COWES, ISLE OF WIGHT
Bath Road, Cowes
Accomplished Victorian pioneer of yachting photography
William Umpleby Kirk was born in 1843 in Hull , the son of an auctioneer William Kirk and his wife Mary Ann, both from Leeds
In 1865 at Scarborough, William married Ada Elizabeth Parkin from Seacroft, Yorkshire, the daughter of butcher & farmer William Parkin. The couple set up home in Market Weighton where their first son Arthur Henry was born in 1866. In 1871 William was working as a glass and china dealer living on the High Street. Another son, Edgar William, was born there later that year.
It was at Market Weighton in the early 1870’s that William Umpleby Kirk set up his first photographic studio and by 1874 the family had moved to Walthamstow, East London, where two more children were born; Ernest and Oliver in late 1874 and Minnie Blanche in early 1877.
By 1881, the family had moved to the Isle of Wight and was living on the High Street, Cowes, where he took one of the first photographs of a vessel in motion ever taken in Britain, Queen Victoria’s yacht Alberta steaming into Cowes at a speed of 10 knots.
His photographic skills and his business developed for two generations with himself and his son Edgar obtaining Royal Patronage .
His wife, Ada, died on 16 May 1932 and is also buried at Northwood Cemetery, after William died in 1928, his son Edgar continued running the business until 1946, when the business was sold to Mr Robert Wells of East Cowes.