William Beckett was a well-known local photographer, taking photos from the 1920s and 1930s right through until the early 1960s. He started off with a studio in the first of the two shops to the right of Knowles's garage (the other shop on the extreme right was a hairdresser's salon run by Gwen Withers). In the 1950s he moved across the road to the shop adjoining the Coach and Horses public house.
Almost all of his studio photos can be identified by the distinctive oak panelling on the rear wall of his studio that he used as his backdrop.
William was born at Horner House, Stocksbridge, in 1898 to William Beckett, a painter, and Martha Ann. His father died when he was still a baby (in 1898 or 1900), and when the 1901 census was taken, William and his mother were living at Bracken Moor with her brother Allen Crossland and other siblings. She was still living with three of her brothers in 1911 at Common Piece, Stocksbridge. In 1936 William married Annie Crofts (nee Buxton), a widow with three children - Muriel, Nora and Ives. Ives was the father of Teresa Freeman who has sent me the photographs below.
William and his wife Annie lived at 31 Florence Buildings, Deepcar (now demolished). The main page photograph is the window of Annie's shop, which was at the end of one of the terraced rows.
William Beckett; William and Annie on a train 1950s; some original glass photographic slides in their case.
William Beckett's grandaughter sent me these photographs, which were obtained from the original glass photographic slides, above. Many of the locations were not known, but thanks to the power of Facebook, members of various local history forums have been able to identify them. Some do remain unidentified, so please get in touch if you can help.
A selction of Beckett photographs.
And finally - William Beckett's won five shillings in a competition when he would have been sixteen years old. They hoped he would be successful. He was.