Bexhill Photographers (A-B)

Click here to return to Home Page

Professional Photographers in Bexhill ( A - B )

Alice Armstrong - Balk & Brown - Leon Balk - Bodom and Hawley - Hjalmar Bodom - Bridgman & Robbins - Otto Brown

 

Alice ARMSTRONG (born 1876, Dovenby, Cumbria )

[ABOVE] Portrait of a girl in fancy dress, photographed by Miss Alice Armstrong of 32 Eversley Road,  Bexhill (c1915).

 

[ABOVE] A map of Bexhill-on-Sea showing the location of Miss Alice Armstrong's studio at 32 Eversley Road (marked in red). Bexhill Railway Station is marked by a purple square.
Alice Armstrong was born in Dovenby, Cumberland (Cumbria) in 1876, the daughter of Betsy Graham and Tyler Walter Armstrong, a land steward for the Dykes family of Dovenby Hall. [Birth of Alice Armstrong was registered in the Cockermouth district of Cumberland during Third Quarter of 1876].  Tyler Walter Armstrong, Alice's father, was born in Penrith, Cumberland in 1842, the son of John and Agnes Armstrong. Tyler Armstrong married Betsy Graham (born c1849, Hesket-in-the-Forest, Cumberland) at Penrith during the Second Quarter of 1873. The couple had at least seven children, all of whom were born at Dovenby - Annie (born 1874), Emily (born 1875), Alice (born 1876), Arthur Graham (born1876), Louisa (born 1880), Colvin Tyler (born 1882) and Winifred (born 1885).

Tyler Armstrong, Alice's father, died in 1885 at the age of 43. His widow, Mrs Betsy Armstrong, took her family to Keswick in the Lake District, where she let out apartments to tourists and holidaymakers. between 1891 and 1897 at Leaming House, The Head, Keswick, According to her own publicity, Mrs Betsy Armstrong offered "first class accommodation" and "splendid lake & mountain scenery" to her customers at Leaming House.

When the 1901 census was taken, Mrs Betsy Armstrong and five of her children were residing in Clapham, London. According to the census return,Colvin Tyler Armstrong, aged 19, was working as an "Architect" and twenty-two year old Arthur Graham Armstrong was studying Chemistry. Mrs Armstrong is described as "Living on Means", but two of her two daughters were in employment. Annie Armstrong, the eldest daughter, gives her occupation as "Merchant's Clerk". Alice Armstrong is entered on the 1901 census return as a "Photographer", aged 24.

By 1911, Mrs Betsy Armstrong had moved to Bexhill and was letting out apartments to holidaymakers at 32 Eversley Road, Bexhill. It was from this address that Miss Alice Armstrong ran her photography business during the First World War. Miss Alice Armstrong is listed as a photographer at 32 Eversley Road, Bexhill in the editions of Kelly's Sussex Directory published in 1915 and 1918.

[ABOVE] Portrait of John Hemery , photographed by Miss Alice Armstrong of 32 Eversley Road,  Bexhill (c1914). John Hemery, who was born in South America at Georgetown, British Guiana, on 2nd September 1910. John was the son of Percy Emery (1851-1935), a British civil servant who was based in British Guiana for most of his working career. Percy Hemery returned to England with his wife and children in October 1910 and settled in Bexhill-on-Sea. In adult life, John Hemery emigrated to the United States where he started a new life in California. John Hemery died at Luna, New Mexico on 7th February 2000, at the age of 89.

   
[ABOVE] Details of photographer Miss Alice Armstrong of 32 Eversley Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, printed on the reverse of a picture postcard dated 9th January 1918.
 

[ABOVE] The reverse of the postcard portrait of Bishop Frederick Offen, produced by Bexhill photographer Miss Alice Armstrong in January 1918.

Bishop Frederick Offen photographed by Alice Armstrong (1918)

[ABOVE] A postcard portrait of Bishop Frederick Offen (1897-1976), photographed by Bexhill photographer Miss Alice Armstrong in 1918. Bishop Offen joined the Royal Navy in 1915 and served on board HMS Zinnia, a support vessel which saw action in the Irish Sea off the coast of West Cork during the First World War. A keen amateur photographer, Bishop Offen recorded some dramatic scenes with his camera while serving on HMS Zinnia.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Offen

 

   

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Richard Hemery for providing the portrait of John Hemery by Miss Alice Armstrong. John Hemery was Richard Hemery's uncle. Thanks to Mark Offen of Cape Town, South Africa for providing the postcard portrait of Bishop Frederick Offen by Miss Alice Armstrong. Mark Offen is the grandson of Bishop Frederick Offen.
 

BALK & BROWN  Photographic firm with studios in Eastbourne and Bexhill between 1905 and 1906

Leon BALK (born 1878, Taurage, Lithuania) Photographer with studios in Eastbourne and Bexhill between 1903 and 1915

Leon Balk was born in 1878 in Taurage (Tavrig), a town in the western part of Lithuania. At the time of Leon's birth, this part of Lithuania was under the control of Russia. There was a flourishing Jewish community in Taurage and at the end of the 19th century, over 50% of the inhabitants of Taurage were Jews. However, in the late 19th century, there was a tide of emigration from Lithuania.  During the period 1899 -1903, over 52,000 Lithuanians emigrated to the United States. Large numbers of Lithuanian Jews sailed for South Africa, but a considerable number arrived in England and Scotland. Young men had fled Lithuania to avoid being conscripted into the Russian Army. Others were seeking a better life in Britain. Many of the Lithuanian Jews left their homes in Taurage to escape persecution from the Russian authorities and the growing anti-Semitic violence. Leon Balk appears to have left Lithuania as a young man and probably arrived in London after 1901.

Leon Balk settled in Eastbourne, Sussex around 1903. In an Eastbourne directory of 1904, Leon Balk is listed as a photographer at 114 Langney Road, Eastbourne. By 1905, Leon Balk was operating a photographic studio at 116 Langney Road, Eastbourne. Around this time, Leon Balk entered into partnership with Otto Brown ( born 1883, Long Sutton, Somerset ), a young artist who had previously worked as a photographer in Hampshire. The firm of Balk & Brown operated a photographic studio at 69 Devonshire Road, Bexhill-on-Sea. It appears that Otto Brown was based at the Bexhill studio in Devonshire Road, while Leon Balk stayed in Eastbourne.

Leon Balk  was living still living at 116 Langney Road, Eastbourne when, in August 1906, he became a Naturalised British Citizen (Jewish Chronicle, 7th September 1906, page 34). Although he was a Jew from Lithuania, Balk's place of origin is given as Russia in the published list of Naturalisations.

Around 1906, Otto Brown left Bexhill-on-Sea and established his own studio in Worthing at 2 Chapel Road. After Brown's departure, Leon Balk took over the Bexhill studio and remained in business at 69a Devonshire Road until 1915

[ABOVE] A portrait of Leon Balk, a photographer in Eastbourne and Bexhill during Edwardian times

PHOTO: Courtesy of Martin Balk

 

Examples of the Photographic Work of Leon Balk of Bexhill  (1907 to 1915 )

 

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Leon Balk, Photographer & Artist of Devonshire Road, Bexhill-on-Sea (c1910).

 

[ABOVE] The reverse of a picture postcard produced by Leon Balk of Devonshire Road, Bexhill-on-Sea (c1910)

[ABOVE] Portrait of three women with a baby, photographed by Leon Balk of Devonshire Road, Bexhill-on-Sea. Post Card Format Photograph (c1910).

 

Acknowledgements

Portrait of Leon Balk - Courtesy of Martin Balk, a grandson of Leon Balk. Details of Leon Balk's naturalisation taken from "Naturalisations published in the Jewish Chronicle between 1902 and 1906" extracted by Ian Melville and featured on the British-Jewry List website. Thank you Ian.
 

BODOM &  HAWLEY

   
 Hjalmar BODOM (born c1866, Norway)  
Hjalmar Axel Bodom was born in Norway around 1866. By the late 1890s, Hjalmar Bodom was living in the English county of Kent. Towards the end of 1898, Hjalmar Bodom married Clara Alice Elizabeth Forster (born 1865, Isle of Sheppey, Sheerness, Kent) in the Medway district of Kent. Clara Forster, Hjalmar Bodom's wife, was the daughter of Susan Elizabeth Kimber (born c1841, Sheppey) and Archibald Thomas Victor Forster (born c1841, Gravesend, Kent), an Engineer Officer in the Royal Navy.

Shortly after their marriage, Clara and Hjalmar Bodom were residing in Tunbridge Wells, where their daughter Marguerite Catherine Bodom was born during the Fourth Quarter of 1899. When the 1901 census was taken, Hjalmar Bodom was living in Tonbridge, Kent with his wife Clara and their young daughter Greta (Marguerite).  Hjalmar Bodom is described on the census return as an "Artist Photographer", aged 35. A 1903 street directory records Hjalmar A. Bodom at 30 Pembury Road, Tonbridge, Kent, but it appears that he moved to Bexhill-on-Sea in Sussex in the same year. Around April 1903, Hjalmar Bodom entered into partnership with a photographer named Hawley. [ Two photographers with the surname of Hawley are recorded in the 1901 census - Alfred Hawley (born c1867, New Zealand), a photographer living at Alderley Edge, near Chester, and Christopher Hawley (born c1867, Warwick), a photographer based in Devon].

In 1903, the firm of Bodom & Hawley was operating a photographic studio at 3 Wilton Court, Bexhill. That same year, Hjalmar Bodom is listed in a local street directory at 11 Wickham Avenue, Bexhill. It appears that the partnership between Bodom and Hawley ended around 1904. Hjalmar Bodom's photographic career in Bexhill-on-Sea was brief, lasting only a year or so. Kelly's 1905 Directory of Sussex does not mention either Hjalmar Bodom or Hawley and a photographic studio is not listed either at Wilton Court or Wickham Avenue in Bexhill-on-Sea.

Martin Dragt, who is based in Zeewolde in the Netherlands, has alerted me to the fact that, after 1904, Hjalmar Bodom continued his photographic career in the Far East, operating studios in Singapore, the Malayan island of Penang, and in the city of Bandung on the island of Java. [See the panel below for more details of Hjalmar Bodom's photographic career in South-East Asia].

 

[ABOVE] A modern photograph of 11 Wickham Avenue, Bexhill-on-Sea, where Hjalmar Bodom operated a photographic studio around 1904. (This photograph was taken in 2008 when 11 Wickham Avenue was the site of  The Box Tree, a coffee shop and eating place). By the end of 1904, Hjalmar Bodom had ended his partnership with Mr Hawley and was working independently at his studio in Wickham Avenue.
 

[ABOVE] A newspaper advertisement announcing the opening of Bodom & Hawley's photographic studio at 3 Wilton Court, Bexhill-on-Sea (1903)

 

 

[ABOVE] A photographic portrait of Mabel Mewett taken by Bodom & Hawley of  3 Wilton Court, Bexhill (c1904). Mabel Mary Mewett (born 1900, Ashburnham, Sussex) was the youngest child of Mary and Albion Mewett, a gamekeeper of Ashburnham.

Photograph courtesy of Tim White

 

Hjalmar Bodom's Photographic Career in South-East Asia after 1904

In 1904, shortly after ending his involvement in the Bexhill photographic firm of Bodom & Hawley, the photographer Hjalmar Bodom entered into an agreement with George Michael, proprietor of the photographic company of Wilson and Co., to manage one of the firm's studios at Singapore in South East Asia. Wilson & Co., which had a number outlets in Singapore, was one of the leading photographic firms in the Malaya Peninsula. The firm of Wilson and Co. had established a photographic studio in Barrack Road, Singapore, in the Straits Settlements in the early 1900s and later acquired the studio of G. R. Lambert & Co. at 17b Orchard Road, Singapore. In addition to studio portraits, the firm of Wilson & Co. also produced hundreds of photographic views of Singapore and Malaya in the popular postcard format.

Photographer for Wilson & Co. of Singapore

After arriving in the Straits Settlements (either at the end of 1904 or during the early months of 1905), Hjalmar Bodom became the manager of one of Wilson & Co.'s photographic studios in Singapore. (There is a suggestion that Bodom operated from a photographer's shop at the Hotel de l'Europe on Singapore's Esplanade). Initially, Hjalmar Bodom was required to operate the Wilson & Co. portrait studio for "seven days in the week", but after 4 months he stopped working on Sundays. Bodom's adoption of a six-day working week upset his employer, Mr. George Michael, the proprietor Wilson and Co.'s photographic studios. Mr Michael later complained that "through closing on Sundays, he (Bodom) had lost the custom of several ladies who had gone into a rival firm's studio opposite". Relations between Hjalmar Bodom and his employer became strained, Bodom complaining that Wilson & Co. owed him wages and commission, plus the cost of a sea voyage between Europe and Singapore. The agreement between Hjalmar Bodom and Wilson & Co. came to an end after 4 years. Towards the end of 1908, Hjalmar Bodom set off for Penang, an island off the north-west coast of Malaya, where he established his own photographic studio. Believing he had been badly treated by Wilson & Co., Hjalmar Bodom took legal action against his former employer, putting in a claim for $946.13, representing outstanding wages and unpaid commission, plus the cost of a second-class passage between Singapore and Europe. During his testimony to the court in Singapore, Bodom remarked that, if he left Singapore and returned to Europe, he would have "no difficulty" in finding a situation as a photographer, adding "I can go tomorrow into a business in England where I had been before".

[LEFT] "PHOTOGRAPHERS IN COURT", an article published  in The Straits Times on 10 th March 1909, reporting on Hjalmar Bodom's legal action against his former employer, Mr George Michael, the owner of the photographic company Wilson and Co. of Singapore. Bodom was claiming  unpaid wages and commission, plus the cost of a sea voyage between Singapore and Europe. This 1909 article describes Hjalmar Bodom as "a photographer, now of Penang".

Hjalmar Bodom was unsuccessful in his legal action against his former employer. Under the headline "Failure of Claim Against Owner of Wilson and Co.", The Straits Times reported on 11th March 1909, that Mr Justice Sercombe Smith reached the judgement that Bodom's claim "failed on every point", giving "a verdict for the defendant (Mr George Michael of Wilson and Co.), with costs".

Photographer in Penang, Malaya

In 1908, Hjalmar Bodom had established a photographic portrait studio on Penang, an island situated off the north-west coast of the Malay Peninsula. It is reported that Bodom was the owner of a photographic studio at Northam House, 15 Northam Road, Penang. In addition to studio portrait work, Hjalmar Bodom also took group portraits on location. [ An article in the Singapore Free Press published on 24th December 1913, reported on a "children's Christmas party" held at England House, Penang, the residence of Mr and Mrs Robert Young. The children had been invited to attend the party in "fancy dress". On arrival, the children who wore fancy dress costume, were "grouped for a photograph, taken by Mr Bodom."]. Hjalmar Bodom, like many other European photographers in the region, also produced a large number of picture postcards featuring local views. We know that H. Bodom published a series of postcards under the heading of "Views of Penang Island Straits Settlements" before the end of the First World War.

[LEFT] A view of  Northam Road, Penang, where Hjalmar Bodom worked as a photographer between 1908 and 1919. Photographic views of Penang produced by Hjalmar Bodom during this period are highly prized by collectors of early Malaysian postcards. Records indicate that Hjalmar Bodom was based at the  Northam House Photographic Studio at 15 Northam Road, Penang.

Photographer in Java

By 1920, Hjalmar Bodom had left Penang and had set up a photographic studio in the city of Bandoeng (Bandung) on the Dutch-controlled island of Java. On 9th October 1920, Hjalmar Bodom placed the following notice in The Sydney Morning Herald:

PHOTOGRAPHY - Wanted, for Java, by English firm, first-class RETOUCHER, also good Bromide Printer. Commencing salaries 250 gulden (21) per month. Letters, with full particulars, and specimens of own work, to H. BODOM, Bandoeng, Java.

Hjalmar Bodom was based in the city of Bandoeng (Bandung) for the next 15 years or so. Surrounded by large tea plantations and blessed by a cooler climate, Bandoeng became a particularly popular resort for wealthy European planters and their families. Equipped with high-class hotels, cafes, restaurants, stylish shops, a ballroom and a theatre, Bandoeng attracted rich businessmen and ladies with private incomes searching for luxury goods and entertainment. The Dutch colonial government developed the city during the 1920s and by the early 1930s Bandoeng was known as "Parijs van Java" (The Paris of Java).

[RIGHT] A notice published in The Straits Times on 14th March 1935, advertising the sale of Hjalmar Bodom's photographic studio at  Naripanweg No.3, Bandoeng (Bandung), Java. The advert states that the studio - described as "the old established and well known Photographic Studio of H. Bodom, situated in the lovely town of Bandoeng (Bandung) -  had been put up for sale because the "owner wishes to retire". Born in Norway around 1866, Hjalmar Bodom had been working as a  photographer for over 36 years and would have been approaching his 70th birthday when he announced his intention to retire in 1935.

Hjalmar Bodom presumably ended his photographic career on the island of Java in the mid 1930s. In March 1935, Hjalmar Bodom put up for sale, "for cash", his photographic studio in Bandoeng (Bandung), Java. A newspaper advertisement published on 14th March 1935 stated "the old established and well known Photographic Studio of H. Bodom" had been put up for sale because the "owner wishes to retire". Apparently, Hjalmar Bodom did not make a quick sale as he listed as the proprietor of the "Kunst Atelier" (Art Studio) photographic studio at Naripanweg 3, Bandoeng (Bandung), Java in the Bandoeng Telephone Directory published in January 1936.

 

[ABOVE] The trade plate of H. Bodom, photographer of Penang, Malaya. The photographer Hjalmar Bodom arrived in the Far East in 1904 or 1905 to take up employment in Wilson & Co's studio in Singapore. By 1909, Bodom had moved on to the Malayan island of Penang.
[RIGHT] A map showing the locations of Hjalmar Bodom's photographic studios in  Singapore, Penang and Bandung. After 4 years in Singapore, Bodom established his own studio in Penang. By the 1920s Hjalmar Bodom was working as a photographer in Bandung, Java.

[ABOVE] A map showing the locations of Hjalmar Bodom's photographic studios in South-East Asia. After periods in Singapore and Penang, Bodom eventually settled in the city of Bandung (Bandoeng) on the island of Java.

 

[ABOVE]  A photograph of the Grand Hotel de'l Europe on Singapore's Esplanade photographed before 1914. A newspaper report published in March 1909 indicates that Hjalmar Bodom managed a photographic studio and shop attached to this luxurious hotel for the firm of Wilson and Co. between 1905 and 1908.
Exterior view of Grand Hotel de l'Europe: located along the Esplanad

[ABOVE] An advertisement placed in The Straits Times in 1918 by Hjalmar Bodom, photographic artist of Penang. Bodom was seeking a photographic bromide  printer to work in his Penang studio. (The Straits Times, 26th September, 1918). [ABOVE]  Hjalmar Bodom listed as the owner of a photographic studio at Naripanweg 3, Bandoeng (Bandung), Java, under the heading of "Fotografische Ateliers" in the 1936 edition of the Bandoeng Telephone Directory.
   
[LEFT] A view of a beach on the island of Java, photographed and issued as a picture postcard by Hjalmar Bodom of Bandoeng, Java (c1925).

The photographer Hjalmar Bodom published local views as picture postcards in Penang and later from his studio in Bandoeng (Bandung), Java

 

[ABOVE] A map of the Malay Archipelago in South-East Asia showing the locations of  Hjalmar Bodom's photographic studios in Penang, Malaya and the city of Bandung (Bandoeng) on the island of Java. Hjalmar Bodom was active as a photographer in the British controlled islands of Singapore and Penang. By 1920, Bodom had established a photographic studio in the Dutch East Indies, opening premises in the Dutch controlled city of Bandoeg (Bandung) on the island of Java.
 

 

 

[ABOVE] A picture postcard of a scene in Tanglin Road, Singapore, published Wilson & Co., Photographers, Orchard Road, Singapore. The photographer Hjalmar Bodom was employed by Wilson & Co. of Singapore between 1904 and 1908. [ABOVE] A picture postcard depicting a 'sado' (a horse-drawn taxi) outside the photographic studio of Hjalmar Bodom in Naripanweg, Bandoeng, Java. (c1930). The photographer Hjalmar Bodom operated a studio at Naripanweg No.3, Bandoeng, from around 1920 until 1935.
 

Wedding Groups photographed at the Studio of  H. Bodom in Penang, Malaya

[ABOVE] A large wedding group photograph taken at Hjalmar Bodom's studio in Penang, Malaya (c1912). The owner of the this wedding photograph was probably either the bridesmaid holding the bouquet or the small young woman standing on the far  left, who also appears in the photograph below, seated on the right. The assembled party appear to represent local Malays and European settlers. Penang was a British Colony when this photograph was taken.

Photograph courtesy of Martin Dragt

[ABOVE] A  wedding group photograph taken at Hjalmar Bodom's studio in Penang, Malaya (c1917). The bride in this photograph appears to be the young woman who took the role of chief bridesmaid in the larger wedding group above. The small, serious looking young woman seated on the right also makes an appearance in the larger group above, where she stands in the back row on the extreme left. The photographer, Hjalmar Bodom, used the same painted backdrop for the group portraits taken at his studio in Bandoeng (Bandung), Java during the early 1920s. [See Portrait of Dutch Family in Java, below]

Photograph courtesy of Martin Dragt

[ABOVE] A wedding group photograph, with the photographer's credit  "H. Bodom, Penang" gilt-stamped in the bottom, left-hand corner of the photographic mount (c1912).

[ABOVE] A wedding group photograph, with the photographer's credit  "H. Bodom, Penang" stamped in the bottom, right-hand corner of the grey-coloured mount (c1917).
[ABOVE] The trade plate of Hjalmar Bodom, photographer of Penang which appears stamped in the bottom, left-hand corner of the wedding photograph pictured top left  and top right (c1912). [ABOVE] The trade plate of Hjalmar Bodom, photographer of Penang impressed into the mount of the wedding photograph pictured above and at top left (c1917).

Photographs courtesy of Martin Dragt

 
Studio Portraits by Hjalmar BODOM of Bandoeng, Java held by the NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA (NGA)

The National Gallery of Australia in Canberra holds a number of photographs taken by Hjalmar Bodom at his portrait studio in Bandoeng, Java, during the 1920s and 1930s. The subjects featured in these studio portraits all appear to be members of Dutch families who had settled on the island of Java when it was a colony held by the Netherlands.

To view studio portraits by Hjalmar Bodom of Bandoeng (Banung), Java, click on the pictures on the right or search at the link below:

NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA

 

Acknowledgements

I am indebted to Martin Dragt of Zeewolde in the Netherlands, who supplied information about Hjalmar Bodom's photographic career in South East Asia and provided the two studio photographs taken by H. Bodom of Penang.  I am grateful to Tim White for allowing me to use Bodom & Hawley's outdoor portrait of young Mabel Mewett, photographed in the grounds of Mabel Mewett's home. Tim White is the grandson of Mabel Mary Mewett (born 1900, Ashburnham, Sussex).
 
Tim White features a selection of old family photographs, relating to the Morgan/White/ Mewett families of Battle and Ashburnham, on his own website Battle-Abbey.co.uk. Tim White's family photographs can be viewed by clicking on the following link:
Battle-Abbey.co.uk
 

BRIDGMAN & ROBBINS

John R. BRIDGMAN

 
[ABOVE] Portrait of Percy Hemery by Bridgman & Robbins of 2 Marina Arcade, Bexhill; negative number 5387 (c1910). Percy Hemery was born at Arundel, Sussex, in 1851, the son of  John Emery, a Jersey sea captain who eventually became Mayor of Canterbury. Percy Emery, the subject of this photograph, was a civil servant who spent thirty years of his career in British Guiana, a British colony on the north coast of South America. This portrait was taken some time after October 1910 - the date Percy returned to England and settled in Bexhill with his wife Helen* and their baby son, John. Percy Hemery had married Helen Fairbairn (born 30.5.1876) in 1907.
 

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Bridgman & Robbins, Photographers of 2 Marina Arcade, Bexhill. This trade plate is impressed in the bottom right corner of the mount surrounding the portrait of Percy Hemery (top picture).

[ABOVE] Portrait of an unknown woman by Bridgman & Robbins of Bexhill

 

Bridgman & Robbins

The firm of Bridgman & Robbins established a studio in Bexhill around 1907. The Bridgman & Robbins' studio at 2 Marina Arcade, Bexhill, was previously occupied by the photographer William J. Reed. One of the partners in the firm of Bridgman & Robbins was Thomas Henry Robbins (born 1867, Devizes, Wiltshire). Thomas Robbins' business partner was probably the photographer John Robert Bridgman (1856-1924).

Thomas Henry Robbins was born in Devizes, Wiltshire, during the Second Quarter of 1867. In 1892, Thomas Henry Robbins married Blanche Brend (born 1865, Bideford, Devon).

The studio of Bridgman & Robbins at 2 Marina Arcade, Bexhill was in business from around 1907 until 1911.

 

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Richard Hemery for providing the portrait of Percy Hemery by Bridgman & Robbins. Richard Hemery is the grandson of Percy Hemery.
 
Otto BROWN ( born 1883, Long Sutton, Somerset ) - Partner in the firm of Balk & Brown
 
Otto Brown was born around 1882 in Long Sutton, Somerset, the second son of Sarah and Charles Brown, a beer seller and grocer. Charles Brown, Otto's father, was born in Long Sutton in 1839. When the 1881 census was taken, Charles Brown was an unmarried man of forty-one, earning a living by selling beer from a licensed, "outdoor" beer house. ( Brown's business was described as an "Outdoor Licensed Beer House" because the beer had to be "consumed off the premises"). Charles Brown also sold groceries from his shop and in the commercial listings in local trade directories, he is entered as a "grocer & beer retailer". Shortly after the 1881 census was taken, Charles Brown married Sarah, a local woman in her early twenties. The couple's first child, Charles Brown junior, was born around 1881. Otto Brown was born in the village of Long Sutton the following year. Charles and Sarah Brown's third child, Herbert Brown, was born in the village in 1884 [ birth registered in the Langport district of Somerset during 2nd Quarter of 1884]. Two more boys were born in Long Sutton before the Brown family moved to Pokesdown in Hampshire - Alwyne Duncan Brown (born 1889, Long Sutton) and George Leonard Brown (born 1893, Long Sutton). By 1897, Charles Brown and his family had left Long Sutton.

The 1901 census records Charles Brown and his family at 25 Wickham Road, Pokesdown, near Christchurch in Hampshire. Sixty-one year old Charles Brown was now employed as a "Gardener (Domestic)". Otto Brown is described on the census return as an "Artist & Photographer", aged 18. The census enumerator notes that Otto Brown was a self-employed photographer ("own account") and was working from the home address in Wickham Road.

By the Spring of 1905, Otto Brown was in Sussex. (Otto's marriage was registered in the Steyning district of Sussex during the 2nd Quarter of 1905). Around 1905, Otto Brown entered into a business partnership with Leon Balk (born 1878, Taurage, Lithuania), a photographer who had been operating a photographic studio in Eastbourne, Sussex, since 1903. The firm of Balk & Brown operated at studio at 116 Langney Road, Eastbourne and another at 69 Devonshire Road, Bexhill-on-Sea. It appears that Otto Brown was based at the Bexhill studio in Devonshire Road, while Leon Balk remained in Eastbourne. Around 1906, Otto Brown left Bexhill and established his own studio at 2 Chapel Road, Worthing. Leon Balk took over the Bexhill studio previously run by Brown when the partnership was dissolved in 1906 and he remained in business at 69a Devonshire Road until 1915. (See Leon Balk

 

To read an account of Otto Brown's career in Worthing, click on the link below:

Otto Brown - Worthing Photographer

[ABOVE] Carte-de-visite portrait of a woman taken at the studio of Otto Brown2 Chapel Road, Worthing (c1907). Between 1905 and 1906, Otto Brown was based at the Balk & Brown studio at 69 Devonshire Road, Bexhill-on-Sea.

Index of Bexhill Photographers

Bexhill Photographers  (A - B) Alice Armstrong - Balk & Brown - Leon Balk - Bodom and Hawley - Hjalmar Bodom - Bridgman & Robbins - Otto Brown

Bexhill Photographers  A - B

Bexhill Photographers  (C - D) William Morris Crouch (The Sackville Studio) - John B. Currie - The Devonshire Studio

Bexhill Photographers  C - D

Bexhill Photographers  (E - H) Edgar Gael - Alfred Harding - A. D. Hellier - John Hicks - P.H.Hilson

Bexhill Photographers  E - H

Bexhill Photographers  (J - Q) Mrs J. W. Jacklett   - J. J. Jarrett - J. W. Jarrett - Miss M. Jarrett - J. J. Payne - J. Perry - Arthur Bruges Plummer

Bexhill Photographers  J - Q

Bexhill Photographers  (R - T)

William J. Reed - Thomas Robbins - Robson - Sackville Studio (W. M. Crouch) - Leonard Snelling - James E. Stanborough - George E. Swain - Charles Ash Talbot

Bexhill Photographers  R - T

Bexhill Photographers  (V -Z)

Emil Vieler - Herbert Vieler - J & E Wheeler 

Bexhill Photographers  V - Z

 Click here to return to Home Page