Brislington Community Museum

Winchester

William Albert Winchester isn't the only postcard-producing photographer who lived in Brislington, but so far he's the only one known to have had a studio here. A survey of his portraiture and other private commissions is being attempted, and information is being collected, but it isn't at a stage yet where it can successfully be published even at the most basic level. For now this page is devoted to his topographical works.

The 1881 Census shows William aged 7 living at Grafton Street in St Phillips & Jacob, Bristol, with his parents Thomas (aged 31, working as a labourer), and Emily (29), and three siblings. Everyone in the family was born in St Phillips. A decade later the 1891 Census shows the family had grown by two further children and the father was now working as a labourer in galvanising, and William worked as a wire net maker.

In Sept 1899 William married Florence Lewis at the parish church of St Silas, Bristol. Florence was aged 24, a spinster living at Kingsland Road, and her father Alexander Lewis worked as a Clerk. William was aged 26, a bachelor employed as a wire worker living at 4 Langton Court Road, St Anne's, Brislington, and his father now worked as an engine driver.

Florence was born to Elizabeth and Alexander Lewis in August 1875 and was baptised in a Wesleyan-Methodist church later the same month. The family's address was given as Paulton (Somerset). The following month, Florence was received into the Church of England in the parish of Paulton, where the parish register notes she had been privately baptised. The family's address was given as Totterdown, Bristol, and her father worked as a clerk.

The 1881 Census shows Florence was born in Paulton and was living as the niece of Alexander Lewis (aged 24, married, and born in Gloucester) in Kingsland Road, St Phillips & Jacob, with him and three of his unmarried siblings (two brothers and a sister). Alexander now worked as a railway clerk.

The 1901 Census shows William and Florence living at 1 Langton Road, Brislington. His occupation is given as manager of a photographic company. In March 1902 their daughter Ann was baptised at the church of St Luke, Brislington. In Feb 1904 their daughter Evelyn was baptised at St Luke's, and the family's address was cited as Fairfield House, Wick Road, Brislington, and William's occupation was given as photographer (Evelyn became the author of History of St Anne's). In Oct 1905 their daughter Elsie was born and was baptised the following month also at St Luke's; now the family lived at 4 Langton Road, St Anne's Park, and William was still employed as a photographer.

The 1906 edition of Kelly's Directory of Bristol says William worked as a photographer in Wick Road, while residing at 4 Langton Road, New Brislington. In Oct 1907 their daughter Dorothy was born, and was baptised the following month; the family home was given as 4 Langton Road, and William's occupation as photographer.

The 1911 Census shows the four daughters (Ann was now named as Annie) living with their parents at 4 Langton Road. William was described as a photographer and an employer. Sadly, the Census also reported that the couple had two other children who died.

The 1914 edition of Kelly's Directory of Bristol lists William as a photographer at 4 Langton Road. The 1939 Register shows the couple plus two of their children living at 4 Langton Road, one working as a pharmacist, the other as a school teacher. William himself worked as the manager of a general stores, while Florence was occupied with unpaid domestic duties.

Sadly, William died in Sept 1941 while living at 4 Langton Road; he left an estate valued at nearly £1,500. In May 1963 Florence died while living in Wick Road, leaving an estate valued at more than £5,000. The couple have a monument in Arnos Vale Cemetery where William is described as having been a Justice of the Peace, an Alderman, and the Lord Mayor of Bristol in 1938-9.


His Brislington postcards

Church of St Anne - St Anne's Church, Brislington. Published online at Bristol Archives. Earliest known picture: 15 Feb 1909.

St Anne's Terrace - Nightingale Valley, St. Anne's Park. See exhibit in this museum.

St Anne's Park Station - A Peep at St. Anne's Station. Published in print by Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 42; and also by Fisher, Janet et al 1985, page 48. Earliest known picture: Jan 1909.

St Anne's Park Station - FIRST AVENUE ST ANNE'S PARK. Published in print by Crimmins, Graham et al, 2008, page 25.

St Anne's Park Station - ST ANNE'S PARK STATION. See exhibit in this museum.

First Avenue - FIRST AVENUE ST ANNE'S PARK. See exhibit in this museum.

Church of St Luke - Old Brislington Church.

School Road - A Peep at Brislington. Published online at Bristol Archives. Printed before 3 June 1918.


Some notes

Only one postcard of a building outside Brislington photographed by William Winchester has so far been identified - St Mark's Church, Easton, Bristol - earliest known postmark in 1909.

More than a score of other postcards, taken either in his studio or elsewhere in Brislington, are known, which were evidently commissioned by private people or organisations for their own private use. For a photographer to support a family by this craft for more than a decade, there must be many, many more pictures waiting to be catalogued. Perhaps, if William Winchester's photographic work could be assembled and made public(where possible), it might provide insights into the social history of Brislington & St Anne's comparable to that of the Braikenridge Collection itself.