Ernest Warrillow


Warrilow, Ernest (1910 - 2000) historian, journalist, author.

When Ernest Warrillow took a picture, he usually had posterity in mind.
Indeed, the archives of Keele University already house the collected works of this master lensman, thus ensuring that his snapshots of 20th-century Potteries life will survive well into the new millennium.

Ernest, who died on January 12 2000, a few days short of his 91st birthday, also wrote several history books which on their own would have given him an honoured place among distinguished natives of North Staffordshire.
His monumental work, A Sociological History of Stoke-on-Trent, is the most exhaustive record of the development of the area to be written. As a historian, he painted another kind of lasting portrait.
When I joined the Sentinel in 1949, Ernest was already among the paper's veteran cameramen. It was hard to imagine anyone who looked less like a newspaperman than this quietly-spoken, gnome-like person.

However, it was sharing his company on assignments which first fired my own interest in local history. I also learned a lot from him about the gentle art of handling people.
We travelled to jobs in Ernest's beautifully-preserved Wolseley Hornet vintage two-seater car, which he often contrived to include in his pictures as a form of signature.
Happily, this many-sided artist was honoured with an MBE and an honorary MA from Keele. His legacy to the area, both in pictures and words, is something to be cherished.

JOHN ABBERLEY recalls the master lensman who gave him his interest in history, ERNEST WARRILLOW

PICTURED (left to right): a masterpiece in a cobbled back alley off Scotia Road, Burslem, in 1960; sunlight and shadow in Ernest's beautifully-composed picture at Shirley's Bone Mill, Etruria; like his Victorian predecessor Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, Ernest Warrillow used his own family in his pictures. Here the children provide an animated presence on the canalside with the photographer's beloved Shelton Bar in the background

Source: Sentinel Newspaper 26/01/00