The man behind the lens – Geoff Williams

When this collection of glass plate negatives were initially discovered in a boarded up room of a pet shop, there was no information about who took the photographs or when they were taken.  It was known that the premises at George Street had been a photography studio for a number of years, but had changed hands various times along the way.

Initial research into the digitised images showed that although there are some earlier photographs, the majority of the images from the George Street Photography Collection were taken around 1955 / 1956, within the period that Mr. Geoff Williams was owned the photography studio.

But who was Geoff Williams?  For months we only had a name, but thankfully now know more about the ‘man behind the lens’ and also even have a few photographs of him within the collection.

Geoff Williams, photographer of the George Street Photography Collection

Geoff Williams was the proprietor of ‘Central Studios’ at 16 George Street from c1950-1970.  Geoff was born and raised in St Helens, one of three sons of Albert Edwards Williams.  Along with his brother, Albert Edwards Williams founded the St Helens furniture business ‘H & AE Williams’ and was later mayor of St Helens in 1951.

H & AE Williams Furnishers – Westfield Street premises.  Photograph by Geoff Williams

This next photograph from the collection shows the Williams family, Albert Edwards Williams in the centre with Geoff Williams stood on the back row, second from the right.

The Williams family, photograph taken in the late 1950s

As well as a studio portrait photographer, Geoff Williams was a professional photographer hired for weddings, events, sporting occasions, and to take pictures regularly for schools, businesses and industry.  The glass negatives that were discovered have been digitised and preserved and provide a unique snapshot of life in St Helens in the 1950s.

Geoff and Nora Williams attending a wedding in 1955


Thanks again to Geoff’s son David Williams and nephew Gratten Williams for visiting Central Library to identify the photographs and for providing more information about this wonderful collection of images.

Gratten Williams and David Williams visit Central Library to see the display of Geoff William’s photographs


Geoff Williams exhibition stand, circa 1955




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