NAME: Uren, John Batrel.
VARIANT: Wren, John Urin, John.
LIFE DATES: 1841 05 07-1919 02 26
BIRTHPLACE: Cornwall?, England, UK.
PLACE OF DEATH: Renton, King County, WA.
WHERE ACTIVE: Victoria; Barkerville; Nanaimo; Wellington; New Westminster; Vancouver?; Chilliwack; Ashcroft.
BUSINESS ADDRESS/YEAR: Government St., next door to Theatre Photographic Gallery (Victoria)/1874 04-10?; Barkerville/1875 07-08; Nanaimo/1877; Government St., W. side near View St./1878 06-1879 02; near Columbia St. (New Westminster)/1879 02-1881; Front St. (New Westminster)/1882 08-1883; Columbia St./1884?-1889; Cordova St. (Vancouver)/1886 05 24-06 13; Victoria Cres. (Nanaimo)/1890-1894?; Wellington/1894-1898; Chilliwack/1898-1900; Ashcroft/1898?.
HOME ADDRESS/YEAR: Superior St. (Victoria)/1874.
WORK INTERVAL: 1874-1901+.
BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY: According to the 1901 Census of Canada, he immigrated to Canada in 1855. His father's name is given as William on his Washington State death certificate. A search of the FreeBMD database indicates that many Urens originated in Cornwall. The first mention of Uren's British Columbia photographic career was his purchase or lease of Shakespeare's photographic gallery next door to the Theatre Photographic Gallery in April 1874. Uren is not the John " Wren" listed in the Nanaimo directory of 1874. He appears to have abandoned the former Shakespeare studio in October 1874 the Colonist for October 13, 1874 reported seeing his photos of the Cache Creek Boarding School.
The following year Uren was in Barkerville taking photographs for a couple of weeks. He opened a studio in October 1876 in Nanaimo and by June 1878 he had returned to Victoria and purchased the Victoria Theatre Photographic Gallery from Shakespeare.
Moving to New Westminster in February 1879 he opened a studio there at " the corner of the streets leading to the Drill Shed, a few doors from Columbia St." The following year he invented a reversible camera back for producing multiple images in one sitting.
He purchased a saloon in New Westminster in 1881 but was back at photography the next year at a new location on Front St. next to Mrs. Eckstein's. By 1885 he had moved to Columbia St. and may have established himself in partnership with W.T. Milross in Vancouver in May 1886.
He had moved to Nanaimo by 1890 and was listed as a photographer in Wellington in the mid to late 1890s. By 1898 he was working as a photographer in Chilliwack and advertised himself as "Messrs. J. Uren and H. Burge, photographers", with Burge being the finisher (Chilliwack Progress, 01 Jun 1898, ad). According to information from the Chilliwack Museum & Archives, he worked briefly in Ashcraft and had returned to Chilliwack by March 1899.
Although John Uren was a prolific photographer who took many portraits and landscape views, no large caches of his photographs appear to have survived in public archives.
John Uren died aged 77 and is buried in Greenwood Memorial Park, Renton, Washington (section F, lot 326, block 48, grave 1). At the time of the 1901 census enumeration he was shown as single, an Anglican (Church of England), and a lodger in Chilliwack. He may have been married at one point. The BC Archives holds a photograph (call number I-66320) identified as Mr. and Mrs. John Uren. A staff member annotated the photocopy of the portrait, taken at an unidentified studio at an unknown date but of a cabinet card size, to indicate that the couple had a daughter named Emma Malvina/Malvetta Uren, who married Mark Sweeton Wade in Clinton on March 10, 1886. She died in Kamloops on November 22, 1945. Emma M. Uren, however, was the daughter of James and Malvana or Malvena Uren. They, however, had a son named James Bottrell, and since his middle sounds like Batrel, John Uren's middle name as it was spelled in the 1877-78 Hibbens directory, John and James Uren were likely brothers and their histories confused. James Uren never worked as a photographer. One of the puzzles that emerged out of research conducted in March 2004 into John B. Uren's life is a James, John, and William Uren immigrated to Adelaide, Australia, in 1847 on the Trafalgar (Ancestry.com Message Board, submitter: Judy, Subject: Re: Mulvihill Galway). A John Uren, born ca. 1843 in England, was also married in Adelaide on April 22, 1867 to Emma Jane Matthews, born about 1849 in England (IGI Individual Record for John Uren and Emma Jane Matthews, FamilySearch.org). The marriage, however, is 12 years after John B. Uren's purported arrival in Canada.
COLLECTIONS: BNCM; BVAA; BVIPA.
IDENTIFYING MARKS: "Photograph by John Uren, Front Street, New Westminster, B.C." on verso of print; "J. Uren, Photographer, New Westminster, B.C." on verso of carte-de-visite; "J Uren, photographer, B.C." (reported by Chilliwack Museum & Archives, 06 Sep 1991).
REFERENCES: MAL71; MAL74; HIB77; WIL82; WIL85; MAL87; WIL89; HEN90; WIL94; WIL95; HEN97; WIL97; HEN98; Voters List, 1874, 1894 (Victoria), 1900 (Chilliwack); Colonist, 1874 04 30/3; 1874 06 09/2; 1874 10 13/3, 1878 06 05/3; Cariboo Sentinel, 1875 07 31/2 & 3, 1875 08 07/3; Nanaimo Free Press, 1876 10 18/3; Mainland Guardian, 1879 02 08/2 & 3, 1880 06 16/3, 1881 03 16/2, 1881 09 17/4, 1881 09 21/4, 1882 08 26/3, Columbian, 1882 08 23/3; Chilliwack Progress, 01 Jun 1898, ad; 01 Mar 1899 (return from Ashcroft); BC Archives photograph HP007401 (I-66320 Mr. and Mrs. John Uren this photo could also be James and Malvana Uren); BC Archives photograph HP056211 (C-08404 Kamloops Museum & Archives 4369; Emma Malvina Wade, center she was James', not John's daughter); BC Archives Marriage Registration 1886-09-175388 (microfilm B11387; Mark Sweeton Wade and Emma Malvetta Uren); Census of Canada, 1901, Schedule 1, New Westminster District, Chilliwack Sub-district, Sub-district number a-6, Chilliwack Municipality, Wards III and IV, page 1, line 41 (digital facsimile, Library and Archives Canada, ArchiviaNet database); Renton Bulletin, 1919 02 28/3, 1919 04 25/2; Washington State Board of Health, Certificate of Death, record no. 96, registered no. 25, John Uren; BC Archives Death Registration 1945-09-671433 (microfilm B13189; Emma Malvina Wade); BVIPA Visual Records Photographer File.