Alexander Ayton

Senior + Junior

Which Alexander Ayton?

It took me a while to distinguish between Alexander Ayton Sen. and Jun. However, I now have a clearer idea, thanks particularly to research by Ian Bartlett of Londonderry, Northern Ireland.  Thank you to Ian for producing extracts from census returns and newspaper reports.

The father appears to have continued as a professional photographer in Londonderry while his son set up a studio in Edinburgh.

Some cartes de visite list only the Edinburgh or the Londonderry studio.  Others, including the one below list both studios (leaving it unclear as to which studio had produced the photo.

Alex Ayton jun  -  Carte de Visite  -  No 5  -  front     Alex Ayton jun  -  Carte de Visite  -  No 5  -  back

Please see below to read brief details of Alexander Ayton Sen. and Jun.


Alexander Ayton Sen

He had Londonderry Studios


Born in Denny, Stirlingshire, Scotland, one of seven children of Alexander Ayton and Helen Bowie


Moved to Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.


Married Catherine Young  from Denny in 1857.  They had 12 children all born between 1859 and 1876.

Alexander Ayton's wife and eight of his children


Moved to Londonderry, Northern Ireland, and opened the city's first photographic studio at Huffington's Crescent, Hawkins St.


Moved to new premises at Kennedy Place.  The Londonderry Sentinel commented on its show-room with over 1,000 portraits, and other views, its large portrait gallery and other rooms.

Here is a photograph of the family taken outside the Kenneryt Place studio:

Alexander Ayton Sen + Alexander Ayton Jun + family


Moved to even finer premises at Shipquay Place


Opened a second studio at Carlisle Road.  This was managed by his youngest son, George, until Alexander died.


Died at Kennedy Place, Londonderry, Northern Ireland.  He left a widow and 4 of his children living at that address.


Youngest son George took over management of  the Shipway Place business until 1907, when George moved to Edinburgh to take over the Edinburgh business from his brother Robert who died that year.

The above details are reproduced with acknowledgement to Ian Bartlett.


Alexander Ayton Jun

He had Edinburgh Studios


Born in Glasgow, the eldest child of Alexander Ayton Sen.


Opened studio at 1 Hanover Street Edinburgh, opposite the National Galleries in Princes Street.


Married Jessie.  The first two children were Catherine b.1889 and Alexander b.1890.


Moved his studio to 43 North Bruntsfield Place, where it remained until 1940.


Became a member of Edinburgh Photographic Society


Photographed Photographic Convention group in Edinburgh.

At that time he was Vice President of EPS who hosted the convention.

Photograph of delegates to the Photographic Convention of the United Kingdom held in Dublin in 1894


Died in Edinburgh, while preparing to go on holiday in the Highlands and apparently in good health.  At the time of his death, he was President of Edinburgh Photographic Society.


His photographic business was carried on in Edinburgh by his brother, Robert until he died in 1907, then by his brother, George


Other Families of Photographers

The Ayton family was not the only family that me caused me some confusion.  It was not unusual for two or more generations of professional photographers in Edinburgh to be given the same name.  e.g.

Alexander Adam Inglis

Father and son of the Edinburgh photographer, Francis Caird Inglis, were both photographers. Both were named Alexander Adam Inglis.

Edward Raeburn Yerbury

Grandfather, father and son, (b.1843, 1881 and 1915) were all photographers in the Edinburgh family business.  All three were all named Edward R Yerbury.

James Howie

I found this particularly confusing when the first James Howie left the business to his descendents.  They were known as James Howie Jun (the father) and James Howie (his son)!


Ayton Photographers

More Pages

Alexander Ayton Sen
 and family

Alexander Ayton Sen + Alexander Ayton Jun + family      

Londonderry Studios

    Photograph taken around 1900 of Ayton Studio at Shipquay Place, Londonderry

Which Alexander Ayton?

Alexander Ayton Jun
and family

Alexander Ayton jun.  -  Edinburgh professional photographer     Alexander Ayton's wife and eight of his children

Edinburgh studios      family     lectures

enamelling + dry plates    cabinet prints

bazaar        cricket            rugby          

cdv 1- 5      cdv 6-12           death

Edinburgh, Leith, Portobello

Glass Plates


   Platinotype photo from the studio of Alex Ayton, Bruntsfield, Edinburgh


Photographic Convention - 1892

comments       photo

enlarged       detail      more