John George Lawrence,

Photographer of Hemel Hempstead,



John George Lawrence was born  in 1881, in Sheepbridge, Whittington, Derbyshire, the son of John (born at Bishop's Tachbrook, Warwickshire) and Ellen Lawrence (born 1856 at Cuddington, Buckinghamshire).  His father's occupation was listed as "iron works labourer" in 1881, "sewing machine agent" in 1891, and photographer - in Brightside Bierlow, Yorkshire, in 1901, and in Beaumont House Lodge, Heronsgate, Rickmansworth in 1911. John senior may be the 58 year old John Lawrence whose death was registered in Barnet in 1913.

The 1901 census shows John George Lawrence living with his parents at

32, Back Spital Hill, Brightside Bierlow,  Yorkshire (West riding)

LAWRENCE, John Head Married M 45 1856 Photographer Teachbrook, Warwickshire
LAWRENCE, Ellen Wife Married F 46 1855   Cuddington, Buckinghamshire
LAWRENCE, Nellie Daughter Single F 21 1880   Cuddington, Buckinghamshire
LAWRENCE, John Son Single M 19 1882 Photographer's Collector & Canvasser Sheepbridge, Derbyshire
LAWRENCE, Olive R Daughter Single F 17 1884   Clay Cross, Derbyshire
LAWRENCE, Sarah A Daughter Single F 14 1887   Whittington Moor, Derbyshire
KUYPERS, William H K Boarder Single M 21 1880 Wood Carver Sheffield, Yorkshire

By 1911 he had married Florrie, started a family, and was living at

11 Oxford Road, Undercliffe, Bradford,  Yorkshire (West riding)

LAWRENCE, John George Head Married M 30 1881 Photographic Artist Shropbridge Derbyshire
LAWRENCE, Florrie Wife Married2 years F 33 1878   Doncaster Yorks
LAWRENCE, Olive Daughter Single F 0 (8 MONTHS) 1911   London
DUNHILL, Phyliss Stepdaughter Single F 8 1903   Doncaster Yorks
DIXON, Harold Boarder Single M 25 1886 Photographer Artist Brighton Sussex

The 1912 Bradford Street directory shows he was no longer living at 11 Oxford Road, and he is understood to have set up business as a photographer in Gadebridge Lodge, Hemel Hempstead by about the time war broke out in August 1914. In the middle of August the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th (howitzers) London Brigades Royal Field Artillery took up war stations in the Hemel Hempstead area, and if the following photograph was taken before they moved to France in March 1915 the young Second Lieutenant could well be one of the officers named in my book The London Gunners come to Town - but if so I don't know which.




Click  for larger image - Second Lieutenant, Royal Field Artillery, World War 1, Hemel Hempstead, photographed by John George Lawrence   Second Lieutenant, Royal Field Artillery, World War 1, Hemel Hempstead

Photograph No 3324 by Lawrence of Hemel Hempstead.

Possibly from one of the London Brigades RFA which were stationed in the town in 1914.

In October 1916 a number of cases were considered by the military tribunal, and John George Lawrence, a 35 year old married photographer, living in Gadebridge Lodge was given one month to get prepared for military service, as clearly being photographer was not a reserved occupation. (The Gazette, 14th October, 1916). He obviously returned from the war as the follow newspaper report indicates:

 Ex-soldiers accommodation problem

Petty Sessions :

William Griggen, of Hemel Hempstead, applied for an ejectment order on John G Lawrence, the tenant of Gadebridge Lodge, Hemel Hempstead. He stated that he wanted the house for occupation by an extra master or man.

Lawrence said he tried before he came out of the army, and since, to get another house, but it was impossible. He had been all over Hemel Hempstead, Boxmoor and Apsley. He had been established in business 4 years as a photographic artist, and it was impossible for him to go out at once.

After consideration the Chairman said to Lawrence you will have to go in a month.

Lawrence: Is that what I get for fighting for my country.

Gazette, 22nd March, 1919

The case came up again later when Lawrence had made arrangements for a house in Queen Street, and was waiting for the existing occupants to move out. It is not known whether he moved into Queen Street, but he is not listed in the 1922 or later Kelly's directories for Hertfordshire (having missed out on those for 1914 and 1917).

Second Lieutenants in Hemel Hempstead, August 1914-March 1915

The following list give the names of the second lieutenants who are named in The London Gunners come to Town and who were probably in Hemel Hempstead.

H. P. Barrow, 17th County of London Battery

James Henry Van den Bergh, orderly officer, 6th London Brigade RFA

Aubrey Francis Blackwell, 6th London Ammunition Column

A. M. Bown,  7th London Ammunition Column

H. E. Brown, 16th County of London Battery

Thomas Henry Willes Chitty, 6th London Ammunition Column

Nevill Christopherson, 12th County of London Battery

M. T. G. Clegg, 20th County of London Battery

Philip Henley Dodgson,  7th London Ammunition Column

G. L. Elliott, 15th County of London Battery

Henry Cyril Dixon Kimber, 19th County of London Battery

Victor Carrington Lucas, 16th County of London Battery

G Lyon-Smith, 17th County of London Battery

Geoffrey Isadore Charles Marchand, 16th County of London Battery

F. L. Mond, 15th County of London Battery

Alan Grant Ogilvie, orderly officer, 7th London Brigade RFA

R.C. Ollivant, orderly officer, 5th London Brigade RFA

Philip Harold Pilditch,  7th London Ammunition Column

Reginald George Hewett Pixley, 7th London Brigade RFA

Steward Edward Hewitt Pixley, 19th County of London Battery

John Cecil Glossop Pownall, 16th County of London Battery

K. L. Raworth, 17th County of London Battery

W. R. Smith, 6th London Ammunition Column

Richard Barker Ullman,  7th London Ammunition Column

M. G. Whitten, 17th County of London Battery

J. C. Woollett, 15th County of London Battery

Arthur F. Yencken,  15th County of London Battery


July 2012   Page created