William Gilhen Archive

William was the eldest of eight children (5 boys, 3 girls) born to John ‘Joseph’ and Mary Ann (nee Young) Gilhen. They were married December 25, 1853 at St. Peters Church in Plymouth. William was born in 1854 and passed away in 1923 at the age of 69.

In addition to being a photographer, private family records indicate he worked as a store houseman at HM Dockyard. William’s first wife was named Mary and they had a daughter named Lilian Eveline born around 1883 in Plymouth. Following the death of Mary in 1901, William married Ellen Jane Edginton in 1903 in the same church as his parents some fifty years earlier.

There are around 900 photographs within the collection which show informal street scenes and landscapes covering Devon and Cornwall. They were captured at a time when our local photographers were stepping out from the studio into the field.

The William Gilhen collection will form a significant part of a display in the ‘Media Lab’ gallery when The Box opens in 2020.

View a selection of photographs from the William Gilhen Archive below.

All images are courtesy of The Box (Plymouth Museums Galleries Archives)/© Plymouth Barbican Trust.