Hertfordshire Postcard Artists, Photographers, Publishers, etc.

 Christopher Irving Shaw


of Watford & Hemel Hempstead


Christopher Irving Shaw was born in Aylesbury in about 1826, and was living in Walton Street, Aylesbury, in 1851, when he was working as a printer. In 1860 he married Maria Jackson and the following year he was lodging in Luton, and was described as a gentleman. Three Children were born in Aylesbury - Christopher Jackson Shaw in 1862, Agnes Maria Jackson in 1864 and Edwin Irving Shaw in 1865. At least between 1854 and 1867 he was actively involved in local politics, attending meeting to express views on subjects such as abstinence, pacifism, parliamentary reform, religion and the establishment of British Schools. (Many reports mentioning him by name in the Bucks Herald.)

SHAW - On the 3rd inst., in Walton, the wife of Mr. C. I. Shaw of a son. Bucks Herald, 8 November, 1862

SHAW - on the 20th inst, the wife of Mr. C. I. Shaw, Walton, of a son, stillborn. Bucks Herald. 30 March 1867

There is nothing to directly indicate why Christopher switched from being a printer in 1851 into photography by 1869. However as a printer in Aylesbury in the 1850s he would undoubtedly known of John Gibbs and the Bucks Advertiser newspaper edited by Robert Gibbs (who would have employed a printer) - and the meetings he attended suggests he had very similar political views to the Gibbs family. He also was actively involved with the Aylesbury Mechanics Institute, where another member (and relative of the Gibbs family) was the photographer Samuel Glendenning Payne.

While in Aylesbury he was actively involved with the Aylesbury Mechanics Institute. Other active members of the Institute were my great grandfather, John Locke, and  Samuel Glendenning Payne - the leading Aylesbury photographer at the time.

He is firts recorded as working as a photographer in Watford in 1869 and at the time of the 1871 census he was living in Station Road, Watford, and trading as a photographer. A son, Herbert Irving Shaw, was born in Watford towards the end on 1871. In 1872 he also opened a studio in the High Street, Hemel Hempstead.

Watford Observer, 5 June, 1869

Hemel Hempstead Gazette, 23 November, 1872



This Carte de Visite has a name which looks like "McParty" on the back, The sitter probably came from Hemel Hempstead or Watford. Can you identify him?


Barbara has suggested the "McParty" might be a mistake for "McCarthy" and that a family of greengrocers, headed by a John Mc Carthy, were living at Park Street in the 1881 census. I am not sure whether the ages are right for a match. Other suggestions welcome.

The 1874 directory lists him at both Watford and Hemel Hempstead. By 1878 the trade directory shows he was now operating from the High Street and Marlowes in Hemel Hempstead - and apparently was no longer working in Watford.

Hemel Hempstead Gazette 18 January 1879




This Carte de Visite has no name for the subject but came from the same dealer as the "McParty" picture and may have come from the same family. Can you name her.

CDV by C I Shaw, Hemel Hempsted, of Annie, 1882

The following very feint writing appears on the back of the CDV.

It is not known who "Annie" was.

The date suggest that this could will have been his last back of CDV design.

This CDV has a plain back, and a simple inscription under the picture.

Its date relevant to the above is not known.

The person is also unidentified.


Hemel Hempstead Gazette, 26 February, 1881

He was living in Marlowes in the 1881 census, and listed at the two Hemel Hempstead addresses in the 1882 Post Office Directory.

SHAW. - Dec. 10th, at his residence, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, Christopher Irving Shaw, photographer, aged 57 years.

Hemel Hempstead Gazette, 16th December, 1882.

In 1891 widowed Maria and the family were living at at 81 London Road, Hackney. Her son Christopher Jackson Shaw was an architect.

June 2016   Aylesbury connections, Press Adverts and "Annie" CDV added