Edmund George Ballard was born in Marylebone (London) in 1863, to George Ballard and his wife Mary Elizabeth. George had been born in 1824 at South Bersted in Sussex, and in 1841 he had already left home to join the staff at Bersted Lodge. By 1851 he had moved to London, where he worked as a Footman for the Duke of Somerset at Somerset House in Park Lane. He was apparently already married to Mary Elizabeth - who was born at Ryde on the Isle of Wight about 1830 - but she was not with him during the census and there is no evidence that they had any children by that time.
By 1871 the family were living at 10 Crawford Street in Marylebone, but George was then out of work. That census also records the couple’s children: Robert (1855), Frank William (1861), Edmund George (1863) and Sophia Maud (c1866). Ada Elizabeth joined the family later in 1871. In 1881 the family were at the same address, with George listed as an unemployed Waiter, Frank as a Hotel Porter, Edmund as a Photographic Assistant and Sophia as a Dressmaker’s Apprentice. Robert had already left home and Ada was still in school. By 1891 Edmund had moved to Chepstow in Monmouthshire along with the two sisters. George had fallen on hard times, being recorded as an inmate at the Marylebone Workhouse after Mary had died.
The reason for the children’s move to Chepstow is not known, but this may have followed the death of their mother in 1884. The 1891 census records Edmund as a Photographer living at 29 Welsh Street, while the sisters were both Dressmakers living nearby at no. 25. Edmund had married in the months before that census, to Ada Phoebe Sargent, the daughter of a successful merchant family from Chepstow. One of Ada’s older sisters was Mary Ellen Sargent, who married Joseph Child and this couple’s youngest daughter was Amy Child, Helen Kegie’s mother.
In 1901 the Ballards were living at 28a Welsh Street with their daughters Phyllis Maud (1892) and Mary Frances (1900). By 1911 they had moved to Riverside in Chepstow and Edmund still lived there at his death on 27 October 1924. His probate granted £866 12s 3d to Ada, who survived him until her own death on 29 April 1956, when she was living at Brockweir, 3 Seymour Road, East Molesey, Surrey.
Edmund was a Photographer all of his working life. Trade directories record him working at 27b Welsh Street in 1895 and 1901, but at 10a Welsh Street in 1907, where he ran the Chepstow Photographic Studio in conjunction with the chemist Thomas Tame. His portfolio included high-quality portraiture and group studies, special events, as well as landscape work and records of historical monuments produced for open sale. As a relative of the Child family, he produced a collection of the family portraits over many years, a number of which survive in the Helen Kegie Collection, together with a set of topographical views of Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire, produced for commercial use.