Henry Fairbairn

Professional Photographer

Henry Fairbairn was a professional photographer based at Bellevue,  Edinburgh 1880-82

1851 Census

Living at No 2, Bath Street at the time of the 1851 census were:

Thomas Fairbairn - Head - Married - age 60 - Gardener
                                   - born Berwickshire, Abbey St. Bathans

Catherine Fairbairn - Wife - Married - age 56 - born Edinburgh

Henry Fairbairn - Son - Unmarried - age 17 - Bookseller Appr.
                               - born  East Calder

Jane Fairbairn - Daughter - Unmarried - age 14 - born East Calder

Thank you to Sanna Gaffney, Boone, North Carolina, USA, great granddaughter of  Henry Fairbairn's cousin, John Kinninmound Fairbairn, for providing the above extract and for telling me:

-   Henry is the one who married Sarah Lindsay McMinn Sharpe, and was a photographer.

- Henry Fairbairn's grandparents were John Fairbairn and Elizabeth Yule.

1881 Census

Henry Fairbairn appeared in the 1881 census listed as a photographer

 - aged 46

 - born: East Calder

 - resident Bellevue, Scotland Street Station, Edinburgh

wife, Sarah LF.

[DR Torrance]

The reference to Scotland Street Station above is interesting.  This was the railway station at the northern end of the tunnel that ran under Scotland Street.

This took the trains from Edinburgh Canal Street Station (beside Waverley) on the first stage of their journey towards Granton from 1847.  The tunnel and station were abandoned in 1868 (over 20 years before this census) when the line took a new route going from Waverley Station via Abbeyhill instead of from Canal Street Station through the tunnel.

Move to Penicuik

Henry Fairbairn was reported to be a photographer in Penicuik, about ten miles to the south of Edinburgh, in 1887.

[DR Torrance]


Henry Fairbairn


Pam Harper, Seattle, Washington, USA has written asking if anything is known of Henry O Fairbairn.  If you can help, please e-mail me so that I can pass on the info to Pam.

 Pam writes:

Henry Fairbairn

 Wreck of the Ohioan

I have a photo of the wreck of the "Ohioan" on Pt. Lobos, California in 1936.  It is signed Henry O. Fairbairn in pencil below the photo.  [I have spelled the last name according to what I can make out from the pencilled signature.]

The photo I have was taken from the cliffs above the wreck, probably from the famous Cliff House Restaurant, which is still in business in S.F.  The ship is on fire, indicating it was recently wrecked and the sun is going down over the Pacific, a very dramatic picture.

Do you know anything about Henry O Fairbairn as a photographer?  Did he end up his career in San Francisco?  I remember reading previously about a Fairbairn who was from Scotland and came to the U.S. and to San Francisco.

I believe this is a different person from the Edinburgh photographer, Henry Fairbairn listed on the EdinPhoto web site.  He would probably have been too old to have taken the picture.

Pam Harper, Seattle, Washington, USA,  24 July 2005



Thank you to Alison Halley for sending the following details.

 Alison writes:

Henry Fairbairn

Just to let you know that this Henry belongs to the line of a friend of mine.

Henry was born in 1833 in East Calder, the son of Thomas Fairbairn and Catherine Angus. (Thomas was the son of John Fairbairn and Elizabeth Yule.)

He married Sarah Lindsay McMinn Sharpe in Edinburgh in 1854.  In 1855, when his son Henry was born, he was a Bookseller at 8 Lindsay Place.

In 1856, when his daughter Catherine Jane was born, he was a Master Photographer at 7 Henry Street.

In 1858, when his daughter died, and in 1859, when his second son Francis George was born, he was a Stationer at 4 West Adam Street. 

He died on 15th March 1906 in Edinburgh.

Alison Halley.    16 September 2005.


Thank you to  Sanna Gaffney  for giving me the following  details.

Sanna writes:

Henry Fairbairn

1.  Henry Fairbairn was born in Kirknewton, Scotland, 1834
 Kirknewton is close to East Calder.  See 1881 census above.

2.  He was son of Thomas Fairbairn and Catherine Angus.

3.  He was grandson of John Fairbairn and Elizabeth Yule.

4.  He married Sarah Lindsay McMinn Sharpe in 1854.

5.  He was Bookseller & Artist.

6.  He died 15 March 1906 in Edinburgh.

Sanna Gaffney, Boone Watauga Co., North Carolina, USA.   16-19 Sep 2005

Sanna Gaffney's mother was Marjory Fairbairn, b.1891.

Marjory Fairbairn's parents are J K Fairbairn, b.1841, and his second wife

J K Fairbairn's father was John Fairbairn




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