St. Paul's Infants School, Haggerston, London in 1888
A Cabinet Photograph by W.G. Overton
Victorian Photograph Collection of Jennifer Carnell
W.G. Overton was a photographer who specialised in taking school pictures.
At the time the photo was taken he was based at 56 Stanley Road, Balls Pond Road in Islington.
Photography was a part-time career for Overton, as he also worked as a ventriloquist at theatres and music halls.
Overton was a stage name. After some research I discovered he was William George Smith (1842-c.1912). He was born in Hackford by Reepham in Norfolk and he was the son of brewers drayman and fish dealer William Smith and charwoman Esther Smith. In 1861 William George Smith was working as a gardener while living with his parents in Hackford, but within a few years he was working as a professional ventriloquist and was touring Norfolk. He married Susan Coe, who was also born in Reepham, the daughter of agricultural labourer Henry Coe and Elizabeth Coe. In 1871, now known as W.G. Overton, he was lodging at the Globe Hotel in Wells, Norfolk with his wife and fellow performers Frederick Stanley (a comic vocalist) and George Barnett (a pianist). Overton moved to London to pursue his careers as ventriloquist and photographer and in 1890 was living at 7 Dagmar Villas, Wood Green. In 1891 he was working as a photographer in the High Street in Soham, Cambridgeshire and living with him and his wife was their fifteen year old niece Nellie Coe. After his wife's death he married Phoebe. In 1901, using his original name of Smith for official records but Overton professionally, he was a photographer in Mill Lane, Saxmundham in Suffolk. In 1911 he was living with his third wife Annie at Overton Cottage, High Street, Saxmundham. He may have died in 1912.
A little girl, one of the few happy looking children, holds a slate identifying
'St. Pauls Infants Haggerston Group 4 - 1888'.
With the children are two women teachers and a clergyman.
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