- George St John Biggs (1868-1932)
- Kate (Kittie) Quinton (1870-1950)
- The family business
- External links
George was born in 1868 at Ryde in the Isle of Wight. He was the son of another George from Whitbourne in Herefordshire, who was recorded in the 1871 census for Ryde as being a Civil Servant Clerk with the Admiralty. George Senior appears to have led a split life, being estranged from his wife Henrietta and their two daughters Margaret and Jane. By 1868 he had moved to Ryde and in 1871 was living in Upton Road with his housekeeper Rose Jeanette Rosson, an unmarried 32-year-old from Middlesex, who appears to be the natural mother of George and his older brother James. In 1881 the family were at Rose Villas in Upton Road and in addition to James and George there were three further children, Charles (9), Rose (3) and Violet Maud (1), all born in Ryde.
George Senior’s wife Henrietta died in Somerset in 1885, leaving him free to marry Rose, which he did at Lambeth in London in 1887. In 1891 the family were still at 2 Rose Villas, Upton Road, Ryde, but George Senior had died in 1889, at the age of 54, with Rose listed as the widowed Head of the household. James had left home, but George is listed as a Photographer, as is his younger brother Charles. As well as the two younger sisters, another person is listed as living at the same address, but as the Head of her own household. She was an unmarried 21-year-old born in Newport, Isle of Wight, and described as a Photographic Retoucher. Her name was Kate Quinton.
Kate was the seventh surviving child of George Quinton of Newport, a tallow chandler, and his wife Sarah Fielder. She was a younger sister of Emma Quinton and was therefore a great aunt to Helen Kegie, as well as being a sister to the Photographer Fred Fielder Quinton. Like George, she had been apprenticed to the Royal Photographer Charles Knight, who ran studios in Ryde and later in Newport.
George and Kate married in 1894, continuing the photographic business that George had started at Ryde in 1892. In the 1901 census they were living and working at 56 West Street, Ryde, with their first children Ivy aged 5 and Winifred aged 4. Also living with them were George’s younger sisters, Rose (23) and Maud (21), each described as a Photographer’s Assistant. By 1911 they had moved to 26 West Street, where they lived with their three daughters, Marion Iris having been born in 1909.
Soon after this the family emigrated to Australia, leaving London on 13 October 1911 aboard the ship Otranto of the Orient Line. George is listed (curiously) as a farmer, with his wife as a housewife, Ivy and Winifred as Domestics and Marion without an occupation as she was a small child. They arrived at Fremantle in Western Australia and George managed studios in Perth until 1920.
After a year travelling, they moved to Auckland in New Zealand, where George opened the Falk Studios, which gained a reputation for quality work, particularly for child portraits and bridal work. George died in 1932 and his wife and daughters continued the work until 1942, when it was taken over by Amy Harper. When Ivy Grace died in 1976, the large collection of negatives was given to the Institute and Museum in Auckland. The Helen Kegie Collection contains a number of prints dating before the family’s departure in 1911, together with some that were evidently posted back to relations in Britain.
- Isle of Wight, for George St John Biggs and Charles Knight
- Auckland Museum for George St John Biggs in New Zealand