Jennie Rewman and The Worthing Portrait Company

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Jennie Rewman and The Worthing Portrait Company

Photographer and Manageress of The Worthing Portrait Company (1898-1907)

THE WORTHING PORTRAIT COMPANY - active as a photographic firm in Worthing from 1898 to 1926

( Proprietors and Managers :1898-1907 - Jennie Rewman and Florence Kate Stewart ; c1908 - c1913 - Charles Tidy ; 1914-1915 - William John Knowles  )

The Worthing Portrait Company

The studio of the Worthing Portrait Company opened at No 4 Railway Approach, Worthing, in the Summer of 1898. The following announcement appeared in the Worthing Gazette on 30th July, 1898 :

The Worthing Portrait Company are opening their new premises early in August, under the management of Miss Rewman ( for 13 years with the late E. Pattison Pett ) who, with the assistance of qualified artists, will give her immediate supervision to the business and spare no pains to give personal care and attention to every individual sitter. Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Views, groups and all outdoor work undertaken. Best work only, at moderate prices. Children and groups a speciality.

Jennie Rewman

Jennie Rewman, the Manageress of The Worthing Portrait Company, was born in Berlin, Germany around 1855. She was probably the daughter of Oscar Rewman (c1827-1895), a financial agent who was born in Germany, but became a Naturalised British Subject and settled in Lambeth, South London. At the time of the 1881 census, Oscar Rewman was a 54 year old widower living with his daughter Minna Rewman, a 28 year old draper's assistant, and two servants at 67 Rattray Road, Lambeth, Surrey. Later that year, Oscar Rewman married his housekeeper, 39 year old Edna Tyler ( born c1842, Shoreham, Kent) and in 1883 he became the father of another daughter, Eliza Beatrice Rewman*. Oscar Rewman died in South London in 1895, aged 68. [Death registered in the Camberwell District in the March Quarter of 1895].

When the 1881 census was taken, twenty-six year old Jennie Rewman was visiting optician Thomas Rowley (born c1807, Birmingham), at 128 St. James Street, Brighton. Thomas Rowley may have introduced Jennie to photography. Rowley had been involved in photography since at least 1853, when he was a dealer in stereoscopic photographic slides at his Brighton shop. Around this time, Jennie Rewman found employment with Edward Pattison Pett (1845-1896), a photographer who had taken over the Worthing studio of James Russell & Sons at Bath Place, Worthing in or about 1881. E. Pattison Pett employed at least five workers at his Bath Place studio and Jennie became one of his assistant photographers.

In 1891, Jennie Rewman was boarding at Miss Florence Stewart's Lodging House at 40 High Street, Worthing. In the 1891 census return, Jennie Rewman is described as a "Photographer's Assistant", aged 35. Miss Florence Stewart, the proprietor of the lodging house, was later to join Jennie Rewman as a partner in the Worthing Portrait Company. Florence Kate Stewart (born c1854, Kingsland, London, Middlesex), was the daughter of James Stewart (born c1818, Wyresdale, Lancashire), a merchant, and his wife Catherine (born c1819, Willesden, Middlesex).

In 1893, the photographers Walter and Annie Gardiner purchased Edward Pattison Pett's photographic studio in Bath Place. Although, Jennie Rewman advertised the fact that she had worked for  Edward Pattison Pett for 13 years, she makes no mention of being employed as a photographer in the Walter Gardiner studio, so we can presume that her services were not retained at Bath Place.

The Worthing Portrait Company made an impression in the town soon after it was established in August 1898. The Worthing Portrait Company immediately produced photographs of local events, such as The Five Mile Championship Race of 1898, and within a year the Company's photographs were being reproduced in local newspapers.

The 1901 census records both Miss Rewman and Miss Stewart residing at their business premises at 4 Railway Approach, Worthing - Jennie Rewman is entered on the census return as a "Photographer (Employer at home)", aged 46, and the same occupational description is given to her business partner, forty-seven year old Florence Kate Stewart. The two lady photographers employed a number of assistants, and one can be identified as Frances Clarke (born c1880, Birmingham), who in the 1901 census is recorded as a  twenty-one year old "Photographer (worker)". Miss Clarke was the daughter of Bernard Clarke (born c1831, Ireland), a retired building contractor, and was living at 8 Queen Street, Worthing.

After 1902, Worthing Portrait Company, began to publish picture postcards from the Railway Approach address. Miss Jennie Rewman went from being the Manageress to the Principal of the Worthing Portrait Company. In Kelly's Directory of 1905, Miss Rewman is listed as the "Proprietress" of the Worthing Portrait Company. Miss Rewman is still recorded as the owner of the Railway Approach studio in 1907, but when Kelly's 1909 Directory was published, the Worthing Portrait Company was in the hands of the photographer Charles Tidy.

Worthing Portrait Company after 1909

The new proprietor of the Worthing Portrait Company was Charles Tidy (born 1869, Paddington, London) a photographer from Lewisham. Before the outbreak of the First World War the studio in Railway Approach passed to the photographer William John Knowles (born 1879, Brighton, Sussex). From 1905 to 1915, the Worthing Portrait Company published picture postcards, featuring views of Worthing, photographs of churches and other notable buildings in the area, and scenes of local interest, such as members of the Sussex Yeomanry at Worthing Railway Station on their way to the Western Front in 1914. The studio at 4 Railway Approach, Worthing continued until 1926.


[ABOVE ] The trade plate of The Worthing  Portrait Company of 4 Railway Approach, Worthing. In this example Jennie Rewman is described as the "Principal" rather than the Manageress of the Company.

[ABOVE] A photograph showing the business premises of The Worthing  Portrait Company at 4 Railway Approach, Worthing (c1905)  The glass roof of the upstairs studio can be seen at the top right of the picture. The shop windows contain examples of the company's studio portraiture and post-card views.

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a young woman produced by The Worthing Portrait Company of 4 Railway Approach, Worthing.  Miss Jennie Rewman is billed as the Manageress on the reverse of the carte.

Click here to view  photographs from the studio of The Worthing Portrait Company


To view a selection of photographic portraits taken at TheWorthing Portrait Company, click on the link below ;

The Worthing Portrait Company



Collecting Picture Postcards by Geoffrey Godden (Phillimore 1996) covers much more than the topic given in the title. Geoffrey Godden provides an interesting and well informed account of the work of a number of Worthing photographers and picture postcard publishers active in Victorian and Edwardian times, including Edward Edwards (Edward Bex), Walter and Annie Gardiner and the Worthing Portrait Company.





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