Professional Photographers in Littlehampton (R-S)

James Russell & Sons - Josiah Russell - William Russell - William Scutt - Francis Walter Spry

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James RUSSELL & SONS - Chichester Branch - Manager: Alfred KING (born 1851, Ventnor, Isle of Wight)

James Russell, the founder of the Russell family of photographers, was born in West Wittering, Sussex, in 1809. James Russell established his photography business in Chichester in the 1850s. In the mid 1860s, James Russell formed the firm of J. Russell & Sons with his photographer sons. During the 1870s, J. Russell & Sons established branch studios in Worthing, Littlehampton, Petworth and Bognor.

The firm of Russell & Sons employed Alfred King (born 1851, Ventnor, Isle of Wight) as the manager of its Littlehampton branch at Terminus Road. Russell & Sons withdrew from Littlehampton around 1880 and the studio premises at Terminus Road passed to the former manager Alfred King.

 
   

[ABOVE ] A carte-de-visite portrait of  a woman with a photograph album by James Russell & Sons, Terminus Road, Littlehampton (c1878 [ABOVE ] Reverse of a  carte-de-visite portrait by James Russell & Sons, Terminus Road, Littlehampton (c1878)
 

Click here to read a detailed account of the photographic career of James Russell and his photographer sons :

James Russell & Sons of Chichester

 

Josiah RUSSELL (born 1839, Chichester)

Josiah Russell, was the second eldest son of James Russell (1809-1899), the well known photographer of Chichester. Josiah Russell trained as a photographer at his father's studio at 65 East Street in Chichester. Josiah Russell married Emma Howard (born c1842, Chichester) at St Andrew's Church, Chichester, on 7th October 1860, and then settled in Littlehampton, where he established a studio that was independent of his father's business. Josiah Russell became one of the first professional photographers to establish a portrait studio in Littlehampton. The 1861 Census records Josiah Russell as a 22 year old photographer living with his young wife in the High Street, Littlehampton. After a short stay in Littlehampton, Josiah and Emma returned to Chichester, but around 1868, Josiah Russell moved to Worthing to set up a photographic portrait studio at 16 High Street. Josiah Russell left Worthing around 1877 and eventually settled in Hampshire around 1881.
 
       

[ABOVE ] A carte-de-visite portrait of  a seated woman by Josiah Russell, Photographer, Littlehampton (c1862) [ABOVE ] A carte-de-visite portrait of  a seated man with a young child by Josiah Russell, Photographer, Littlehampton (c1862) [ABOVE ] Reverse of a carte-de-visite portrait  by Josiah Russell, Photographer, Littlehampton (c1862) [ABOVE ] A carte-de-visite portrait of an unknown man holding a top hat and walking stick, photographed by Josiah Russell of Littlehampton (c1862)
 

William RUSSELL

William Russell is listed as a photographer with a studio in Arundel Road, Littlehampton in Kelly's Post Office Directory for Sussex in 1866. William Russell appears again the following year, but disappears after 1867. William Russell was not one of the sons of the Chichester photographer James Russell.
 

William SCUTT (1836-1864)

William Scutt was born in London around 1836. On 23rd September 1858, at Bishops Waltham, Hampshire, William Scutt, a schoolmaster by profession, married Margaretta Lavinia Morgan (born c1838, Hampton Court, Middlesex), the daughter of James Francis Morgan, a "Theatrical Manager". William and Margaretta Scutt settled in Littlehampton, Sussex, where they ran a school in Surrey Street. The couple's first child, William Herbert Scutt, was born in Littlehampton on 28th August 1859. Four more children were born to William and Margaretta Scutt over the next five years - Margaretta Louise (born 1860, Littlehampton - baptised 30th September 1860), Ada Elizabeth (born 1862, Littlehampton - baptised 31st May 1862), Albert Daniel ( born 1863, Littlehampton - baptised 26th July 1863) and Maud Elizabeth Scutt (born 1864 Littlehampton - baptised 30th October 1864). Two of the children did not reach adulthood - Ada died early in 1863 around the time of her first birthday and Maud died in November 1864 when she was only a few months old.

At the time of the 1861 census, William Scutt, his wife Margaretta, and their two children were living at 13 Surrey Street, Littlehampton. The Head of the Household, William Scutt, is described as a "Schoolmaster", aged 24, and twenty-two year old Margaretta gives her profession as "Schoolmistress". An 1862 Directory for Littlehampton, lists William Scutt at The School, Surrey Street, Littlehampton, which suggests No 13 served as both their home and place of work.

[ABOVE ] The trade plate of William Scutt, Photographist of Littlehampton, which appears on the reverse of his carte-de-visite portraits.  At this time, William Scutt and his family were living at No. 13 Surrey Street, Littlehampton.
 
William Scutt - Photographist of Littlehampton
 

[ABOVE ] The printed trade plate of William Scutt, Photographist of Littlehampton, which appears on the reverse of the carte-de-visite portrait of  "G. Compton" [see below].

 

Although a school teacher by profession, William Scutt had another string to his bow. During his stay in Littlehampton, carte-de-visite portraits and stereoscopic views appeared carrying labels that advertised "W. SCUTT, PHOTOGRAPHIST, PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIO, LITTLEHAMPTON."

It was not unknown for school teachers to serve as photographers in small communities. Robert Wright [1818-1862 ], who was the School Master at Lancing Grammar School from around 1844 until his death on 15th March 1862, was an early photographer of Lancing, who produced photographic stereo views of Lancing School and the surrounding area in the late 1850s. John Joseph Wright, a school teacher in Maresfield, took photographic portraits of the local inhabitants in the 1880s.

William Scutt's photographic career in Littlehampton was cut short because of his early death on 17th December 1864, at the age of twenty-eight. The following death notice appeared in the Sussex Express on 14th January 1865 : "On the 17th ult. at Braco, Perthshire, Mr William Scutt of Littlehampton, age 28". It has not been established why William Scutt was so far from home at the time of his death.

Mrs Margaretta Scutt had lost two young children and a husband in the space of two years. Mrs Scutt and her surviving children remained in West Sussex. On 17th March 1869, Margaretta Scutt, then a thirty year old widow, married shoemaker Barton Balchin (c1828-1873) in Horsham, West Sussex. After her second husband died in 1873 at the age of 44, Margaretta went on to marry John Voice (born c1832, Billinghurst), another Horsham shoemaker, on 18th October 1874. William Scutt's eldest son, William Herbert Scutt, joined the Royal Navy as an able seaman. In 1881, twenty-one year old William Scutt was serving on HMS Minotaur, an iron-clad warship.

 
[ABOVE ] A carte-de-visite portrait of  "G. Compton" by William Scutt, Photographist of Littlehampton (c1862)

 

 
[LEFT ] A carte-de-visite portrait of  "G. Compton". The sitter was probably George Compton (1792-1885), an agricultural labourer of Angmering, a village four miles from Littlehampton. Assuming this photograph was taken around 1862, George Compton would have been aged around 70 when he sat for this portrait in his farm workers' smock. George Compton lived in The Street, Angmering and worked on the land all his working life. He died in 1885 at the age of 92.

[ABOVE ] A stereoscopic view of the Congregational Church, Littlehampton by William Scutt, Photographist.

 

[LEFT] The handwritten title "Congregational Church, Lt Hampton. W. Scutt. Photo. No3." which appears on the right-hand side of the stereo card.

 

 

Acknowledgements & Further Information on the Scutt Family

Thanks to Jimmy Scutt of Scutt Family Trees. Click on this link to connect to The Scutt Family Tree website.

Francis Walter SPRY ( born 1869, Devonport, Devon )

Francis Walter Spry was born in 1869 in Devonport, Devon, the youngest son of Eliza Arnold and John Robert Spry (1838-1872), a bookseller and printer. John Robert Spry had married Eliza Arnold in 1858 and the union had produced 5 children: Eliza Rosina (born c1860), James John (born 1862), Charles Edward (born 1865), Alfred (born 1867 ) and Francis Walter Spry (born 1869). Sadly, John Spry, Frank's father, died in 1872, aged 33. It appears that Mrs Eliza Spry died in 1879, leaving Frank an orphan.

At the time of the 1881 census, eleven year old Frank Spry was living with relatives at 16 Martin Street, Plymouth. The head of the household is given as James Spry (born c1816, Devonport), a 65 year old accountant. James Spry' s wife is entered on the return as Louisa Spry, aged 55 (born c1826 Devonport). Louisa Spry was previously married to a Mr Lascelles, and her daughter Rosa Lascelles (born c1856 Newport, Isle of Wight) is listed in the household. James Spry had married Louisa Lascelles in 1866 and the couple had a 12 year old daughter, Laura (born c1869 Devonport). Other Spry children in the household (with the exception of Frank) are listed as grandchildren. The relationship of Frank Walter Spry to James Spry it is not clear. Instead of "son" or "grandson" the enumerator has for Frank Spry entered the word "other" as his relationship to the Head of Household.

By 1891, Frank Spry was living at 111 The Grove, Totnes in Devon. In the 1891 census return he is described as a single, twenty-two year old "Photographer". Sometime before 1901, Frank Spry moved to London to work as a photographer. Early in 1901, Francis Walter Spry married forty-two year old Rosina Hankin (born 1858, Ashwell, Herts) in the Lambeth district of South London. [Marriage registered during the First Quarter of 1901]. At the time of the 1901 census, Francis and Rosina Spry were living in Greenwich. Francis Spry's occupation is given as "Photographer - Assistant", so presumably he was employed as an operator in a photographic studio in London or the London suburbs. In 1902, Frank and his wife were residing in Lewisham, where their only child, a son named Francis Reginald Spry, was born towards the end of that year. [The birth of Francis Reginald Spry was registered in the district of Greenwich during the 4th Quarter of 1902].

Around 1904, Frank Spry arrived in Littlehampton to take up employment as a photographer with John White (born c1850, Leominster/ Lyminster, Sussex ), the town's leading photographer. From about 1905, Frank Spry, began to take photographs under his own name. Photographs taken by F. W. Spry in the period 1905 and 1907 are rubber stamped with his home address of East Street, Littlehampton.

In 1907, Frank Spry set up his own photography business in Surrey Street, Littlehampton. From 1907 to 1909, F. W. Spry, Photographer, is listed at 21 Surrey Street, Littlehampton in local trade directories. From 1909 to 1939, the studio address of  F. W. Spry is given as 25 Surrey Street, Littlehampton.

Frank Spry produced portraits at his Surrey Street studio, but he is more well known for his photographs of ships and shipping and his photographs of local scenes and events which he issued as postcards.

Francis Walter Spry died in Littlehampton in 1955 at the age of 86.

A photograph of the brigantine "Ebenezer" by F. W. Spry can be viewed via the entry for Spry (2) [Photograph/PH/6898] in the index of the West Sussex C.C. Photographic Database at  http://www2.westsussex.gov.uk/RO/DB/Pick.asp

[ABOVE] Francis Walter Spry listed as a photographer at 25 Surrey Street, Littlehampton, in the 1911 edition of Kelly's Directory of Sussex.
 

[ABOVE] F. W. Spry' s shop and studio premises at 25 Surrey Street, Littlehampton in 1927.
 

Studio Portraits by F. W. Spry of Littlehampton

[ABOVE] A postcard portrait of Rita Edna Speller, aged 2 years, 8 months, photographed with her mother, Mrs Minnie Speller on 28th January, 1924. The photograph was taken by Francis Walter Spry at his Littlehampton studio. Rita Speller, who was born in Littlehampton in 1921, was the younger sister of Leslie Albert Dudley Speller (born 1914, Wick, near Littlehampton) who is featured in the postcard portrait below.

[ PHOTO: Courtesy of Leigh Lawson ]

[ABOVE] Benjamin Farrell and Mabel Jane Ansell photographed at Frank Spry's studio in Littlehampton  around the time of their wedding in December 1917. Benjamin and Mabel Farrell were married at Clymping, West Sussex on 22nd December 1917. This Post Card photograph is blind-stamped "F. W. Spry, LITTLEHAMPTON" . Mr and Mrs Farrell eventually settled in the West Sussex village of Clapham.
 

[ PHOTO: Courtesy of Michele Snewin ]

[ABOVE] A postcard portrait of a young girl holding a folded parasol, posed in front of a painted backdrop and photographed by Frank Spry (c1920). The painted backdrop depicts a beach with a pier or jetty and a small light-house tower in the background. This painted backdrop appears in several of Frank Spry's studio portraits produced between 1920 and 1924. (See the panel on 'Spry's Painted Backdrop' below). Printed on the reverse of this postcard is the photographer's credit "F. W. SPRY, 25 Surrey Street, Littlehampton."
 
 
Photograph of Leslie Albert Dudley Speller (born 1914, Wick, Sussex) by F. W. Spry of Littlehampton

[ABOVE] The reverse of the postcard portrait of eight year old Leslie Speller (pictured on the right) showing a competition label which has been affixed to the back of the photograph. The label is headed with the printed words "W. D. COMPETITION, July 22". It seems that the "W. D. Competition" was set up to encourage parents to send in pleasing photographic portraits of their offspring which might then lead to an awarding of a prize. The "W. D. Competition" appears to have been a nationwide contest because postcard photos carrying similar labels have been found on photographs produced in studios some distance from Littlehampton (e.g. West Ealing in Greater London; Slough, Buckinghamshire ). The dates on these "W. D. Competition labels" range from 1922 to 1924.
Leslie Albert Dudley Speller was the eldest child of Minnie Smith (1891-1982) and Charles Walter Speller (1885-1953), a professional entertainer & singer who later became well-known in Littlehampton as "Uncle Charlie the Punch & Judy Man".

Leslie's father, Charles Walter Speller, was born in Hackney in 1885, and performed as a vocalist & light comedian in music halls under the stage name of "Charlie Charlton". On 26th October, 1914 at the Walworth Road Registry Office in Southwark, Charles Walter Speller married Minnie Smith (born 1891, Worthing), a fellow "Music Hall Artiste" who performed under the name of "Minnie Faulkner". [See the studio portrait of Mrs Minnie Speller photographed with her daughter, above]. On 15th December 1914, Mrs Minnie Speller gave birth to her first child, a son named Leslie Albert Dudley Speller. [See studio portrait of 8 year old Leslie Speller on the right]. A second child, a daughter named Rita Edna Speller, was born in Littlehampton in 1921.

[ABOVE] A postcard portrait of eight year old Leslie Speller of Arun House, Littlehampton, posing in front of a painted backdrop depicting a beach with a pier in the background, photographed by Francis Walter Spry. This Post Card photograph is blind-stamped in the bottom-right hand corner with the words "F. W. Spry, LITTLEHAMPTON".  It appears that this photograph was submitted as an entry to a child portrait competition in 1922.
 

[ PHOTO: Courtesy of Leigh Lawson ]

[ PHOTO: Courtesy of Leigh Lawson ]

 
 

Frank Spry's Painted Backdrop featured in his Studio Portraits

[ABOVE] A coloured picture postcard featuring Littlehampton's Pier and two small lighthouses ('Low Light' and 'High Light'). A similar scene is represented in the painted backdrops which appear in many of Frank Spry's studio portraits. The 'High Light' in the foreground was built in 1848. The smaller 'Low Light' at the pier's end was built in 1868.

[ABOVE] Detail of Frank Spry's postcard portrait of  Leslie Speller of Littlehampton, showing the painted backdrop depicting a seaside beach, the sea, a pier and a small lighthouse in the background. The scene resembles a view of Littlehampton's pier and small lighthouse situated at the mouth of the River Arun.

[ABOVE] A picture postcard dating from around 1910 which shows Littlehampton's Pier and two small lighthouses then known locally as the salt-shaker and pepper pot. Built in the mid 19th century, both the 'Low Light' (at the end of the pier) and the 'High Light' (at the shore end) were demolished in 1940 to prevent use by enemy ships.

 

Studio Portraits by F. W. Spry of Littlehampton

[ABOVE] A postcard portrait of a seated woman holding a book, photographed by Francis Walter Spry. This Post Card photograph is blind-stamped in the bottom-right hand corner with the words "F. W. Spry, LITTLEHAMPTON" (c1918). [ABOVE] A postcard wedding portrait, photographed by Francis Walter Spry. This Post Card photograph is blind-stamped in the bottom-right hand corner with the words "F. W. Spry, LITTLEHAMPTON" (c1914). [ABOVE] A postcard portrait of two teenage girls, one seated on a deck-chair, the other holding a parasol, photographed by Francis Walter Spry. This Post Card photograph is blind-stamped in the bottom-right hand corner with the words "F. W. Spry, LITTLEHAMPTON" (c1920).

Studio Portraits by F. W. Spry of Littlehampton

[ABOVE] A man seated on a cane chair in front of a studio backdrop photographed by Francis Walter Spry. Printed on the reverse of this postcard is the photographer's credit "F. W. SPRY, 25 Surrey Street, Littlehampton." [ABOVE] Family Group Portrait by Francis Walter Spry. This Post Card photograph is blind-stamped in the bottom-right hand corner with the words "F. W. Spry, LITTLEHAMPTON" (c1917).
 

		

 

 

Acknowledgements & Sources

 The Littlehampton Story No.3 - The  Picturemakers by H. J. F. Thompson  (Littlehampton Printers,1981) is an excellent introduction to Littlehampton photographers and an invaluable source of information. Littlehampton : A Pictorial History by D. Robert Elleray ( Phillimore 1991). Primary sources include Census Returns (1861,1871, 1881,1891,1901), The Sussex Express, The Littlehampton  News, Street and Trade Directories for Sussex ( Kelly's Post Office. 1862,1874, 1878,1882,1887,1890,1895,1899,1903,1905,1907, 1909 &1911 ), Chapman & Co.'s Almanack (1877).

Thanks to Peter Merett, Jimmy Scutt and Sally Whiffing for providing additional information. Thanks also to Michele Snewin for permission to feature the wedding photograph of her paternal grandparents, Benjamin and Mabel Farrell, taken at F. W. Spry's Littlehampton studio. I am grateful to Leigh Lawson for allowing me to feature Spry portraits of members of the Speller Family. Leigh Lawson is the daughter of Leslie Speller (1914-2006) and grand-daughter of Minnie Speller (1891-1982) and Charles Walter Speller (1885-1953).

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