Know your Neighbours – Edwin Poole

cropped Poole

Mr. Edwin Poole

1876 – 1931

Edwin Poole was born in Abingdon, Berkshire, England in 1876. He came to Canada in 1865 or 1866 and returned to England in 1867 or 1868. In or around 1870, he again returned to Canada where he lived in Brantford, Ontario for two years. He then moved to Chatham, Ontario where he worked as a photographer (Poole & Jarvis) for 5 years until he moved yet again to St. Catharines in 1876 or 1877 where he opened a photographic studio at 79 St. Paul Street. Circa 1898-1900 he moved his studio to 1 St. Paul Street in a building known as P + O Block where he occupied the whole third floor, living there as well as working. His studio was large and “handsome” and he had the very latest in cameras and equipment. By 1904 he was living at 11 Race Street which remained his residence until he died. By 1904-06 his studio had also moved to 145 St. Paul Street. Poole apparently also worked in Toronto between 1902 and 1905 at 100 William Street.

Poole was a very active member of the St. Catharines community and was on the executive of many organizations including the YMCA [founding member and Vice-President]. For 44 years he was secretary of the Upper Canada Bible Society. He was a member of the Odd Fellows and the Union Lodge I.O.O.F. He was a founding member and secretary for many years of the Canadian Photographic Association and Vice-President of the Photographic Association of the United States.

While his work as a photographer consisted mainly of portraits and studio work, he apparently also systematically photographed most of the buildings and landscape of St. Catharines and area. It is these pictures that so interest local historians. Hundreds of his negatives were offered to the St. Catharines Public Library in 1922, after his retirement in 1921, but they have disappeared, the glass negatives having probably been broken when a box dropped.

Poole won many professional awards during his career including: 1878 – Honourable Mention at the Paris Exhibition; 1878 – Diploma New York City; 1887 – Bronze Medal, Chicago.

Edwin Poole died on January 27, 1931 and was buried in the Farrington cemetery in Brantford.

This series is written and compiled by Alicia Floyd, Collections Technician – Archival at the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre

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