Denis Potter, whose collection of family memorabilia has been stored
in a box for almost 100 years, has very kindly allowed the use
of this original photograph of his Potter relatives (above),
which was taken by the Matlock Bath photographer John Hilder.
The family group were probably photographed in their own garden.
Denis's great grandfather was Charles Potter, the son of John
and Mary Potter, who was born at Darley Bridge on 28 Nov 1830 and
baptised at Darley on 1 Sep 1833. He was a Coach Builder and Wheelwright
Charles married Catherine Elliott at
St. Mary's, Wensley in 1861 and the couple had seven children.
Kate was born in 1862, John Allen in 1864, George in 1867, Charles
Herbert (Herbert) in 1870, Henrietta Elizabeth M (Hetty) in 1871,
Frederic in 1874 and Annie Marion (May) in 1879.
They lived at Mill House, Darley Bridge, Bridgetown and
it was John who was Denis's grandfather.
are some more photographs found in the box.
Denis's grandfather, John A Potter (left) and one of his
brothers (George), circa 1890.
They were photographed with their penny farthing
bicycles by W. N. Statham.
he was a teenager John Potter was apprenticed to his father,
Charles, as a wheelwright.
The family's business premises were next to their home and "the
machinery was all operated by water power drawn from the millpond".
By the time of the 1891 census three of Charles' sons were working
alongside their father. John and Herbert were described as a coach
builders whilst their brother George worked as a coach painter.
Ten years later, in 1901, John told the Enumerator that they were "Builders
of Carriages, Carts, Etc." George had moved away by then,
and was living at Crutchfield Road, Walton on Thames, Surrey in
1901; he was still building coaches. He and his family returned
to Derbyshire and lived at Highfield on Cavendish Road, Matlock
for a time.
John remained in Derbyshire at this time, living at Holmefield,
Oaker Side after he married Marie Jane Bower. Although born at
South Wingfield, Marie had been brought up by her grandmother at
Sabine Hay, Birchover. The couple had two children; Leonard Charles
Frederic (born 25 Dec 1899) and Kathleen Gertrude Jane (born 24
Mar 1902) were both born at Oaker, in the house below One Tree
The family moved to 6 Malpas Road in Matlock when Kathleen was
still an infant, as shown in the charming photograph of the two
children in their pony and trap (below) which was taken outside
their new home.
Kathleen and Leonard Potter, taken outside the family home in Malpas
by J. Mills of Matlock Bank
W. N. Statham's lovely photograph of Kathleen Potter, taken in
the Summer of 1904, when she was 2½ years old.
The picture shows us just how exceptional Statham's portraits of
Another child, May Slater, was photographed
on the same seat (scroll
down to the image 4th from the bottom).
Leonard and Kathleen attended All Saints' School. The photograph
of them (below) is in the form of a postcard. It was taken
about 1908 so they would both have been of school age. However,
the family must have had a spell living in Sheffield as the
1910 Admissions Register for All Saints' shows them joining the
school on 14 March, having previously attended a school at Sheffield
(Malin Bridge County). The school's Log Book shows that on April
11th 1910, just a few days after he had started, Leonard advanced
to Standard 4. They left All Saints' on 21 Feb 1913, shortly
before emigrating to Canada.
All Saints' School
Leonard and Kathleen Potter, ca. 1908
Charles Potter died in 1906 and Catherine died in 1912 and the "Mill
House" at Darley Bridge was sold in 1912 to settle the
estate. John Allen
Potter emigrated to Canada with his wife and children shortly afterwards,
taking family photographs with him to remind him of home. The family
travelled to Canada on the "Grampian" of the Allan
Line; the ship sailed from Liverpool on 7 March 1913 for Halifax
St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. Listed as being on board were J.
A. Potter, a farmer aged 47, Mrs. Potter aged 38, Leonard Potter
aged 11 and Kathleen Potter aged 10. Their ticket number was 1460.
They settled in Calgary, Alberta for several years, and John continued
to work as a carriage builder and a wheelwright. Several of his old
planes, and other tools of the wheelwright trade stamped with " J
A Potter", are still owned by his descendants.
The final photographs from the box are of Catherine Potter. The
first was taken much earlier than any of the others. The original
is very dark, with some damage to the print, but has been enhanced
to bring out the colour and detail. From the dress and the age of
the image it shows us Catherine Potter, John Allen Potter's
mother, shortly after her engagement. It is not easy to tell, but
the ring she is wearing looks more like an engagement ring than a
wedding ring. It must date
from about 1860 or thereabouts.
Catherine Potter, photographed by W. N. Statham.
This probably dates from the 1890s.
links are to information elsewhere on this website):
 There is more information about John
Hilder on the Photographers page.
 Charles Potter, John Allen Potter's father,
is listed in Kelly's
Directory 1891 for Wensley. Jonathan Potter, also listed in 1891,
was Charles' elder brother and lived next door at that time. Charles
was apprenticed to his father, also John, (1851 census) and ten years
later he was working as a Carpenter (1861 census). The 1871 census
for Wensley tells us that he employed three men and three boys in his
coach building business at Darley Bridge.
 Catherine Potter was the daughter of James
Elliott, a Carrier, and his wife Anne and was born in Derby (the family
lived in Saddler Gate). Catherine moved to Wensley
as a young girl to be brought up by her uncle and aunt, James and Sarah
Allen, who farmed and ran the Red Lion Inn at Wensley.
 Checked against UK BMD records.
 This address first appears in the 1891
census for Wensley.
 From the 1881 census.
 Description of the way the machinery operated
is from notes of his boyhood memories made by Leonard Potter, aged
74, owned by Denis Potter. The trade directories
for Charles Potter only refer to him as a wheelwright, so
it is difficult to say when he and his sons began to build coaches
and we have to largely rely on the information from the census returns
although Leonard's notes do mention that they were cart and carriage
 See Kelly's
1908 Directory, Matlock. George also was listed in Kelly's 1912
Directory but not in 1916 (see online
 See the
view of Oaker Hill, part of a multi view card, which almost certainly
shows the children and their pony and trap. Also see Darley
Dale, Oaker Hill (One Tree Hill), 1900-10 (in another section of
this web site).
 The houses on the northern side of
Malpas Road are above the road, as shown in the picture. The family
were still living at this address in 1911. The 1911 census is available
on FindMyPast (see Links).
 School Admission Registers & Log-books,
Derbyshire Record Office. There are some extracts from these - see Nineteenth
Century Lists: All Saints' School.
 The will of Charles Potter was proved
at Derby in 1907. The information about the sale of the Mill House
has been extracted from the Trustee's Statement, a copy of which is
owned by Denis Potter. Catherine Potter, Charles Potter's widow, was
living at Mill House in 1911 (from the census).