 Holyrood Street, Newport, which he advertised was his studio, was where his parents and siblings were living at the time of the 1891 census. At that time, Sidney was boarding in St Pancras, London, along with his younger brother Arthur, so it is likely he returned to Newport on occasion to run his studio. In 1881, the family was living at 10 St James Street, Newport, and by 1901 most surviving members had moved to the mainland. Hence, my estimated date of the photo to be midway between. Articles in the local press (see below) indicate that Sidney was in Newport c1885.

Interestingly, a Mrs Elsie Switzer was found renting apartments at 16 Holyrood Street, Newport, according to Kellys 1898/99 trade directories, but her connection with the family has not yet been discovered. Sidney had a sister named Elsie, but she would have only been aged 5 at that time. Likewise, a Maria Switzer was found living in Ventnor in 1947, who may have been connected with the family.

Sidney Switzer married an Agnes Elizabeth Pearce in 1898 at Islington, London, and they were to have one child who died.

Sidney Switzer died in 1846 at West Ealing, Middx, a retired teacher, and in his will he left the residue of his estate (£3409) to his wife for life, and on her death to his sisters Elsie Alma Switzer and Rose Maud Switzer.

Further Notes

The tenth appropiation meeting of the Newport and District 571st Starr Bowkett Building Society, was held on Thursday evening at the Vectis Coffee Tavern, Mr. J. Ashworth in the chair. The number drawn was 17, belonging to Mr. A. S. Switzer, of Holyrood-street, who was thereupon declared to be entitled to an advance of £200 for 12½ years free of interest.
- IW County Press 10 October 1885

An entertainment was given in the Victoria Schoolroom, Pyle-street on Monday evening last, by teachers and choir of the Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School. The Rev. J. Shearme presided, and there was a good attendance..... Programme:... reading “Try,” by Mr. S. Switzer......
- IW County Press 11 December 1886

There are also press cuttings in the IW Observer from 1881 to 1884 relating to Sidney's father, Thomas Switzer, and an advert in 1891 stating he was a carver, guilder, picture frame maker, dealer in old engravings, paintings, etc (see above).

My thanks to Ann Barrett for supplying the above press cuttings. 


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