Derbyshire Photographers Profiles : William Arthur Hudson of Chapel-en-le-Frith
Derbyshire Photographers' Profiles
by Brett Payne, of Tauranga, New Zealand
William Arthur Hudson (1884-1976)

of Chapel-en-le-Frith

W.A. Hudson ran the Chapel-en-le-Frith post office and published postcards as the "High Peak Series."  It doesn't appear that he ever operated a portrait studio.

Go straight to Portfolio

William Arthur Hudson was born on 22 August 1884 at North Rode, near Macclesfield, Cheshire, son of Matthew George Hudson (1846-) and Elizabeth Parry (1849-).  His father was a gardener, employed by wealthy East Indies & South America merchant and landowner Charles Stewart Carlisle (1844-) at The Grange, in North Rode, Cheshire, while a maternal uncle William Parry was the coachman.  In the early 1890s, after being laid off at The Grange, his father found a post as a gardener at the Corporation cemetery in Macclesfield, and they moved to town.  Arthur, as he was known, attended Mill Street Higher Grade School until his first job as a trainee gardener in 1898, at the age of fourteen.  After only a few months he, too, was laid off, and he then had a couple of short stints as an office boy before joining the Post Office in 1899.  Initially he took charge of ten telegraph boys, with a rank of indoor messenger, but after passing his Civil Service entrance examination and attaining some skill as a telegraphist, he was appointed as sorting clerk and telegraphist in May 1901.  He remained with the post office for sixty years, eventually retiring in 1959.
On 12 June 1909 he married Bertha Pilkington (1877-1969), daughter of a coal merchant from Buxton, Derbyshire, at the Wesleyan Chapel, Buxton.  They settled in the High Street of Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, where Arthur Hudson was appointed sub-postmaster and also operated a stationery shop.  They had two children, a son John Pilkington Hudson (1910-2007) and a daughter Margaret "Molly" Pilkington Hudson (b. 1912).  William Arthur Hudson died in 1976 in Wales, at the age of 92.

W.A. Hudson was a keen and more than competent photographer, printing many of his family portraits onto postcards and sending them out to friends and family.  He also produced postcards of views in and around Buxton during the period 1910 to 1913, of which there are examples in the Portfolio below.  The numbering and the name "High Peak" Series, on the reverse, suggest that there may have been at least several hundred views produced.  However, his grandson Dick Hudson believes that photography was probably little more than a sideline.  There is no evidence that he ever operated as a commercial portraitist.

(L to R) John, Molly, Bertha and Arthur Hudson, c.1928
© & courtesy of Dick Hudson
Image © & courtesy of Dick Hudson

Image © & courtesy of Mike Briggs
Image © & courtesy of Mike Briggs
Empire Hotel - Buxton, Headquarters for Sherwood Foresters, Notts. & Derbys. (High Peak Series #100)
by W.A. Hudson, Photo Specialist of Chapel-en-le-Frith
Undated, but probably taken between November 1914 and Feb/March 1915

Format: Post Card
Image © & courtesy of Mike Briggs

Combs Lake, Chapel-en-le-Frith (#518)
by W.A. Hudson, Photographer & Post Office of Chapel-en-le-Frith
Undated, but postmarked 1913

Format: Post Card

Image © & courtesy of Picture the Past
Aerial view of Chinley
by W.A. Hudson, of Chapel-en-le-Frith
Dated 1913

Format: Post Card
Image © & courtesy of Picture the Past

Images and information kindly provided by Picture the Past, Dick Hudson & Mike Briggs
1841-1901 UK Census - online from
North East Midland Photographic Record - Picture the Past
Anon (1912) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire 1912, Kelly's Directories Ltd., London.
Anon (1932) Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire 1932, Kelly's Directories Ltd., London.
Adamson, Keith I.P. (1997) Professional Photographers in Derbyshire 1843 - 1914, The PhotoHistorian, No. 118 Supplement, September 1997, ISSN 0957-0209. Courtesy of John Bradley.

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