Robert George Murduck


A Photographer in England


In Elland, Yorkshire

1920 through 1947


Robert George Murduck was born in Clapham, Tower Hamlets, London, England, in 1875, He apprenticed to an unknown photographer in the area around Hastings, Surrey, in the 1890s. Then he lived and worked as a very productive commercial photographer in Exmouth, Devonshire, from about 1897.

Initiated into the Masonic Rolle Lodge No. 2759 in Exmouth in 1902, he progressed quickly through the levels, attaining the position of Worshipful Master in late 1910. He was very engaged in civic undertakings - positioning himself on organizing and management committees of all sorts of social organizations, and he was an active participant in community life between 1901 and 1917. But, as happened in so many instances, the Great War caused irreparable tears in the fabric of social continuity, and Robert George was conscripted in very early 1917. He served at least for part of the remaining war years in York, and there he met a 17 years younger woman - Dorothy Parker. Their lives were intertwined for the rest of his days.

See here - for details about his early life. See here - for details about his life in Exmouth. See here - for details about his life during the war years.

Robert George appears to have returned to Exmouth for a brief period after the war, perhaps only to wrap up his business affairs. Dorothy appears to have moved from York to Exeter in Devonshire, near Exmouth for a short period, as well. She was there in early August, 1918, when her first son - George Philip, was born [England & Wales Birth Registration, September Quarter 1918, Volume 5B, Page 92, No. 396].

When Dorothy's second son was born - Stanley Raymond, in October of 1919, at 17, Cambridge Road, Hammersmith, London, Robert George Murduck was said to be working as a 'Temporary Clerk, Record's Office, ex Army' [England & Wales Birth Registration, December Quarter 1919, Volume 1A, Page 408, No. 325].

But by early 1920, however, Robert George and Dorothy had moved again. They were living at No. 52 Marygate, in the Parish of St. Olave, Marygate, in York, on the 15th of January when their 2 sons were baptised [Register of Baptisms, 1877-1923, St. Olave's, York. Borthick Institute: PR Y/OL.23, Page 252. Baptismal entries are not numbered, see two entries, 3rd & 4th on the page].

The Autumn Register, 1920, for Polling District H of Elland, Elland Electoral Divsion, Township of Elland (North Ward), Post Town of Elland and Elland Parliamentary Division of the West Riding of Yorkshire, shows that Robert George Murduck was residing at Briggate when the Register was compiled [Poll No. 2981, Page 13]. This particular Register was published on 15 October 1920. This shows that he was eligible to vote in national Parliamentary elections, but that he was not eligible to vote for local government officials. Another Register published in October 1920 shows that Robert George had a shop on the Huddersfield Road, in the South Ward of Elland [Polling District H, South Ward, Poll No. 4011, Page 15]. This shop enfranchised Robert George to vote in local government elections, but not in national Parliamentary elections.

The photograph below shows the front of the studio at No 77, Huddersfield Road. This location is a far cry from the trendy tourist spot on The Strand where Robert George had his first photographic studio in Exmouth. This studio was identified as the 'South End Studio' at several times. The back door of this studio opened to a very rough 'breaker's yard', managed by Dick TAYLOR. One has to wonder if the boy standing under the awning of the studio might have been one of Robert George's sons?

R G Murduck's Studio, Huddersfield Rd, Elland, YorkshireR G Murduck's Studio, Huddersfield Rd, Elland, Yorkshire. This Photo with Description Courtesy of the Greater Elland Historical Society. This photograph is one of many donated to the Society after the death of Brian Hargreaves.


Electoral Registers created in 1921 and later suggest that Robert George continually ran his shop at 77 Huddersfield Road until he retired around 1936. And, while it appears that Robert George and Dorothy may have lived in the shop in 1924, at least, by 1926 the family had moved and were living at No. 17, Victoria Avenue, in Elland. The family appears, by other Registers of Electors, to have reverted to living at No. 77, Huddersfield Road, by 1946.

Robert George and Dorothy Murduck had four children in all:

Children of Robert George & Dorothy MurduckChildren of Robert George & Dorothy Murduck











They were: George Philip, born 1918; Stanley Raymond, born 1919; Stuart, born 1923; and Dorothy Elaine, born 1925 (all now deceased). Stuart became a photographer like his father, and carried on in the Huddersfield Road studio for a number of years after his father's death.

Robert George Murduck died in the Leeds Infirmary, on the 12th of June 1947. The cause of his death is not presently known. Nor is the place of his interment known.

Robert George kept a much lower public profile in Elland, than he had in Exmouth. No newspaper notices have been found which detail causes and committees he might have aligned himself with. His death notice reported that he had been a member of the Elland Cricket and Bowling Club, and of the Constitutional Club. But he appears not to have maintained a connection with a local Masonic Lodge - his death notice mentioned only that 'he was initiated in a South of England lodge of Freemasons'. And many fewer photographs and postcards produced by Robert George are known from the Elland years - Elland was not, as mentioned above, anything like the tourist hot-spot that Exmouth was in the early years of the century.

Robert George's first wife, Emmie Margrie, survived him by about 4 years - she died in Devonshire in 1951. Robert George's only son by his first marriage - Ernest George Murduck, survived his father by only 16 years, dying in Bath in the fall of 1963. He exhibited as a photographer during his career, including once in Lincoln. And he worked extensively with the Admiralty. It's not known if he had any contact with his father after 1920.

Robert George's second partner Dorothy Parker, 17 years younger than he was, survived for 24 years beyond Robert George. Her death was registered in the York Registration District in the 2nd Quarter of 1971.

And so, while the story of Robert George Murduck's life ends, his photographs live on .....


Facts about Robert George Murduck's life, 1875-1947, can be found here. A gallery and a detailed description of all of his currently known photographs can be accessed here. All means by which Robert George Murduck is currently known to have identified his photographs can be seen here. Details about ways you can submit a copy of your photo can be found through this link.

If you have additional information about Robert George Murduck, or if you have a photograph (or photographs) which show an image of him or one of his studios, or which can be attributed to him, please ....

Contact Bruce D. Murduck   concerning any matter at all.