CRAIG, Florence Eugenie

Florence Eugenie Craig
born circa 1871 - died 23 January 1946 aged 75 years

also see - Jubilee Studio

above - an unknown family photographed by Florence Craig

Florence Eugenie (or Eugene) Craig nee Preece was perhaps Christchurch’s first professional women photographer with a studio of her own. She was born in Birmingham, England about 1871 (1) the daughter of John Preece (2) a tailor and Emma Palmer or Pugh. The 1871 census shows the family at 89 Pershore Street, Birmingham, they arrived in New Zealand about 1874 or 1881.

The 1871 census.

Her engagement to William Alfred Craig was announced in the Observer on 22 October 1892:  

The engagement is announced of Mr A. W. Craig, (sic) of Auckland, to Miss Preece, of Christchurch. 
Observer, Volume XI, Issue 721, 22 October 1892, Page 6


The marriage was announced in the Observer on Saturday, 13 January 1894: 
The marriage of Mr W. A. Craig, younger brother of Mr J. J. Craig, and Miss Florence E. Preece, of Christchurch, was solemnized on the afternoon of Thursday last (11 January 1894) at the Pitt Street Wesleyan Church. A large number of interested friends were present to witness the ceremony, which was performed by the Rev. Mr Prior. The bride who had only arrived a few days previously from Christchurch, looked exceedingly nice in a very tasteful trained gown of fine crème cashmere finished with lace and sprays of orange blossoms. Her costume was completed with a small wreath of orange blossoms, from which fell a beautifully embroidered tulle veil and carried a lovely bouquet. She was given away by Captain Owles, of Christchurch, an old friend of the family, who was visiting Auckland on business.

The bridesmaids, four in number, were Miss E. Craig (first) and three tiny maidens. Misses Hilda Craig, Mr J. J. Craig's little daughter, Louie Bosser and Rita Moritzen. Miss Craig wore a simple and pretty dress of white muslin, the frills edged with fine lace, flowers in her hair and carried a handsome bouquet. The three little girls were daintily attired alike in pretty frocks of pale blue crepon, and large picture hats of drawn silk and chiffon lace, and each carried a pretty basket of flowers. Mr E. Craig attended his brother as best man. At the close of the ceremony the bridal party drove to the residence of Mrs Joseph Craig, mother of the bridegroom, where they were entertained at a sumptuous wedding breakfast, and in the evening a very enjoyable party was given in honour of the event.

Amongst the guests at the church, I noticed Mrs Joseph Craig in a rich black moire antique gown, and pretty black bonnet relieved with pink. Mrs J. J. Craig looked handsome in a gown of black silk figured grenadine and black satin, stylish brown chiffon hat, trimmed with a cluster of creamy roses, and large butterfly of cream lace. Mrs (Capt.) Campbell, black silk gown, black bonnet relieved with yellow; Miss Sarah Campbell, dainty all white costume; Miss Nessie Craig, pretty dress of crushed strawberry flowered pongee silk, trimmed with crème lace, hat to correspond; Mrs Moritzen, handsome grey silk gown, grey hat; Miss Rowe, pretty grey and black costume; Mrs Kosser, tasteful navy blue figured costume, grey hat; Miss Cattran, grey gown, pretty silver belt, crème hat with feathers; Miss Cross, stylish fawn costume trimmed with lace, crème hat, and others who were unknown.


Florence Craig returned to Christchurch soon afterwards. The 1896 electoral roll shows her as Florence Eugene Preece at 33 Kilmore Street, the home of father John Preece a tailor. Three years later in 1899 she is at the same address but shown under her married name of Craig. Her occupation is shown as an artist.

Star, Issue 6829, 23 June 1900, Page 5


Wises Directory shows her as a photographer in their yearly directories between 1901 and 1904:1901- Craig F. E. Mrs., Colombo & Gloucester Streets, Christchurch
1902 - Craig F. E. Mrs., Colombo Street, Christchurch
1903 - Craig F. E. Mrs., Colombo Street, Christchurch
1904 - Craig Mrs. F. E., Colombo Street, Christchurch

In 1905 she is still residing at 33 Kilmore Street and her occupation is still an artist.


JUBILEE Studio Coupons. - All Coupons of the late firm have been taken over from this date by G. E. A. Burrell, Photographer, and can be used at his studio, 158, Chester Street west, between Durham Street and Cranmer Square. Appointments should be made.  
The Star, Issue 8266, 15 March 1905, Page 3

In 1908 she is shown as “married”. In June 1908 her husband divorced her on the grounds of desertion, the Evening Post stated: 
AUCKLAND, 2nd June.
At the Divorce Court William Alfred Craig petitioned for a dissolution of his marriage with Florence Eugene Craig on grounds of desertion. Petitioner said he was married at Auckland on 10th January, 1904 (sic). After six weeks respondent was taken ill and her doctor advised her to take a trip, and she went to her mother in Christchurch. She had since refused to live with him again, saying that where she was she had a good home and every comfort. A decree nisi was granted, to be made absolute in three months. 

Evening Post, Volume LXXV, Issue 131, 3 June 1908, Page 4

In 1914 she is shown at 254 Kilmore Street. She was a nurse in the early 1920’s and lived at 10-12 Dawson Street and later at 34 Averill Street. Her father died at Averill Street in 1930. She died on 23 January 1946 aged 75 years and was buried with her father in Bromley Cemetery (block 31 plot 248). Her former husband died in 1948 aged 80 years.

John Preece
Mr John Preece. One of the well-known figures of Christchurch, Mr John Preece, died at the age of 84 years at his residence, "Atauloma," 34 Averill Street, Shirley, on Monday.

Mr Preece, who was born in the "Black Country," came out to the Dominion from England 56 years ago, in the ship Celestial Queen [about 1874], and was until twenty years ago in business in High Street as a merchant tailor. He learned his trade in England, and before coming to New Zealand had already spent two years at his trade in America.

Mr Preece was well known in cricketing circles, and was for some time a member of the Veterans Cricket Club. He was also later interested in the Worcester street Bowling Club.

Mr Preece married before coming to the Dominion, but Mrs Preece predeceased her husband by some thirty years. He is survived by four daughters and three sons out of a family of sixteen, these being Mrs H. Beauchamp, of Anakiwa, Picton; Mrs F. E. Craig of Shirlev; Mrs A. Farmer, of Sydney; Mrs H. Jamieson, of Wellington; Mr A. Preece of Sydney; Mr C. H. Preece of Chatham Islands, and Mr H. Preece of St. Albans, and also a number of grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Press, Volume LXVI, Issue 19851, 12 February 1930

Emma Preece died on board the ship "Waihora" on voyge to Sydney about May 1897 aged 49 years.

Star, Issue 5863, 4 May 1897

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