Frank Wakefield (1872 - 1941)

Professional Photographer in Ewell and Epsom

The birth of Frank Wakefield was registered in Epsom for the September Quarter of 1872: his parents were William Ephraim (Carpenter/Coach-builder) and Helen Sarah Wakefield of Green Man Street, Ewell, Surrey. By 1887 William Wakefield was also named as a beer retailer and in 1889 beer retailer and coach-builder on Epsom Road, Ewell. He had become proprietor of the 'Lord Nelson Inn', Green Man Street before 1893.

A watercolour of the Lord Nelson public house
An undated and unsigned watercolour of the Lord Nelson public house in Ewell High Street,
which was kept by the Wakefield family. 'W.Wakefield, wheeler and carriage maker'
can be seen advertised at the left of the picture."
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum
(Please note: This painting was rather aged abnd faded so the colours have been digitally adjusted.)

Reportedly, Frank Wakefield trained as an instrument maker and on his marriage to Catherine Phoebe Osborne at St Mary's Ewell, 31 October 1896, was described as 'mechanic'. The 1899 Andrew's Street Directory simply records him alongside his father at 'The Lord Nelson Inn' on Green Man Street, Ewell.

On 29 June 1897, however, Frank had registered a photograph 'Egg and spoon race in Epsom Town on Diamond Jubilee Day' with The Stationers' Company giving his address as Grove Cottage, Ewell. Another, 'Three elephants and two men standing in the Pool, Ewell, Surrey.' came to be registered on 6 April 1899 from Grove Studio.

Frank's son George William Wakefield had been brought for baptism at St Mary's parish church on 17 July 1898. He died in 1919 aged 21 (reg. Guildford 12/1919) to be interred at Epsom Cemetery on 9 October.

'Fk. Wakefield', photographer, appears on the Epsom Road, Ewell, for 1903. He is subsequently absent until 1909, but then to be found listed at 4 Castle Cottages, The Common, Epsom, - 42 Castle Road from 1922. Later renumbered 54, a sign 'To the Studio' is preserved in the Bourne Hall Museum.

To the Studio sign
To the Studio sign
. Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

He took numerous informal photographs of groups in the University and Public Schools Battalions during 1915.

Ancient Order of Foresters (AOF)

[LINK]

Frank became an AOF member by 1897 and remained one for the rest of his life. As 'Brother Wakefield' he produced an number of photographs for the Society, some of which are shown below: -

Delegates appointed for the formation of the Dorking, Epsom and West Surrey District
Delegates appointed for the formation of the Dorking, Epsom and West Surrey District.
A 1939 copy of a photo taken circa 1860
. Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

The Court Wellington on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee
Members and officers of the Court Wellington on the occasion of
Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897
. Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

The Court Wellington present in the banqueting chamber in Epsom Public Hall
The Court Wellington present in the banqueting chamber in Epsom Public Hall fully
decorated and with the tables laid for the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary
of the establishment of the Court Wellington, 15 April 1910
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

Motion pictures shows

Postcard view of Epsom Public Hall
Postcard view of Epsom Public Hall
Image courtesy of Surrey Libraries and is held in the
Epsom & Ewell Local And Family History Centre Collection

During 1907, a licence was granted to present stage plays, as well as to allow music & dancing in the Public Hall, located on the corner of Church Street and Upper High Street, Epsom. Cinematograph shows were presented there from 1911, and in April 1916, it became the Picture Palladium. Frank Wakefield is credited with having given the first 'movie' show at this venue but he had been preceded by a Bioscope presentation, 'for one night only', on 23 September 1905. Additionally he provided many such entertainments in the Mental Hospital cluster.

Bioscope Poster 1905
Bioscope Poster 1905

WW1 Images


UPS Brigade postcard
University and Public Schools Brigade postcard
. Image by Frank Wakefield, Source: Bourne Hall Museum

During WW1 Frank took many photograghs of the soldiers stationed in Woodcote Park Epsom and the surrounding districts. Some if these images can be seen on our University and Public Schools Brigade page.

Conclusion

After an extended illness, Frank Wakefield died in Epsom County Hospital on Christmas Eve 1941 and was interred at the local Cemetery on 30 December. His relict, Catherine P. Wakefield, seems to have survived until the age of 91, her death being registered at Kingston, 12/1966.

Brian Bouchard © December 2016