Manitoba Photographers: James Penrose (1845-1918)
Born in England, Penrose came to Manitoba in 1871 and settled on a farm in the Springfield district. He soon abandoned his agricultural plans, however, and instead opened a photographic gallery in Winnipeg. In early 1873, he travelled to Portage la Prairie to take photographs there:
He returned to Portage later in the fall, and may have opened a branch studio in a building belonging to J. J. Setter.
In 1874, he stood for election as an Alderman for the West Ward on the Winnipeg City Council, coming in dead last. He was subsequently elected at the civic election in December 1885 and served until 1887. He also dabbled in livestock, offering for sale “Good working oxen. Also milch cows and steers.”  as well as farm land.  His livestock interests apparently took an increasing amount of time, so he took on Harry Bowles as a partner in 1879, then sold out to him in 1880. Penrose did not work as a photographer after this point, but his studio continued as operate for a time despite Bowles’ sudden departure from Winnipeg in mid-1880.
He and wife Marion Munroe (1861-1934), daughter of Robert Munroe, had nine children: Frances Fraser Penrose (1884-?), Ethel Penrose (1886-?), Charles Bowles Penrose (1888-?), Annie Lorraine Penrose (1889-?), Robert Munroe Penrose (1891-?), James Alexander Penrose, Eliza Penrose (1895-?), Barbara Georgina Penrose (1900-?), and Helen Mae Penrose (1903-?). The family lived at 232 Bell Avenue.
After a long career as a livestock dealer and liquor inspector, Penrose died at his Winnipeg home, 232 Bell Avenue, on 16 January 1918. He is commemorated by Penrose Place in Winnipeg.
1. Manitoba Free Press, 8 March 1873, page 8.
2. Manitoba Free Press, 22 May 1878, page 4.
3. Winnipeg Times, 15 May 1879, page 1.
Birth and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
“James Penrose died yesterday,” Manitoba Free Press, 17 January 1918.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 27 April 2020