Greenock Studio Photographers 1855-World War 1

Local Greenock Post Office Directories list several studio photographers from the early days of photography. It is interesting to note that from 1855 until 1865 they are listed either under Sculptors or Miscellaneous. Some studios were developed and run by local photographers while others were branches of larger businesses usually based in Glasgow.

Here are several photographs of local people taken in Greenock.

The studio of W. McLennans was in Nicolson Street

McLennan & Co of Greenock PhotoW McLennan & Co of Greenock

Turnbulls were based in Hamilton Street and later in Cathcart Street while Uries were also based there at various times as well as Westburn Street and West Blackhall Street.

Turnbull & Sons of GreenockR Urie of Greenock

Crawford Hamiltons was in Westburn Street.

Crawford Hamilton of Greenock 2

Crawford Hamilton of Greenock

Fergus the photographers were in West Blackhall Street.
Fergus of GreenockReverse Side








Below is a list of names and addresses of studios as well as home addresses – if known and where possible some census references:

Surname Christian Name Address Home Census P O Directory
Anderson Peter 44 West Blackhall Street 1863-64
Brown George A 2 Grey Place 46 Newton Street 1891, 1901 1889-1915
Brown George A 4 Grey Place 3 Ford Place
Cook Joseph 37 Hamilton Street Gateside Cottage 1903-15
Coutts & Booth 29 Nicolson Street Coutts at 23 Brougham Street 1896-97
Dufaur Charles 29 Nicolson Street 1901(London) 1897-98
Dufaur & Co Charles 34 Brougham Street 1900-02 1911 census in Rowton House London(hostel)
Eadie W & B 17 Hamilton Street 5 Kelly Street 1904-11
Eadie B & R 17 Hamilton Street 1912-15
Empire Manufacturing Co 30 Cathcart Street 1909-10
Fergus Charles 36 West Blackhall Street 1875-82
Fergus C&C 36 West Blackhall Street 1883-90
Fergus William 36 West Blackhall Street 1897-1903 William Fergus - Photographer
Fergus William Reid 36 West Blackhall Street 1904-07
Fergus & McKim 36 West Blackhall Street 1896-97
Fergus & Sons 36 West Blackhall Street 1891-95 Fergus of Greenock
Fergus Brothers 5 Albert Place, West Blackhall Street 1864-68 John and Charles
Fergus Brothers 36 West Blackhall Street 1869-74
Gothard William 37 Rue End Street 37 Rue End Street 1881,1891 1883-94 Died 1.2.1909, wife Mary McKean
Greenock Photographic Co 29 Westburn Street 1889-91
Greenock Photographic Co 15 Cathcart Street 1864-66
Hamilton Crawford 29 Westburn Street 34 Brougham Street 1901 1892-1911 Crawford Hamilton of Greenock 2
Hamilton Mrs 29 Westburn Street 1912-15
Hamilton John City Bank Buildings, 32 Cathcart Street 14 Brisbane Street 1866-68
Hamilton Mrs I 16 Charles Street 1913-14
Hamilton Mrs J 18 Charles Street Greeenbank 50 Kelly Street 1914-16
Henry James 11 Ann Street 11 Ann Stret 1861 1862-64
Howie Thomas 32 Cathcart Street 1871-2
Howie David Lamont Campbell Street 1 Steel Street Gourock 1909-13
Howie David Lamont 1 Campbell Street 1914-15
Jones Harry W 29 Nicolson Street 1909-15
Lorimer Mary 16 Charles Street Gateside Inverkip Road 1910-11
Lorimer M R 16 Charles Street 1911-12
Lorimer M R 18 Charles Street 1912-13
MacFee Neil 4 Albert Place, West Blackhall Street 1 Argyle Street 1862-64
MacFee H & N 23 Cathcart Street 23 Charles Street 1864-67, 1878-1903
Mack & Co W J 18 Charles Street 52 Eldon Street 1891 1897-98
MacKirdy John 15 Cathcart Street 7 Boyd Street 1861 1866-67
McLennan William Nicolson Street/West Blackhall Street 1883-84 W McLennan & Co of Greenock
McLennan William 29 Nicolson Street 1884-95
McLintock James 33 Hamilton Street 30 West Blackhall Street 1861 1862-63
Miller A E 17 Hamilton Street 1911-12
Mitchell Charles 18 Charles Street 1889-1901 internet material
Naismith & Co 2 Grey Place 1886-87
Paton James Western Cottage, Esplanade 59 Esplanade 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 1868-96, Greenock photographers, J Paton
Paton James 39 Esplanade 1874-91
Paton James 59 Eldon Street 116 Eldon Street 1874-1901
Pratt John G 7 Caddlehill Terrace 1914-15 internet material
Pratt & Co John 32 Cathcart Street 34 Bank Street 1901 1888-1909 Pratt & co of Greenock
Rennie Thomas 36 West Blackhall Street 36 Brougham Street 1911-15
Roberts P & E 36 West Blackhall Street 1909-10
Robinson Robert 32 Cathcart Street 1874-75
Seafield Photographic Co 34 Brougham Street 1903-04
Smith Thomas 22 Roxburgh Street 22 Roxburgh Street 1865-66
Stevenson Charles Cemetery Gate & 8 Hamilton Street 8 Hamilton Street & 45 Inverkip Street 1851, 1861, 1871 1855-72
Story W G 2 Grey Place Tweedside Kilmacolm 1887-88
Straiton David 8 Hamilton Street 34 Ann Street 1861, 1871, 1881 1891 1862-85
Straiton David 1 Grey Place 65 Rue End
Straiton David 2 Grey Place 1 Grey Place 1901 census in Smithston
Taylor A & G 17 Hamilton Street 1881-84, 1901-06
Taylor A & G 29 Nicolson Street 1899-1900
Turnbull Robert 32 Cathcart Street 1913-15 Turnbull & Sons of Greenock
Turnbull & Sons City Buildings 1881-84 internet material
Turnbull & Sons 37 Hamilton Street 1885-1901
Urie Robert 8 West Blackhall Street 1881 1857-1896 internet material, died 8.9.1895
Urie Robert 29 Westburn Street R Urie of Greenock
Urie Robert 21 Cathcart Street
Urie R D 29 Westburn Street 1896-97
Urie Robert 32 Hamilton Street 32 Hamilton Street
Walker John 18 Charles Street 16 Robertson Street 1901 1902-07
Weir James Princes Pier 1 Steel Street Gourock 1909-11

John Fergus (1840 – 1908)

John Fergus, one of the Fergus Brothers

John Fergus was born in Paisley in 1840 to Walter Fergus and Elizabeth Thom, their fifth child. He was apprenticed to McKenzie the photographers of Paisley but was ambitious and soon set up his own businesses in Greenock and Largs. The Greenock business was in partnership with his brother Charles, who latterly took over and expanded this side of the business to Millport and Dunoon. These enterprises involved various member of the extended family and his son Walter later having a studio in Blyth, Northumberland.

Meanwhile John had had several studios in Largs before buying Blackdales, a mansion in Charles Street. This became the family home of his parents and the rest of the family until they married. John built on to the house several very grand studios each furnished in different styles and he had several employees to work for him. John became well known in the photographic world and several of his photographs of well know people of the day can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery in London. He also photographed King Edward VIIth when he was Prince of Wales.

Blackdales John Fergus Blackdales - newspaper picture

In the summer months he had a studio in the South of France at La Tourelle,South of France.

Fergus of Largs & Cannes

In 1883 he married Maria McLean at a double wedding at Highbury Church, London with his sister Mary who married their cousin Dr Charles Stirling. John and Maria had one son, Walter who married Mary Christina Allen but they had no family.

Mary died in 1833 and Walter in 1935 in Greenock.

Sadly, John’s wife Maria died in 1899 and after this John seemed to lose heart for his business and later sold out.

The family are remembered in a splendid memorial in Largs Cemetery.

Fergus family memorial in Largs

John Fergus grave









Two of John’s sisters married photographers, Janet to George McKenzie and Elizabeth to David Alexander.

Blackdales, Charles Street, Largs, the Fergus family home and studios

John Fergus Blackdales LargsJohn Fergus Blackdales, studios

Photographs taken by John Fergus in 1870 to celebrate the wedding of his cousin William Dickson Stirling to Mary Smith. The older man is his Uncle James Stirling, William’s father.

John Fergus - William Dickson Stirling 1870John Fergus Mary Smith 1870John Fergus of Largs - James Stirling