Hailsham Photographers

Click here to return to home page

Professional Photographers in Hailsham

Edwin Isaac Baker - Edwin & Lela Chell - Charles Hollamby - James Lawrence - Herbert J. Unwin


Edwin Isaac BAKER (1837-1912) - Active as a photographer in Hailsham from 1868 to 1896.

[ABOVE] The trade plate of the Hailsham photographer Edwin Isaac Baker (c1890).
[ABOVE] A portrait of Edwin Isaac Baker (1837-1912), Hailsham's leading photographer for over 25 years. Edwin Baker operated a photographic studio from his bookstore and stationery business in High Street, Hailsham, from around 1868 until 1896, the year he emigrated to the U.S.A.

[PHOTO - Courtesy of Susan Guhm]

Edwin Isaac Baker: Photographer, Bookseller & Stationer & in High Street, Hailsham, between 1868 and 1896

Edwin Isaac Baker was born on 2nd February 1837, the son of Sarah Lambert and Isaac Baker, a travelling "chapman and hawker" who later set up a 'marine supplies' store in Hailsham.

When the 1861 Census was taken, Edwin Baker was working as a grocer for James Sanders, who owned a Grocery and Draper's shop on Hailsham's High Street. In 1864, Edwin Baker married Mary Hunnisett (born 1843, Hellingly, Sussex ). Their first child Amy Sarah arrived in 1865 and a son, Edwin William Baker was born on 2nd December 1867.  From 1869 to 1880, Mary Baker gave birth to seven more children - Ernest (born 1869), Ruth (born 1870), James (born 3rd July 1872 - died 5th October 1872 ), Margaret (born 1873), Thomas (born 11th March 1875 - died 11th May 1875), Emma Mary (born 1877) and Alice (born 1879). On 24th June 1875, Edwin and Mary's eldest son, Edwin William Baker, died at the age of 7.

Between 1867 and 1869, Edwin Isaac Baker took over the running of a bookstore and stationery business in Hailsham's High Street. An advertisement in the Hailsham Almanac of 1869, provides evidence that Edwin Baker had established a photographic portrait studio at his business premises around 1868. In this advertisement, E. I. Baker, Bookseller, Stationer and Photographer was offering to provide a dozen carte-de-visite portraits for 5 shillings. Baker's prices were slightly lower than those charged in the larger neighbouring towns of Eastbourne and Hastings, where the standard rate was 6 shillings for a dozen carte- de-visite portraits. Higher class establishments in Eastbourne and Hastings charged over 8 shillings for twelve cartes.

Caleb Baker, Edwin's brother, had emigrated to the United States, sometime during the 1860s and had built up a successful business in Chicago, manufacturing tents and camping furniture. Edwin Baker decided to join his brother Caleb in Chicago and on 12th December 1896 with four of his children - Ruth, aged 26, Alice, aged 16, Nellie, aged 14, and 12 year old George - he set off for the United States. Edwin Baker and his children joined Caleb Baker and his family in Chicago and the two brothers worked together in the tarpaulin and tent making business. Edwin Baker later moved on to Kansas City, where he died in 1912.

[ABOVE] The label which appeared on the back of Edwin Isaac Baker's early cdv portraits. The printer has mistakenly named the bookseller and photographer as "E. J. BAKER", when the name should have read "E. I. BAKER". The error was corrected when Edwin Isaac Baker ordered a new batch of printed card mounts in 1868.

[ABOVE] The trade plate printed on the reverse of portrait photographs taken by Edwin Isaac Baker of High Street, Hailsham between 1868 and 1872.
[ABOVE] A  carte-de-visite portrait of a young woman photographed by Edwin Isaac Baker of High Street, Hailsham (c1870).

[ABOVE] The front and back of a carte-de-visite portrait by Edwin Isaac Baker of High Street, Hailsham. This portrait of an unknown woman dates from the late 1880s. The trade plate design on the right was first used by Edwin Isaac Baker around 1880.

For a more detailed account of the life and photographic career of Edwin Isaac Baker. click on the link below:

Edwin Isaac Baker (1837-1912) - Photographer of Hailsham


Cartes-de-visite produced by Edwin Isaac Baker of High Street, Hailsham

[ABOVE] The trade plate Edwin Isaac Baker, 'Bookseller & Photographer' of High Street, Hailsham which he had printed on the reverse of carte-de-visite portraits produced between 1868 and 1872. [ABOVE] A  carte-de-visite portrait of a young girl photographed by Edwin Isaac Baker of High Street, Hailsham (c1868). The reverse carries the hand-written inscription "Sister Emma aged 12 years". [ABOVE] A  carte-de-visite portrait of a young woman  by E. I. Baker of Hailsham (c1890). Publicity on the reverse of the carte states that Edwin Baker produced "Portrait, Landscape and Equestrian Photography." [ABOVE] A  carte-de-visite portrait of an unknown man  by Edwin Isaac Baker, Photographer, Bookseller, Stationer and Librarian of High Street, Hailsham (c1892).
Edwin CHELL (c1851-1927) & Lela CHELL (1870-1937)  Active as photographers in Hailsham from around 1897 to 1913.

Edwin Chell was born around 1851 in Cheddleton, near Leek, Staffordshire. In the 1881 Census he is described as a "Farmer's Son" aged 29 and is shown living with his mother and elder brother John Chell (born c1848, Dilhorn, Staffordshire) at Basford Grange, Cheddleton. Edwin's mother Mrs Ann Jane Chell (nee Steele - born c1828, Cheddleton) is recorded as a widow farming 200 acres. George Chell, Edwin's father, had died in 1865.

In 1893, Edwin Chell married Lela Constance Godfrey (born 1870, Pokesdown*, near Christchurch, Hampshire), the twenty-two year old daughter of Lavinia Lansley (born c1837, Kimpton, Hampshire) and William Godfrey (born c1837, Egham Surrey ), a cabinet maker of Christchurch. [ * NOTE : Pokesdown is now within Dorset ]

Edwin and Lela Chell moved to Hailsham, where their first child, Godfrey Chell, was born in 1894. A second child, a girl named Lily, was born around 1896. Three more daughters followed - Ivy (born c1897, Hailsham), Nellie (born c1899, Hailsham) and Mollie (born 1901, Hailsham). At the time of the 1901 Census, the four daughters are shown living with Edwin and Lela Chell at their home in Hailsham. (The  couple's first-born son, Godfrey Chell, had died in 1899 at the age of four ). Two more children were born in Hailsham after the 1901 Census - a son named Leslie Steele Chell in 1902 and a daughter, Norah, in 1905.

Edwin Chell and Lela Chell, had been taking photographs from their home at 9 Alexander Terrace, High Street, Hailsham since about 1898. Like other Hailsham photographers, Edwin Chell could not initially earn a living by photography alone. In the 1901 census, Edwin Chell gave his main occupation as "Life Insurance Agent". Sometime before 1905, however, Edwin Chell and Lela Chell set up a photographic studio at 64 & 65 High Street, Hailsham, which they operated until 1913.

Edwin Chell ended his days working as a milkman in Hailsham. He died on 17th December 1927 at the age of 76. Mrs Lela Chell died ten years later in 1936, aged sixty-six.


[ABOVE] The trade plate of the Hailsham photographers Edwin Chell & Lela Chell of 64 & 65 High Street, Hailsham (c1908).


[ABOVE] Cabinet portrait of a young woman, photographed at the studio of  Edwin & Lela Chell at 64 & 65 High Street, Hailsham (c1908).
Charles HOLLAMBY (1817-1891) Active as a photographer in Hailsham from around 1865 to 1882

Charles Hollamby was born in Hailsham around 1817. Charles Hollamby had been working as a shoemaker in the town since at least 1841. In the 1841 Census for Hailsham, Charles Hollamby is described as a "Shoe Maker - Journeyman" and is shown lodging in Hailsham's High Street, at the home of  John Holman, the town's School Master. In 1843, Charles Hollamby married Mary Hook (born c1821, Withyham, Sussex).

By 1859, Charles Hollamby had established a boot and shoemaking business in the High Street of the town. In 1861 Charles Hollamby was employing two men and one boy in his shoemaking business. Mrs Mary Hollamby, his wife, had her own "Straw Bonnet and Tuscan Hat" manufacturing business in the High Street.

Around 1865, Charles Hollamby purchased some photographic apparatus and set up a portrait studio attached to his business premises in Hailsham's High Street. When the Post Office Directory for Sussex, was published in 1866, Hollamby is listed under the heading of 'Photographers' in the Trades section. An advertisement in The Hailsham Commercial Advertiser of 1869 declared: " Charles Hollamby, Boot & Shoe Maker, High Street, Hailsham . PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAITS TAKEN DAILY."

The 1871 Census records Charles Hollamby as a 54 year old "Shoemaker Master, employing 2 men". No mention is made of Hollamby's photographic activities on the 1871 census return, but Charles Hollamby is listed as a professional photographer in Hailsham in the Sussex trade directories published between 1870 and 1874. According to the census, Hollamby's home and workplace in Hailsham's High Street was situated next to Alfred Bread's Printing Office, near Alma Place, Hailsham. Sharing Charles Hollamby's home was his wife Mrs Mary Hollamby, who is described as 49 year old "Straw Bonnet Maker", and a 12 year old servant girl named Epsy Billing.

[ABOVE] The trade plate of the Hailsham photographer Charles Hollamby of  High Street, Hailsham which is printed on the reverse of the portrait of the woman illustrated on the right (c1870). [ABOVE] Portrait of a seated woman (possibly a member of the Langley Family of Hailsham); a carte-de-visite by the Hailsham shoemaker & photographer Charles Hollamby of  High Street, Hailsham (c1870)

Photograph taken from RootsChat.com [Posted by 'Sussex Girl' in March 2011]

When the census was taken on 3rd April 1881, Charles Hollamby was again recorded as a "Boot Maker, employing 2 men" with premises in Hailsham's High Street. His work as a photographer is not recorded under the heading of "Occupation" on the census form, but the 1882 edition of Kelly's Directory of Sussex lists Charles Hollamby as a "Photographer" at 2 Alma Place, High Street, Hailsham.

Charles Hollamby is listed as a photographer at Hailsham in local trade directories from 1866 until 1882. He was still working as a boot-maker at the time of the 1891 Census, when he was seventy-four years of age. Charles Hollamby died in December 1891 at the age of 74 and he was buried at the Hellingly Union graveyard on 28th December 1891 ( Grave No.411 ).

[ABOVE] The trade plate of the Hailsham photographer Charles Hollamby of  High Street, Hailsham (c1870).

[ABOVE] An advertisement in the 1869 edition of The Hailsham Almanac and Commercial Advertiser for Charles Hollamby, Boot & Shoe Maker, and Photographer of High Street, Hailsham. Below Charles Hollamby's advertisement are notices for his wife's straw bonnet business and the rival studio of Edwin Isaac Baker.

James LAWRENCE (born c1828). Active as a photographer in Hailsham in 1861

James Lawrence was born at Bethlem Green (Bethnal Green) in East London, around 1828. In the 1861 Census for Hailsham, James Lawrence is described as a "Photographic Artist", aged 32 and is shown lodging with sixty four year old Mary Tutt in the High Street of Hailsham. He was probably an itinerant photographer without a permanent studio. James Lawrence is not recorded as a photographer in the Sussex Post Office Directory of 1862 and makes no appearance in later Sussex directories

1861 Census: High Street, Hailsham





Mary Tutt




Herstmonceux, Sussex
James Lawrence



Photographic Artist

Bethlem Green, London
Elizabeth Lawrence



Photographic Artist

Bethlem Green, London
[ABOVE] James Lawrence recorded as a "Photographic Artist" lodging with Mrs Mary Tutt in High Street, Hailsham in the 1861 Census. Living next door to Mrs Tutt was shoemaker Charles Hollamby who took up photography in the mid or late 1860s.

Herbert John UNWIN (born 1873). Active as a photographer in Hailsham from around 1897 to 1899.

Herbert John Unwin was born in 1873 in Folkestone, Kent. He was the son of Uriah John Unwin (born 1851, Folkestone, Kent), a bricklayer, and Sophia Jane Martin (born 1847, Rye, Sussex). At the end of 1896, Herbert John Unwin married Florence Chittenden (born 1868, Elmsted, Kent) at Folkestone.

Shortly after his marriage, Herbert Unwin moved to Hailsham in Sussex, where he took over the bookselling and photography business of Edwin Isaac Baker, who had been Hailsham's leading photographer between 1868 to 1896. Baker had sold his photographic studio and bookshop in Hailsham's High Street to Herbert Unwin before emigrating to the United States in December 1896. Naming the bookshop "The Library", Unwin operated the photographic studio in Hailsham's High Street until around 1899.

By the time the 1901 census was taken, Herbert John Unwin was working as a photographer and living in Tupsley, near Hereford, with his wife and young daughter Gladys Winifred Unwin (born 1898, Hailsham). Listings in The British Journal of Photography and Kelly's Trade Directories show that Herbert John Unwin was operating a photographic business at 42 Commercial Road, Hereford from1901 until at least 1909. One of Unwin's pictures (a photograph of Hereford's All Saints' Church, depicting steeplejacks at work on the spire) was registered for copyright purposes on 1st January 1907. The copyright registration form gives Herbert John Unwin's business address as 42 Commercial Road, Hereford.

I cannot trace Herbert John Unwin in the 1911 census, but I found his wife and daughter residing with his mother-in-law, Mrs Emma Chittenden, at a house named 'Clovelly' at 56 Stanhope Street, Hereford. On the census return, Herbert's 41 year old wife, Mrs Florence Unwin, indicates that her husband is still alive and declares that she had been married 14 years and had given birth to one child. Gladys Winifred Unwin, Mrs Unwin's daughter, is described on the census return as a 12 year old schoolgirl.

[ABOVE] A badly stained advertisement for H. J. Unwin, Bookseller, Stationer Librarian, and Photographer, of  The Library, High Street, Hailsham, published in Sumfield's Hailsham Almanac and Directory for 1898.

Click here to go to A History of Professional Photography in Hailsham

Click here to go to Directory of Photographic Studios in Hailsham 1860-1910

Click here to return to home page