Hugh Paton


Hugh Paton & Sons

Hugh Paton was based at 115 Princes Street (1864-68)

Hugh Paton & Sons was based at the same address (1869-84).  The company was listed in the trade directories as:

Printers  -  Publishers  -  Book & Print Sellers  -  Picture Framers

 Artists  -  Colourmen  -  Carvers & Gilders to the Queen

Advertising Contractors

Agents in Florentine marble, ornaments and statuary.

However, Ron Cosens, an authority on cartes de visite and other early photography reports that the company were also photographers.


Hugh Paton's Family Home


Hugh Paton's family lived for many years in Portobello Tower, beside the Firth of Forth, about four miles to the east of the centre of Edinburgh.

The tower survived, becoming surrounded by a small amusement arcade on the promenade and other buildings.  Most or all of the tower is still standing [2005].  It was being restored in early 2005.

  Portobello  Tower

      The Tower, Portobello  -  Photograph from the 1850s by Thomas Vernon Begbie ©

Thank you to Colleen Harnett, great great great granddaughter of Hugh Paton, who wrote:

Hugh Paton

"I am almost positive that there is no direct connection between Hugh and Noel Paton.

Hugh is related to a long line of Ayrshire Patons and is directly linked to a Capt John Paton who was executed in Edinburgh in 1684 or so as a covenanter and is honoured in a memorial at Edinburgh's Grassmarket"

Colleen Harnett:  26 October 2005




Judy King (née Paton)

great-granddaughter of Hugh Paton

Thank you to Judy King (née Paton) who wrote:

Hugh Paton


"I can fill in a few details about the photographer, Hugh Paton, b. c1848, Mauchline, Ayr, d. 1893, Islington, London.   He was my great grandfather, and did indeed widen his horizons after leaving the Campbeltown Studio. 

His wife Lillias Goldie Paton (née Wylie) was a photo shop assistant (aged 16) in 1871, in Campbeltown, so this was presumably how they met.   They married on 15th January 1873 in Campbelltown, and their first child, Sarah Morton Paton was born there on 9th February 1874."


"The little family then moved to Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, where their son Hugh was born on November 28, 1875."


This period coincides with Hugh's announcement in 1875 that he was leaving 'for a wider sphere'.   They travelled to Farnham, on the borders of Sussex and Surrey, where Hugh Paton again set up as a photographer.

He appears in the Farnham Almanack & Directory for 1877 under East Street as 'Mr Paton, Photographer, East Street and Hale Road'. 

I have a very faded and battered photo of his wife and two first children, probably taken in 1877.

On the back of the photoboard is printed 'Patronised by H.R.H. Princess Louise, the Marquis of Lorne &c.   H. Paton, Farnham Park Photographic Studio, East Street, Farnham'."


"One can only presume that the business in Farnham failed, as he does not appear in the 1878 Farnham Almanack, and by 1881 he is living at 49 Clinton Road, Mile End Old Town, Islington.   He died in 1893, still in Islington."

Hugh Paton

Son of the photographer, Hugh Paton

"As a postscript, his son Hugh (b.1875) joined the 2nd Battalion of the Scots Guards (then stationed at Aldershot) aged 21, and became a career soldier.

He was wounded right at the beginning of WW1, on 7th November 1914 while fighting at Gheluvelt Wood during the First Battle of Ypres, and was returned to a hospital in Northampton, where he died on 20th November 1914.

He was one of the first to die in England, and although a lowly Lance Corporal, was given a hero's funeral by Northampton Town, with full military honours and a two-page spread in the local newspapers, complete with pictures.  Later there were too many deaths for such ceremony.

Hugh was buried in Billings Cemetery, Northampton, but, alas, a later Town Council saw fit to remove the stones."

Judy King (née Paton),

great-granddaughter of Hugh Paton,
 Isle of Wight, England:  September 24, 2008


Message for Judy King

Cousin John


Your cousin, John, tells me that he has been searching for you.  I gave him the email address that you were using in 2008 but unfortunately that seems to be no longer active.

So, if you read this message, please email me then I'll let you know how to contact him.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  December 2, 2012



Colleen Harnett

great-great-granddaughter of Adam Paton,
son of Hugh Paton of the Tower

Thank you to Colleen Harnett who wrote, giving more details of the Paton Family.

Colleen wrote:

Paton Families

"I'd like to add a bit to the mix on the Hugh Paton families.  There seem to be a lot named Hugh, James, etc.

The information that I have was collated and verified by a genealogist based in Edinburgh, for my great uncle in 1983.

Hugh Paton of Portobello Tower and Family

"Hugh Paton of the Tower, Portobello, died in 1864 at the Tower

His son, Chalmers Izett Paton was born 1834 at the Tower, was a writer of books on Freemasons

His son, Adam Paton, born 1836 at the Tower, went to Leeds where he had one of the first printing businesses (He also had many patents for inventions involved with printing presses)

James Paton, born 1839 at the Tower, took over the Hugh Paton and Sons business after the death of his father.  James had no children and adopted the son of his brother, David Paton

The 2nd David Paton and his son, David (Dennis) Paton carried on the business until the new business site at St. James Square was expropriated by the City of Edinburgh in 1955 for an Opera House. (I'm not sure if this was actually built.)

Opera House

A new office, hotel and shopping complex was built there in the 1960s, but no Opera House. This complex is about to be demolished now!
Peter Stubbs:  June 12, 2011

The other children were not involved in the printing / publishing business ,or emigrated, or did not survive.   This includes a Hugh Paton 2nd, born in The Tower in 1837 and was listed as a print seller, living at home at the Tower in the 1861 census.  He is not listed at that address in the 1871 census.


Stereoscopic Views

The EdinPhoto site has two lovely stereoscopic views of the 'mansion' built onto the Tower by Hugh Paton (- it seems to have been just before he died) under the title 'Portobello Tower'

A stereo view by an unidentified photographer  -  Portobello Castle  ©

A stereo view by an unidentified photographer  -  Sundial at Portobello Castle ©

One shows 3 men sitting around a monument outside. Do you know anything about the date of these stereo views?


Unfortunately, I don't know who took these photos, or when they were taken. Stereo views were popular around the 1850s and again around the 1890s-1900s.  Perhaps somebody else will be able to suggest the dates of these.
Peter Stubbs:  June 12, 2011


Colleen Harnett
great-great-granddaughter of Adam Paton,
son of Hugh Paton of the Tower:  June 8, 2011


James Paton

Other Photographers