Old photos and their history

F.E. Levy, Photographer, Derby

F.E. Levy

This carte de visite of a late Victorian woman with a jade-green border was produced by Florence Elizabeth Levy.

Florence (b1879) lived at 200 Uttoxeter New Road in Derby during the 1901 census. She’s described as a photographic artist.


In 1903, Florence married Luke Bradley (b1875) and moved to Leicester. They had one son, Frederick Luke Bradley (b1906).

Florence died in 1961. I can find no evidence that she continued her photography after 1903.

Father’s court appearances

Florence’s father, Thomas William Levy (b1852), appeared in court at least twice.

Garden argument

In 1893, an argument over turf and a garden gate instigated the first assault. Thomas owned a garden on Ashbourne Road that sat next to the garden of Lewis Meakin. Thomas removed some turf belonging to Lewis as it obstructed his gate.

Lewis does not appear to have liked Thomas touching his turf. The Derby Mercury (1893) described the attack:

“…Meakin came out of his garden and laid hold of his nose, at the same time threatening to screw it off. He afterwards struck him in the mouth, knocking the pipe which he was smoking a distance of ten yards.”

The main witness for the assault on Thomas was his daughter, Florence. The defendant’s witnesses – Frank Meakin and Alfred Handley – both denied any crime had taken place.

Lewis Meakin (b1850) worked as a coach-builder. In 1891 he lived at 124 Wind Mill Lane in Derby with his wife, son, six daughters, and stepson. Wind Mill Lane adjoins Ashbourne Road.

Frank Meakin (b1858), Lewis’s brother, also lived on Windmill Hill Lane. In the 1891 census he is at number 125. He worked as a postal telegraph clerk.

The other witness may possibly be Alfred Handley (b1843). In 1901 he also lived on Wind Mill Hill Lane, at number 6. He was a rivetter.

The newspapers mention that Thomas Levy lived at 24 Manchester Street. This street runs parallel to Ashbourne Road, and Windmill Hill Lane is close by. Both sides involved would have likely known each other.

Lewis Meakin was fined 10 shillings and costs by Derby Borough Police Court.


In 1896, Thomas appeared in court again, though now as defendant rather than the victim. He’d been accused of assaulting his sister-in-law, Mary Ann Levy.

“…the defendant thrashed her boy, and when she went to his studio on the Ashbourne Road he struck her in the eye, blacking it, and also bruised her face. – The defendant said he only scuffed the boy for misbehaving himself, and Mrs. Levy came to his place like “a wild woman.” She struck him twice, and he forcibly ejected her.” (The Derby Mercury, 1896: 5)

This was the same road as the previous incident. And again, the other person lived nearby. Mary Ann Levy lived at 4 Radbourne Street. This street runs parallel to Ashbourne Road.

Mary Ann Levy (b1855) had married Thomas’s brother Benjamin Levy (b1856) in 1883. Benjamin worked as a postman. Mary Ann is described as a laundress in the 1901 census.

They had three sons and one daughter: Benjamin George Levy (b1886), Francis Harold Levy (b1888), Mabel Annie Levy (b1890), and Ernest Cecil Levy (b1892). The boy who Thomas Levy hit may have been either Benjamin or Francis as Ernest would have been too young.

Thomas was fined 2 shillings and 6 pence, and an additional 18 shillings and 6 pence for costs. Mary Ann received a caution not to annoy Thomas any more.

Thomas Levy’s Job

The 1881, 1891, and 1901 censuses give Thomas Levy’s occupation as Postman and Inspector of Postmen. Yet, the newspaper articles of 1893 and 1896 all describe him as a photographer who had a studio on Ashbourne Road. The photography studio may have been a family business to earn extra income. It may have been this business that his daughter Florence became briefly involved in.


(1893) Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 03 November, p.5.

(1893) The Derby Mercury, 01 November, p.6.

(1896) The Derby Mercury, 02 September, p.5.

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