Charles McKean

Portobello Photographer



The McKean Family

John and Charles McKean

Is it likely that Charles McKean and John McKean were related? *

This question is answered in 'Para 3. UPDATE 1' below.  John was the father of Charles.

- Peter Stubbs:  August 17, 2007

Update 1

John and Charles McKean

I have looked again at the Edinburgh & Leith Post Office Directories and the Portobello directories.  I have found that:

-  Between 1882 and 1900, John McKean's address was often given as Junction Bridge Studio, 1,3 Ferry Road, Leith, though many variations were used, both in the trade directories and on the back of his photographs.

-  Between 1900 and 1903, John McKean appears to have moved a short distance along Ferry Road to No 15, and to have opened a studio at 47 Promenade, Portobello.

- John McKean's home address, as listed in the trade directories, changed in 1899 from 6a Summerside Street (close to his Ferry Road studio) to Straiton Lodge, Wellington Street (close to his Portobello studio).

-  Charles McKean does not appear to be listed in the trade directories (at least for those that I've checked - up to 1903).  However, the address on his cabinet print is given as Promenade Studio, Portobello.

This would seem to lend some weight to the idea that John and Charles McKean may have been related to each other.

The Promenade

Incidentally, Portobello Promenade is first listed in the Portobello directory in 1900.  Perhaps that is when houses, photographic studios, etc. first began to appear on the promenade.

- Peter Stubbs:  August 18, 2007

Update 2

Thank you to Archie Foley, Joppa, Edinburgh who wrote:

The Promenade

"Sections of the promenade were built at different times had different names.  Houses and other buildings as can be seen on the 1894 Ordnance Survey map.

The promenade was named Royal Terrace from around Bath Street to the Pier, then Prince of Wales Terrace and then Victoria Terrace."

- Archie Foley:  August 18, 2007

Update 3

McKean Brothers  -  Musselburgh

Thank you:

-  to Michael Wilson, Dollar, Clackmannanshire, Scotland, for sending me a copy of a photo by McKean Brothers, Esk Side Studio, Musselburgh. 1

-  to Jo-Ann Craig, Meaford, Ontario, Canada, for sending me a copy of a cabinet print of a fishwife by McKean Brothers, Esk Side Studio, Musselburgh.

In fact McKean Brothers had a studio at 2 Eskside South, Musselburgh 1 from 1907 until at least 1914. 2

It has already been established that Charles was the son of John McKean. 3 (but perhaps there might have been more than one Charles and/or John in the family).

Did John, perhaps, have another son who went into partnership with Charles, or were the McKean Brothers of Musselburgh completely different photographers?

Acknowledgements:  Michael Wilson, Dollar, Clackmannanshire, Scotland:  March 7, 2009
and Jo-Ann Craig, Meaford, Ontario, Canada:  January 13, 2010



1  Musselburgh lies about seven miles to the east of the centre of Edinburgh, and about 3 miles SE of Portobello where both John and Charles McKean had photographic studios.

2  Source:  'Photographers in Edinburgh and The Lothians to 1914', D Richard Torrance.

3  See 'Para 3. UPDATE 1' below.



Cabinet Prints

John and Charles McKean

I have seen many cabinet prints by John McKean, but just three by Charles McKean.  Here they are.  Please click on them to enlarge them.

Cabinet Print by Charles McKean, Portobello  -  2 ladies         Cabinet Print by Charles McKean, Portobello  -  3 ladies         Cabinet print by Charles McKean, Portobello  -  cyclist

The style of the mounting of the Charles McKean cabinet print looks to me as if it may have been produced around 1900.

Charles McKean  -  When?

In his booklet 'Photographers in Edinburgh and The Lothians to 1914', D Richard Torrance gives studio dates of 'c.1872-86' for Charles McKean's Promenade Studio at Portobello.  I don't know the source of the dates that Richard quotes, but these dates seem rather earlier than the style of the two photos above suggest.

Also, 'Promenade Studio - UPDATE 1' below refers to Charles McKean being the son of John McKean.  John McKean appears in the trade directories as being a professional photographer from 1882 until 1903.  It would be usual for son to follow father as being a professional phtographer, rather than vice versa.

Thank you to Archie Foley and to Margaret Munro, both of Portobello, for telling me about the Charles McKean cabinet print.

Thank you also to Isabel l Dominy for sending me (on February 11, 2008) a photograph of another cabinet print by Charles McKean.



Promenade Studio

Studio Addresses

The Charles McKean cabinet prints above have the address:

Charles McKean, Promenade Studio, Portobello.

I don't know the number of Charles McKean's studio on the promenade, but in the early 1900s, there were several photographic studios on Portobello Promenade, at nos. 24, 25a, 26, 26a, 29 and 47, the last of these being John McKean's studio, 1900-03).


Thank you to Isabel Dominy, Reading, Berkshire for letting me know that Charles McKean was, in fact, the son of John McKean  [1901 census].  So, it seems likely that Charles McKean's studio address would have been 47 Promenade, Portobello.


Thank you to Archie Foley who wrote:

"George Baird's book 'Places of Entertainment in Edinburgh' (Portobello) has the following entry:


1908-09 Portobello Street Directory

Evan's Showground

No. 47 Promenade, Next Victoria Terrace

This places the studio at the foot of present day Marlborough Street.

I recently saw a picture postcard showing a large banner advertisement for the Promenade Studio on that very site."

Archie Foley, Portobello, Edinburgh:  February 15, 2008.



EPS Exhibitions

Charles McKean may have been the same photographer as the Edinburgh Photographic Society member, Charles McKean, who was awarded an Honorary Mention in the EPS Members' Section of the EPS Open Exhibition in 1905 for his photograph titled "Snow Scene".


John McKean

   Junction Bridge  - The corner of Great Junction Street and Ferry Road


Cabinet Prints

Views around Edinburgh

Photo of Newhaven Choir

Photo of New Lane, Newhaven

Photographs in Collections


Photographer      Census     EPS      Studios

Make your own plates      Cabinet Print advert


Charles McKean