William Hope was born in Crewe, England in 1863 and worked as a carpenter for most of his life.
In 1905, he believed that he captured an image of a ghost while photographing a friend, and became interested in spirit photography.
Hope founded a group of spirit photographers known as the Crewe Circle. Following the devastation of World War I, grieving families began coming to the circle, looking for a way to contact their lost loved ones. Hope would often ask an individual for a photo of the departed to aid communication with the spirit realm before asking that they sit for a portrait.