John Thomas Pentney (1855-1937)

John Thomas Pentney was a Suffolk-born printer, newspaper editor and photographer who established a photography studio in Huddersfield circa 1900.


He was born in Bury St. Edmunds in 1855, the son of brush maker John Pentney and his wife Harriett.

He married Rose Ann Jolly of West Stow, Suffolk, on 8 October 1878.[1] The couple had 3 children:

  • May Florence Pentney (1881-1952)[2]
  • Cecil Claud Pentney (1888-1945)[3]
  • Oliver Gordon Pentney (1889-1940)[4]

By the time he was 15 years old, he was apprenticing as a printer. The 1881 Census records him working as a printer's clerk but by 1891 he was recorded as a "manager of printer and newspaper publishing business" and was residing at 16 Out Risbygate, Bury St. Edmonds.[5] The newspaper was the Suffolk Bury Free Press.

The family had moved to Huddersfield by 1895 where John Thomas established a photography studio at 6 South Parade.[6]

The 1911 Census records Cecil Claud as an "engineer's photographer" whilst Oliver Gordon worked as an "engineer's fitter". The family had also taken in two lodgers.

John Thomas Pentney died in 1937, aged 81.

Cecil Claud married Alice "Elsie" Butterworth in May 1913 at St. Thomas's Church on Manchester Road. He continued in the family business and was a photographer and painter, eventually running his studio from 8 South Parade.[7] In the early 1930s, he became addicted to gambling and borrowed money under false pretences from Miss Cecilia Bradley of Berry Brow, a spinster friend of his parents. In total, he gambled away £2,045 before being arrested and was sentenced to 12 months' hard labour in November 1933.[8] By 1939, he had returned to Bury St. Edmunds where he is listed as an "engineer's photographer" in the 1939 Register. He died on 2 January 1945 in Pershore, Worcestershire, aged 56.[9]

May Florence did not marry and by the 1930s had moved to Hykeham, Lincolnshire, where she worked as a poultry farmer.[10] She returned to Huddersfield, possibly visiting friends, where she died on 22 February 1952, aged 70, and was cremated at Cottingley Crematorium, Leeds, on 25 February.[11]


Several of the photographs reproduced below are of Jessie Louise Pyrah (c.1884-1957).

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Notes and References

  1. Also known as Rosie Ann(e), she was the daughter of William Jolly. The family surname is also recorded as "Jolley".
  2. Born in Bury St. Edmunds and also known as Florence May Pentney. Worked as a music teacher (1901 Census). She apparently did not marry and died on 22 February 1952 in the Huddersfield area, aged 70. She was cremated on 25 February at Cottingley Crematorium, Leeds.
  3. Born 19 February 1888 in Bury St. Edmunds and baptised on 1 April 1888 at St John's, Bury St. Edmunds. Worked as a photographer. Married 3 May 1913 to Alice Butterworth, daughter of labourer Allen Butterworth, at St. Thomas, Huddersfield. Died 2 January 1945 in Pershore, Worcestershire.
  4. Born 28 April 1889 in Bury St. Edmunds and baptised 24 May 1889 at St. Mary, Bury St. Edmunds. Married Mabel Parkin in Huddersfield circa 1917. Worked as an engineer's fitter (1911 Census). The 1939 Register lists him as an "incapacitated mechanic" living in Southend-On-Sea. Died in Rochford, Essex, aged 50.
  5. 1888 Kelly's Directory for Suffolk.
  6. The family are listed residing at 6 South Parade in the 1901 and 1911 Censuses. Lengthy correspondence from John Thomas Pentney appears in the Suffolk Bury Free Press on 22 June 1895, which gives his address as South Parade, Huddersfield.
  7. 1927 Kelly's Directory for Yorkshire.
  8. "Huddersfield Woman's Ill Requited Kindness" in Yorkshire Post (18/Nov/1833) and "Fraud on Elderly Spinster" in Yorkshire Evening Post (17/Nov/1933).
  9. At the time of his death, Cecil Claud Pentney was residing at 3 Station Cottages, Ashton Fields, Bromsgrove. He left an estate worth £91 4s. 6d. to his widow.
  10. 1939 Register.
  11. Her probate record states she resided at The Caravan, Thorpe Lane, Hykeham, Lincolnshire, but died at 88 Blackmoorfoot Road, Crosland Moor. Her estate was worth £772 19s. 8d. and probate was granted to retired engine driver Herbert Holland.

John Thomas Pentney (1855-1937)


People | Photographers
This page was last modified on 14 January 2019 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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