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Directory of Early Photographers in Norfolk, Studio Notes, Thomas Ayers

[This studio note is based entirely on the research of Claire Dulanty, who has kindly made it available for inclusion on this website.]

1. Timeline


6 October. Baptism of Thomas Ayers, son of Thomas Ayers & Charlotte Bullen, at East Dereham, Norfolk.


Census. At George Street, Great Yarmouth: Charlotte Ayers, 40, and Thomas Ayers, 15, watchmaker. No sign of Thomas senior.


6 May. Thomas Ayers, bachelor, watchmaker & jeweller of Great Yarmouth (father: Thomas, watchmaker & jeweller) married Susanna Riddlesworth, spinster (father: Francis, saddler) at St Andrew, Hingham, Norfolk.


Census. Two Ayers households at Regent Road, Yarmouth (but no numbers given): (1) Thomas Ayers, head, 28, married, watch & clockmaker, born Dereham, Norfolk; Susannah Ayers, 26, wife; Susannah, 2, daughter. (2) Thomas Ayers, head, 53, clockmaker, born Beccles; Charlotte, 56, wife, born Norwich.

29 July. Burial at St Andrew, Hingham, Norfolk, of Susanna Ayers of Great Yarmouth, aged 26.


11 September. The business of Thomas Ayers & Son, lately carried on at King Street, near Regent Street, Great Yarmouth, announced as re-opening as watchmaker, silversmith and jeweller


22 July. Marriage at St Mary Attleborough, Norfolk, between Thomas Ayers of Great Yarmouth, widower, jeweller (father: Thomas, jeweller), and Sarah Ann King of Attleborough (father: Stephen, blacksmith).


Census. (1) At 3 Regent Road, Yarmouth: Thomas Ayers Jun, 38, head, married, photographic artist; Sarah Ann, 36, wife; Thomas Francis Ayers, 14, son; Kate, 8 months, daughter; Isabella King, 17, unmarried, photographic artist, wife's sister. (2) At 5a Regent Road: Thomas Ayers Sen, 63, head, married, clockmaker, born Beccles; Charlotte Ayers, 66, wife, born Norwich, Norfolk.


10 July. Death, at the residence of his daughter (Southgate Road, De Beauvoir Town, London), Mr Thomas Ayers senior, watchmaker of Yarmouth, age 63.

2 August. The will of Thomas Ayers, late of Great Yarmouth, in the County of Norfolk, watch and clock maker deceased, was proved at Norwich by the oaths of Thomas Ayers of Great Yarmouth aforesaid, photographic artist, the son, and Henry Doughton of Southgate Road, draper. (Effects under L100.)


Census. At 4 Regent Road, Great Yarmouth: Thomas Ayers, head, married, 48. photographic artist, employer (1 man, 1 boy), born East Dereham: Sarah A, wife, 42, born Attleborough; Ellen M, daughter, 12; Harry W, son, 9; Charles, son, 4; Edward E, son, 8 months.


Census. At 8 & 9 Regent Road: Thomas Ayers, 58, photographer; Sarah A, 51; Thomas Francis, 34, son, grocer & draper, employing 3 hands; Ellen, 22; Charles, son, 14, apprentice woollen draper; Edward E, 10; Gertrude, 8.


Census. At 8 & 9 Regent Road: Thomas Ayers, 68, photographer & dealer; Sarah A, 62, dealer in fancy goods; Ellen M, artist; Harry W, 29, photographer; Gertrude, 18, milliner; Beatrice, 17, scholar.


Census. At 8 & 9 Regent Road: Thomas Ayers, 78, photographic artist; Sarah A, wife; Ellen Martha, 42, photographic artist; Harry William, 39, photographic artist; Gertrude, 28, shop assistant.


11 June. Death of Thomas Ayers of Great Yarmouth, photographer and fancy dealer. Probate, Norwich, 17 September 1901, to Thomas Francis Ayers, grocer and draper and Harry William Ayers, photographer. Personal Effects £7,405 14s 9d.

18 August. Death of Sarah Ann Ayers of Great Yarmouth, widow. Probate, Norwich, 9 December, granted to Thomas Francis Ayers, grocer and draper and Harry William Ayers, photographer. Personal Effects £805 8s 9d


Census. At 8, Regent Road (9 rooms): Harry William Ayers, head, 49, single, photographic artist; Ellen Martha Ayers, sister, 52, single, artist, fancy goods dealer; Gertrude Ayers, 38, sister, single, fancy goods dealer; Beatrice Ayers, 37, sister, single, governess (private)


26 September. Death of Harry William Ayers of 76, Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Probate, Norwich, to Ellen Martha Ayers and Gertrude Ayers, spinsters. Effects: £762 19s 2d.

2. Children of Thomas Ayers

Thomas Francis

son of Thomas & Susannah, baptised 9 May 1848, Yarmouth.

Susanna Mary

daughter of Thomas & Susannah, baptised 18 March 1849, Yarmouth.

Louisa Ann

daughter of Thomas & Susanna, bapt 13 July 1851, Yarmouth; died March 1852.

Ellen Martha

daughter of Thomas & Sarah Ann, baptised 15 August 1858, Yarmouth.


daughter of Thomas & Sarah Ann, baptised 14 October 1860, Yarmouth.

Harry William

son of Thomas & Sarah Ann, baptised 28 Sept 1862, Yarmouth

Kate Alice

daughter of Thomas & Sarah Ann, baptised 4 October 1863, Yarmouth.

Charles Ayers

born July-September quarter 1866, Yarmouth.

Charles Walter

born April-June quarter 1867, Yarmouth; died January-March quarter 1868.


born January-March quarter 1868, Yarmouth. Norfolk News, 25 July1868: ‘Deaths. Ayers. On the 20 inst. Ernest, infant son of Thomas Ayers, photographer, Regent-road, Yarmouth, aged 5 months’.

Ernest Edward

born July-September quarter 1870, Yarmouth.


born July-September quarter 1872, Yarmouth.


born 1874, Yarmouth.

3. Ayers' early carte mounts

There appear to have been two basic kinds of mount design favoured by Ayers in the early part of his career. Both kinds were produced in variant forms, with (for instance) differences in letter-spacing, the use of brackets, ink colour and shading. An attempt at dating is possible for the two kinds of design, but not for the minor variations.

Type 1:

Simple trade-plate , with studio identification and ‘TA’ monogram; square-cut corners.

Thomas Ayers cdv mount, type 1

This version was in use from an early date in the 1860s until at least 1865 and possibly into 1866. (Paul Godfrey Collection)

Type 2:

Shield and scrolls.

Thomas Ayers cdv mount, type 2

This version was in use by 1866 and may have been introduced in 1865. It seems to have lasted until about 1870 (or possibly a little earlier), when Ayers reverted to a Type 1 design – but this time a slightly bolder version with rounded corners. (Claire Dulanty Collection).

Note: The studio used a number of other different carte de visite mount designs over the years which have not been accurately dated and so are not included here.

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www.earlyphotostudios.uk is a non-commercial web site for local and family historians, listing photographers operating 1840-1916, in Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Leicestershire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Rutland and Suffolk. The original site was researched and written in 2011 by the late Robert Pols, photo historian and author, and this re-constructed site is dedicated to his memory.

This page was last modified: 13 September 2022, 07:25

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