Mr and Mrs Slater
Gorey in the 1860s by Slater
Given that they were responsible for taking many of the earliest surviving outdoor photographs in Jersey, the Slaters are almost completely anonymous people. Indeed, the only information provided by the compiler of the original version of our revised list of Jersey photographers from 1840 to 1940 is that Madame Slater was in business at 4 Halkett Place in 1876.
Having undertaken considerable research in local documents, almanacs and street directories, we can improve on that.
Husband and wife
We have established what many collectors of early photographs have suspected, that Mr and Mrs Slater were husband and wife, in business together principally as booksellers and stationers, first in King Street and later Halkett Place.
Mrs Elizabeth Metivier started a stationer's and library at No 56 King Street, and by 1861 it had been taken over by William Slater (1830-1874) and his wife Caroline (1823- ), who had a staff of three. They lived above the shop with William's widowed sister Elizabeth Davies (1824- ), her daughter Eliza (1848- ) and a nephew, William Slater (1857- ).
The premises had been taken over by baker John Fearon by 1871, and we believe that the Slaters were in business at 4 Halkett Place by then. William died in 1874 and although his widow continued the business, it was eventually taken over by another prominent Jersey photographer, Philip Morel Laurens. Laurens' biography indicates that he took over 'the family business', but we have so far been unable to ascertain what the family connection was between the Slaters and Philip Laurens.