Charles Pearson – Photographer

Many people will have seen postcards with the initials CP in the bottom left or right hand corner. Charles Pearson was a photographer who lived in Burnham for a while and produced postcards of this area and also towns and villages nearby.

The census of 1911 mentions him as living at 17 Cross Street. He was born in Sheffield in 1868  and married in 1897 a Sheffield girl, Bertha (nee Thorpe), who was born in 1870. They had a daughter, Gwendoline, born in 1897.  By 1901 Charles is listed as an engraver of silver near Sheffield. The family moved to Burnham in 1909 when Gwendoline was aged 9. (Thanks to John Page for research).

He appears in the  Kelley’s Trade Directories for the town from 1915 through to 1935 at the Cross Street address. It is thought that his wife may have continued the business in his place during the war. In “Somerset Photographers 1839 – 1939” published by The Somerset and Dorset Family History Society   she is mentioned as the business holder for 1915 and Charles as holder from 1919 to 1935 .  Gwendoline died aged 18 and Bertha dies in 1936 aged 67. The National Register of  1939 shows Charles as retired and living with a family in Burnham Road.

It is said that Charles used to cycle all over the region to obtain photographs.

Below are two of Charles’  images showing the fire at what was Hurley’s store between Technical Street and Lower South Street.

Further afield:

Mark Village:

He also took many portrait photographs at his Cross St studio.

Charles was an enthusiastic cricketer, joining the local YMCA team within a few months of his arrival in Burnham and subsequently playing for Burnham Amateurs and Burnham First XI & Second XI until well into his 60’s.

If you can add more information about his man or have images of his you are willing to share please get in touch.

8 thoughts on “Charles Pearson – Photographer”

  1. A further thought regarding the photo described by John Brigden : do you think this scene is a village or a town? I ask because one possibility is John Caple, innkeeper (and farmer) of the Lamb Inn at Lower Weare, only 7 or 8 miles away from Burnham-on-Sea. The Lamb Inn is still there, I believe. John Caple was the landlord at the time of the 1901 and 1911 Census returns, was still there in 1914 (Kelly’s Directory) but had moved by the time of the 1919 directory. These dates would make it possible that his time coincided with Charles Pearson’s photographic career.

    1. Thanks for that interesting nugget of information Phil. I have not seen the picture in question but perhaps John Brigden will reply with some more details.

      1. Hi Nigel .,.. would you please be able to give me your email address …. you should have my address – thanks, Phil

      2. There’s a photo of the Lamb Inn, probably contemporary with Charles Pearson, at This shows the name board just below the roof line : “J Caple Lamb Inn”

  2. There’s a very good selection of Charles Pearson photographs on the Facebook group “Somerset Past in Pictures”. Charles really was an excellent photographer and he produced a great record of life in the area from 1909 to the late 1930s. Your article has given me lots of new information – his studio portraits, playing cricket and confirmation of the date of the move from Sheffield – thank you. Phil Nichols (joint author of “Secure the Shadow”, mentioned above).

  3. Hello John,
    This photo was produced while Charles was living in Burnham but we cannot locate the ‘J Caple Inn ‘ as a local watering place, please let us know if there is any other information regarding this . Thanks for this detail and should we discover this Inn was in our local area we will contact you again.
    Thank you for contacting us.

  4. I have an oak framed and glazed photo of six shire horses and men outside a building (
    J Caple Inn )I think it may be a High St .It has CPearson, 17 Cross St , Burnham at the bottom left hand side .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *