The Studio of Photographer George Henry Braund of Tiverton, UK
Braund Family History
When John Braund moved to Fremington, in north Devon, to marry local girl Margaret Gribble in 1771, he was to found a dynasty of Fremington Braunds that extends to this day. Their first son William was the most prolific, fathering ten children with three wives over the period 1754 to 1779, when his youngest, Henry, was born. Although Henry didn't have any children (as he didn't marry), brothers Edward (six children), Hugh (nine) and George (eight) made up for it. They were mostly carpenters – a trade that would track down the generations both in Fremington and as they spread further away. Lasting memorials in Fremington are the many Braund graves, including Hugh's son Henry and his wife Betty.
Hugh Braund's brother George had moved to Tiverton, where amongst his eight children was another Henry , Henry Thomas Braund, born 30 May 1813. This Henry became a cabinet maker, marrying local girl Fanny Reed on 21 November, 1835, with their first born George Henry arriving just six months later on 11 May 1836 in their new home of Barnstaple. Tragedy then struck as Fanny died just a few months afterwards, and was buried in Tiverton on 25 September 1836.
Quite what happened next we don't know, but by 1841 the 5-year old Henry (not George Henry this time) was living as a lodger with cabinet maker William Southwood and his wife Elizabeth in Saint Andrew Street, Tiverton, whilst his father was in London, living in Oxford Street with three other cabinet makers. Father Henry remarried in London in 1843, and their first child Elizabeth Jane was born in Bromley in 1844. Four more girls followed before the 1851 Census, born in different part of London - apart from Eliza who was born back in Tiverton in June 1848. Maybe this was when George Henry was reunited with his father and step-mother, as they were all living together in London by the 1851 Census.
Whether George Henry found city life not to his taste, or simply got fed up with so many children around, he moved back to Tiverton where the 1861 Census records him working as a joiner, lodging again with William and Elizabeth Southwood, this time in Barrington Street, Tiverton, just along from his uncle George's house.
Quite how George Henry met his wife is an interesting speculation, because although she was born in Rackenford, Devon, Laura Jane Matthews was living in Birmingham in 1861, where she married George Henry in about 1865. They moved back to Tiverton where they set up home in Bampton Street, with George Henry's trade given as carpenter and joiner in 1871, whilst Laura was a dress maker. They had no children, and remained childless throughout their marriage. Some time during the next ten years he must have decided to take the plunge into the new world of photography, as by the census of 1881 George Henry is listed as a Photographer.
Ten years later she'd moved back to Birmingham to live with her brother Walter. Coincidentally Henry Thomas Braund's only other son, Thomas, had also moved to Birmingham from London, and he christened his third child George Henry, after his uncle, in 1880. Sadly again this George Henry died before his eighteenth birthday, in the spring of 1898.
Written by Andy Tasker.
Some Notes by Roger Vaughan
A selection of back designs with rough dates.
A few carte de visite photographs showing his work.
During the 1870s G.H. Braund's studio seems to have used only one painted backdrop - the bookcase and a curtain, the ladies dress hid the neck clamp and each was given a book to hold - essentially using the same full-length pose each time. By the early 1880s he has abandoned the backdrop and gone for a three quarter pose with just a chair back showing, this change reflects the improvement in the quality of lenses used allowing closer portraits to be made.
All of the above people probably lived in Tiverton.
Tiverton had many other studios: Walter Mudford, Fore Street 1880s, John Cann 1860s - 1870s, E.G. Rogers, Barrington Street, 1870s, Charles Wood, Bampton Street 1890s, John Cann 1870s,
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© Roger Vaughan Personal Collection 2012