Worthing Photographers / Bo-Br

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Professional Photographers in Worthing (Bo-Br)

  Harry Booth - William Borrill - Walter Charles Bristow - Mrs Eliza Bristow - Otto Brown

Harry Booth (born 1854, Bradford, Yorkshire)

Harry Booth was born in Bradford, Yorkshire during the 2nd Quarter of 1854. When the census was taken in 1891, Harry Booth was recorded as a thirty-seven year old "Photographer" lodging at "The Traveller's Rest" in Clifton Road, Worthing. Presumably, Harry Booth was working as an itinerant or beach photographer in Worthing. I can find no record of a photographic career after 1891.

1891 Census : Traveller's Rest, Clifton Road, WORTHING

Harry Booth

 Photographer   

age 37

Born: Bradford, Yorkshire

William H. Borrill (born c1858, London, Middlesex)

William H. Borrill was born in London in 1858. When the census was taken in 1881, Harry Booth was recorded as a twenty-three year old "Photographer" lodging at 9 Chapel Road, Worthing. I can find no trace of William H. Borrill after 1881.

1881 Census : 9 Chapel Road, WORTHING

William H. Borrill

Photographer

age 23

Born: London

 

The Studio of W. C. Bristow - a firm of photographers active in Worthing between 1890 and 1918

Walter Charles Bristow (1861-1896)

Mrs Eliza Bristow (1869-1935)

   

[ABOVE] Carte-de-visite portrait of a young man by W. C. Bristow, 2 South Street, Worthing (c1894)

Walter Charles Bristow (1861-1896)

Walter Charles Bristow was born in Margate, Kent in 1861 [birth registered in the District of Thanet during the Second Quarter of 1861]. His origins are obscure but Walter Bristow might have been related to William Bristow (born c1857) and Edward Bristow (born c1858), two brothers who had also been born in Margate in the same period. In 1858, there were two men named Bristow who were running lodging houses in Margate - a Mr Bristow of Addington Street and Mr Edward Bristow who had a lodging house in Margate's High Street.

The name "Walter Bristow" does not appear in the 1881 census index. This could mean that Walter was out of the country when the census was taken or that his name has been incorrectly transcribed. By around 1889, Walter Bristow was working as a photographer in Worthing. In the commercial section of Kelly's 1890 Directory of Sussex, Walter Charles Bristow is listed as a photographer at 2 South Street, Worthing. The 1891 census records Walter C. Bristow lodging in South Street, Worthing at the house of shopkeeper Joseph Reavell (born 1846, Stepney, London). Joseph Reavell ran a greengrocery business at No 2 South Street and he apparently allowed Walter to use part of the business premises as a photographic portrait studio. Walter C. Bristow is described on the census return as a "Photographer (employer)", aged 29.

One of Walter Bristow's employees at his South Street studio might have been twenty-one year old Eliza Gee (born 1869, Chatteris, Cambridge), the daughter of Reverend Henry Gee, a former missionary and minister of religion. At the time of the 1891 census, Eliza Gee was living at her parents' house in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, possibly making arrangements for her forthcoming wedding. On the census return Eliza Gee is entered as a "Photographer", aged 21.  A few weeks after the census was taken, Walter Charles Bristow married Eliza Gee in Chatteris [marriage registered in the District of North Witchford, Cambridgeshire, during the Second Quarter of 1891]. The couple returned to Worthing and set up home at a house called 'Kenilworth' at 26 Wenban Road, Worthing.

[ABOVE] A photograph showing South Street, Worthing in the early 1900s. Worthing's Old Town Hall can be seen in the distance. [PHOTO: Courtesy of Nick Gribble]

   

[ABOVE] A portrait of  Eliza Gee (c1890). The daughter of Henry Gee, a Christian missionary and Independent Church minister, Eliza was born in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire in 1869. Eliza trained as a photographer and in 1891 she married the Worthing photographer Walter Charles Bristow [PHOTO: Courtesy of  Carol Graham]

[ABOVE] Milton Mount College, near Gravesend, Kent, where Eliza Gee was educated in the 1880s.

Mrs Eliza Bristow ( born 1869, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire)

Eliza Gee, who became Mrs Eliza Bristow in 1891, was the daughter of Mary and Henry Gee (1834-1901), a former missionary and minister of religion. Eliza's father, Henry Gee, was born in Woburn, Bedfordshire in 1834, the son Thomas and Frances Gee. (Henry Gee was baptised in Woburn on 24th October 1835). On 7th September 1859, Henry Gee married Mary Burr (born 1842, Kempston, Bedfordshire) at the Bunyan Meeting House, Bedford. After their marriage, Henry and Mary Gee set sail for Samoa in the South Pacific to carry out Christian missionary work. Henry and Mary Gee began their work on the Samoan island of Savai'i, where their first child, Mary, was born around 1861. A son, named William Gee, was born about 1863 on the neighbouring island of Upolu.

On their return from their missionary work in Samoa, Henry and Mary Gee, together with their two young children, came back to Bedfordshire. The couple's third child, Helen Frances Gee was born in Mary Gee's native village of Kempston in 1864. The Gee family then settled in Henry's home village of Woburn, where his next two daughters were born - Annie Maria (born 1866) and Lilian Lizzie (born 1867). By 1869, Reverend Gee and his family had moved to Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, where Henry had been appointed minister to the Independent Chapel in Mill End. There were at least five more additions to the Gee family in Chatteris - Eliza (born 1869), Amy (born 1872), Thomas John (born 1874), Arthur (born c1876) and Charles Rowland Gee (born 1878). When the 1881 census was taken, Rev. Henry Gee, his wife Mary and six of their ten children were living at the family home in Mill Street, Chatteris. Henry Gee is described on the census return as a "Disabled Missionary" with "no occupation", aged 47. Henry's wife Mary, aged 38, gives her place of birth as Kimbolton, Bedfordshire. Five of the Gee children are listed as scholars but the eldest child at home, fifteen year old Annie Maria Gee, is described as a "minister's daughter".

Eliza Gee was the third eldest daughter of Mary and Rev. Henry Gee. Eliza had been born in Chatteris in 1869 [birth registered in the North Witchford district of Cambridgeshire during the Second Quarter of 1869]. As a young girl, Eliza was sent away to Milton Mount College, a girls' boarding school near Gravesend in Kent. Milton Mount College had been established in 1871 to provide education "for the daughters of Congregational ministers". Eliza Gee was one of the 150 girls boarding at Milton Mount College, Parrock Road, Milton, when the 1881 census was taken on the evening of 3rd April,1881. At Milton Mount College, Eliza would have studied Mathematics, Arithmetic, History, Geography, Latin, German and Music. The 1881 census return lists a "Teacher of Writing" and a "Teacher of Needlework" but there is no mention of an instructor in Art or a Science teacher. Nevertheless, even without a grounding in art or chemistry, Eliza Gee chose a career in photography and when the next census was taken on 5th April 1891, she is recorded as a twenty-one year old "Photographer".

There is a possibility that Eliza Gee was employed as an assistant to the Worthing photographer Walter Charles Bristow before their marriage in the Spring of 1891 [marriage registered in the District of North Witchford, Cambridgeshire, during the Second Quarter of 1891], but it is certain that she worked alongside Walter Bristow in his South Street photographic studio between 1891 and 1895.

[ABOVE] The trade plate of  W. C. Bristow, 2 South Street Worthing (c1895). After the death of Walter Charles Bristow in 1896, his widow Mrs Eliza Bristow took over his photography business in Worthing, retaining the studio name of "W. C. Bristow".
 

Family Life

After his marriage to Eliza Gee, Walter Bristow could not continue to lodge at 2 South Street with Joseph and Louisa Reavell, the greengrocers who shared their business premises with the photographer. Joseph and Louisa Reavell had a boy and girl of their own and there was no space for any additional children. By the time Eliza Bristow gave birth to their first child - a boy named Leonard Walter Bristow - in the Second Quarter of 1892, Walter Bristow had found a house called 'Kenilworth' at 26 Wenban Road, Worthing. The couple's second child, Winifred Margaret (Marguerite) Bristow was born in 1894 [ birth registered in the East Preston District during the Second Quarter of 1894].

On 2nd March 1896, Walter Charles Bristow died at 19 Chapel Road, Worthing at the age of 34, leaving his twenty-six year old widow to bring up their two young children and run the photography business.

After the death of her husband, Mrs Eliza Bristow was joined in Worthing by her younger brother, Charles Rowland Gee (born 1878, Chatteris, Cambs.), who, for a period of time, assisted Eliza at her photographic studio at 19 Chapel Road.

When the 1901 census was taken on 31st March 1901, Mrs Eliza Bristow, her two children (Leonard, aged 8, and Winifred, aged 7), together with her 22 year old brother, Charles Gee, were recorded at 19 Chapel Road, Worthing. Mrs Eliza Bristow is entered on the return as a thirty-one year old widow and she is described as a "Photographic Artist (Employer; at Home)". Charles R. Gee is listed on the return as a "Photographer's Assistant".

When the census was taken on 2nd April 1911, Mrs Eliza Bristow was residing at her business premises at 19 Chapel Road, Worthing with her 17 year old daughter Winifred Marguerite Bristow and her 8 year old "nephew" Leslie Graham (born 1902, Worthing). Leslie Graham was born "Leslie Graham Bristow" in Worthing during the 3rd Quarter of 1902.

At the time of the 1911 census, Eliza Bristow's eldest child Leonard Walter Bristow, an eighteen year old "Engineer's Apprentice", was staying at Miss Harriet Shaw's boarding house at 34 Monk's Road, Lincoln.

[ABOVE] A portrait of a little girl by W. C. Bristow, 19 Chapel Road, Worthing (c1898). Bristow's new studio in Chapel Road was in business before the end of 1895. When Walter Bristow died in 1896, the Chapel Road studio passed to his young widow Mrs Eliza Bristow (born 1869, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire).

The Worthing Studios of W. C. Bristow

[ABOVE] A cabinet portrait of a woman by W. C. Bristow, 2 South Street, Worthing (c1892).

[ABOVE] The reverse of a cabinet portrait by W. C. Bristow, 2 South Street, Worthing (c1895).

[ABOVE] The reverse of a cabinet portrait by W. C. Bristow, 19 Chapel Road, Worthing (c1896). By this date, the studio at 19 Chapel Road was being run by Mrs Eliza Bristow, Walter Bristow's widow.

[ABOVE] The location of  W. C. Bristow's two main studios - 2 South Street and 19 Chapel Road marked by red dots on this Edwardian map of Worthing. In the early 1890s, the Bristows lived at 26 Wenban Road (marked by a blue dot).

The Studio of W. C. Bristow at 19 Chapel Road, Worthing

[ABOVE] A portrait of  Mrs Eliza Bristow (c1910). Born Eliza Gee at Chatteris, Cambridgeshire in 1869, she married the Worthing photographer Walter Charles Bristow in 1891. After her husband's death in 1896, Mrs Bristow continued to work as a photographer in Worthing up to her own death in 1935. [PHOTO: Courtesy of  Carol Graham ]

Around 1895, after five years at 2 South Street, Walter Bristow opened a second studio in Worthing at premises in Crescent Road. Shortly afterwards, the W. C. Bristow studio in South Street was closed and a new studio opened at 19 Chapel Road, Worthing.

Walter Bristow was at this time suffering from a wasting disease associated with pulmonary tuberculosis and it is likely that his wife Eliza was taking an increasingly active role in her husband's business. Walter Charles Bristow died at 19 Chapel Road, Worthing on 2nd March 1896 at the age of 34. The cause of death was given as "Phthisis" (wasting disease) and the death certificate indicates that Walter had been suffering from the disease over the previous three and a half years.

Mrs Eliza Bristow, an experienced photographer, took over the running of the studio in Chapel Road, but continued to trade in Worthing under the name "W. C. Bristow". At the time of her husband's death, Eliza Bristow was only 26 years of age with two young children under the age of four. Eliza clearly needed assistance in the studio and she turned to her family for support. Before very long, the young widow was joined by her younger brother, Charles Rowland Gee (born 1878, Chatteris, Cambs.), who had arrived in Worthing to help Eliza operate the studio at 19 Chapel Road.

Charles Gee worked in his sister's studio for a number of years before returning to his home town of Chatteris, where he ran a photographic studio during the First World War. Mike Petty, who has compiled a directory of Cambridgeshire photographers, lists Charles R. Gee as a photographer in Chatteris in 1916.

Eliza Bristow's studio in Chapel Road had carried the name of her late husband until about 1910. When Kelly's Directory of Sussex was published at the beginning of 1911, it is "Mrs W. C. Bristow" who is listed as the proprietor of the studio at 19 Chapel Road, Worthing. Mrs Bristow was still listed as as a photographer based at the Chapel Road studio when the 1918 edition of Kelly's Directory of Sussex was issued.

Around 1920, Mrs Eliza Bristow moved to 34 Teville Road, Worthing, where she carried on her photography business until her death in 1935.

[ABOVE] Carte-de-visite portrait of a young man taken at the studio of W. C. Bristow, at 19 Chapel Road, Worthing (c1898)

 

[ABOVE] A family group portrait taken at the studio of  Mrs Bristow at 19 Chapel Road, Worthing (c1915). [ Proprietor : Mrs Eliza Bristow]. This postcard portrait is blind-stamped "Bristow, Worthing"

[ABOVE] Postcard portrait of a woman taken at Bristow's studio at 19 Chapel Road, Worthing (c1910) [ Proprietor : Mrs Eliza Bristow] . Blind-stamped "Bristow, Worthing"

[ABOVE] Carte-de-visite portrait of a woman taken at the studio of W. C. Bristow, at 19 Chapel Road, Worthing (c1902) [ Proprietor : Mrs Eliza Bristow]. By 1907, the carte-de-visite was virtually obsolete and the picture postcard had become the most popular format for portrait photography. [ See the two examples of  Mrs Bristow's postcard portraits on the left ].

 

To view examples of the photographic work produced at the studios of W. C. Bristow of Worthing, click on the following links :

Carte-de-visite Photographs by W. C. Bristow of Worthing

Cabinet Photographs by W. C. Bristow of 2 South Street

Cabinet Photographs by W. C. Bristow of 19 Chapel Road

Midget Carte Photographs by W. C. Bristow of Worthing

 

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Carol Graham for providing details of Eliza Gee's family history and for permission to use the two portrait photographs of Eliza Gee (Mrs Eliza Bristow). Thanks to Nick Gribble for providing the 1907 postcard view of South Street, Worthing.


Otto Brown - a professional photographer active in Worthing between 1905 and 1938                                      

Otto Brown (born c1882, Long Sutton, Somerset - died 1938, Worthing)

Otto Brown was born around 1882 in Long Sutton, Somerset. [Otto Brown's birth was registered in the Somerset district of Langport under the name of Otto Brown Cox during the 2nd Quarter of 1882]. Otto was the son of Sarah Cox ( born 1858, Long Sutton), the daughter of Elizabeth and James Cox, an agricultural labourer of Long Sutton, and Charles Brown (born 1839, Long Sutton), a beer seller and grocer. At the time of the 1881 census, Sarah Cox was a single woman of twenty-three, working as a dressmaker and living with her parents and siblings at their cottage in Long Sutton. In 1881, Sarah was an unmarried mother with one or two children. Sarah's son, Charles Edwin J. Cox is entered on the census return as an eight month old baby. [The birth of Charles Edwin J. Cox was registered in the district of Langport during 3rd Quarter of 1880].  Another child, Henry William Cox, a boy of five, is also recorded at his grandparents home.

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". Sometime after the 1881 census was taken, Charles Brown set up home with Sarah Cox, who appears to have borne two of Charles Brown's children between 1880 and 1882.

Otto Brown (Cox) was born in the village of Long Sutton around 1882. 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 residing in Sussex. On 18th June 1905 at St Barnabas Church in Hove, Otto Brown married Edith Mary Hiscocks (born 1880, Marylebone, London), the daughter of Mary and Harry Hiscocks, a draper and commercial traveller of London. Rendel Williams has established that at the time of their marriage, Otto Brown and Edith were living at 76 Coleridge Street, Hove. Around the time of his marriage to Edith, 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. By November 1905, Otto Brown had left Bexhill and established his American Photographic 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)

[ABOVE] Kelly's 1905 trade directory listing for Balk & Brown, photographers, at 69 Devonshire Road, Bexhill. Leon Balk, Otto Brown's partner also had a photographic studio at 116 Langney Road, Eastbourne.

[ABOVE] Carte-de-visite portrait of a woman taken at the studio of Otto Brown, 2 Chapel Road, Worthing (1906). Inscribed on reverse "July 16th '06". Originally, Otto Brown had operated his photography business in  Chapel Road under the name of 'The American Photographic Studio'.

     
Otto Brown's Chapel Road Studio
[ABOVE] Chapel Road, Worthing, photographed around 1905.A banner with the words "OTTO BROWN - THE ART PHOTOGRAPHER", indicating the position of Brown's photographic studio at No. 2 Chapel Road, can be seen at the top right of the photograph. On the left are the shops belonging to William James Kettle, baker & confectioner (No.7) and Edith Atkin, gents' outfitter and hatter (No.9a). Further along the western side of Chapel Road, marked by the banner flapping in the wind, was No. 19 Chapel Road, the site of the photographic studio belonging to Mrs Eliza Bristow. Mrs Eliza Bristow operated the studio of her late husband Walter Charles Bristow at No. 19 from 1896 until about 1918.  Mrs Bristow traded under the name of "W. C. Bristow". [See the section on W. C. Bristow above] [ABOVE] The banner featured in the photograph on the left, reversed to show the wording "OTTO BROWN - THE ART PHOTOGRAPHER". In addition to his studio in Chapel Road, Otto Brown also operated as a photographer at The Kursaal and on the beach near Worthing Pier.
     

Portraits from Otto Brown's Chapel Road Studio

[ABOVE] Portrait of a young woman by Otto Brown,  2 Chapel Road, Worthing (c1907) [ABOVE] Portrait of a woman and her three children by Otto Brown,  2 Chapel Road, Worthing (c1908) [ABOVE] Portrait of a woman with a collar and tie and wearing a straw boater, photographed by Otto Brown of Worthing (c1910)
 

A selection of Otto Brown's cabinet portraits produced at his Chapel Road studio can be viewed by clicking on the link below :

Cabinet Portraits by Otto Brown of Worthing

 

[ABOVE] Portrait of a woman in a dark dress, a postcard portrait by Otto Brown of Worthing (c1910). Otto Brown's trade plate is blind-stamped in the lower right-hand corner.

[ABOVE] The blind stamp of Otto Brown, photographer, 2 Chapel Road, Worthing.

Otto Brown's Postcard Portraits

After 1910, most of the portraits taken at Otto Brown's were in the popular postcard format. Otto Brown's portrait studio at 2 Chapel Road, Worthing was equipped with a range of elaborate sets and painted backdrops. Customers at his studio were posed in front hand-painted backgrounds that simulated smart sitting rooms, leafy gardens and a beach scene with waves crashing on a seashore.

A selection of Otto Brown's postcard portraits can be viewed by clicking on the link below :

Postcard Portraits by Otto Brown of Worthing

Otto Brown after 1911

Otto Brown operated his photographic portrait studio at 2 Chapel Road, Worthing for over thirty years. After Carl Adolf Seebold (1873-1951), a Swiss-born impresario, opened The Kursaal entertainment complex on Worthing's seafront in 1911, Otto Brown arranged for a photographic studio to be attached to this popular seaside attraction. The Kursaal was an entertainment centre that comprised of a roller-skating rink, a cinema, licensed refreshment rooms, a bazaar, an exhibition hall and a covered ornamental garden used for concerts. Geoffrey Godden, in his book "Collecting Picture Postcards"*, notes that Otto Brown "had a well-known photographic studio in the Kursaal complex, and was therefore well placed to take photographs of the many bands, including the Royal Navy Ladies Orchestra, concert parties and other entertainers who performed at the Kursaal and at the Winter Gardens, just behind the main building." Around 1911, Otto Brown photographed a concert party known as "The Comedy Comets" in the Kursaal Gardens. A few years later, Brown produced a series of photographs of the "Worthing Whimsies", a group of entertainers that succeeded the Comets at the Kursaal.

When the census of Worthing was taken on 2nd April 1911, Otto Brown and his wife Edith were recorded at 2 Chapel Road, Worthing. Otto Brown is recorded on the census return as an "Artist & Photographer", aged 27. Also residing at Otto Brown's home in Chapel Road was William Hiscocks (born c1888, London) described on the census return as a twenty-three year old "Photographer's Assistant". William Hiscocks was presumably related to Otto Brown's wife Edith, whose maiden name was Hiscocks.

Otto Brown appears to have vacated the Kursaal Art Studio on Marine Parade around the time Seebold changed the name of his cinema and entertainment hall from the Kursaal to "The Dome" in 1915. (The German sounding name of the Kursaal was jettisoned when anti-German feelings were at their height during the First World War). Otto Brown's main studio was at  2 Chapel Road, Worthing. In 1925, Otto Brown and his wife were residing at 21 Grafton Road, Worthing. During this period Otto Brown maintained a workshop in Prospect Place, Worthing, where his toy and games business was based.

Otto Brown continued to operate his portrait studio in Chapel Road up until the Second World War. Kelly's 1938 Directory of Sussex still lists Otto Brown at 2 Chapel Road, Worthing, some thirty years after his arrival in Worthing in 1906.

Otto Brown died in Worthing during the 4th Quarter of 1938, aged 57. Edith Mary Brown, Otto's widow, died in Worthing ten years later during the First Quarter of 1948, aged 68.

* Collecting Picture Postcards by Geoffrey Godden (Phillimore & Co. Ltd.,1996) page 129.

 

Postcard Portraits by Otto Brown

[ABOVE] A studio portrait of  two young women, a postcard portrait by Otto Brown of  2 Chapel Road, Worthing (c1910). Otto Brown's "signature" trade plate is blind-stamped at the bottom left of the photograph. [ABOVE] Portrait of a couple with their daughter, a postcard portrait by Otto Brown of Worthing (c1915). Otto Brown's "print block" trade plateis blind-stamped at the bottom of the photograph.

[ABOVE] Portrait of  a young woman, a postcard portrait by Otto Brown of  2 Chapel Road, Worthing (c1910). Otto Brown's "signature" trade plate is blind-stamped at the bottom of the photograph.

     
A further selection of Otto Brown's postcard portraits can be viewed by clicking on the link below :

Postcard Portraits by Otto Brown of Worthing

Otto Brown - Resident Photographer at The Kursaal in Worthing

Otto Brown had his main photographic studio at 2 Chapel Road, Worthing, but, between 1911 and 1915, he also operated a photographic studio at The Kursaal in Marine Parade. The Kursaal, built for the Swiss-born impresario Carl Adolf Seebold in 1910, was opened to the public as an entertainment centre in 1911. On the ground floor of The Kursaal was the Coronation Hall, which was used for roller skating, concerts, public meetings and exhibitions. The maple wood skating floor provided a playing area for hockey teams (see photo below). Musical entertainment was provided in the refreshment area and in the tea gardens to the north of the main hall. Upstairs, above the Coronation Hall, was the Electric Theatre, one of the earliest purpose-built cinemas.

At the front of The Kursaal, at ground level, was an arcade which contained Otto Brown's photographic studio and bazaar, a shop selling toys, games and fancy goods. Otto Brown's presence at The Kursaal allowed him to be the official photographer at this entertainment venue. While he was based at The Kursaal, Otto Brown took publicity photographs of the singers, entertainers and concert party groups which performed in the Coronation Hall and the Tea Gardens at the rear of the building.

[ABOVE] The Worthing Kursaal Ladies Hockey Club photographed by Otto Brown of  The Kursaal, Worthing (c1914). Otto Brown's photographer's credit "Otto Brown Photo" is printed in white at the bottom right-hand corner of the photograph.
[ABOVE] Portrait of Maidie Martin, a postcard portrait by Otto Brown of  The Kursaal, Worthing (1913). Otto Brown's photographer's credit "Otto Brown Photo" is printed in white at the bottom right-hand corner of the photograph. Harold, the young man who sent this card to Miss Lillie Peacock on 16th August 1913, wrote on the reverse of this card: "The young lady on the other side of this card is a member of the concert parties here. She is only 17".
 
Otto Brown's Photographic Studio at Carl Adolf Seebold's Kursaal Leisure Centre

[ABOVE] The trade plate of the "Kursaal Art Studio, Worthing", blind-stamped on a postcard portrait, taken by Otto Brown around 1914. Otto Brown operated a photographic studio attached to C. A. Seebold's Kursaal in Marine Parade from around 1911 to 1915 (see below).

[RIGHT] A portrait of Carl Adolf Seebold (1873-1951). Seebold was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1873 and was from a family of musicians. By the 1890s, Seebold and his family were living in England. In 1898, Carl Adolf Seebold married a Lancashire lass named Harriet Crawshaw and settled in Rochdale, Lancashire, where he worked as a musician. By 1902, Seebold was in the Essex seaside resort of Southend-on-Sea, where he ran a theatre and put on musical concerts. Seebold arrived in Worthing in 1904 and became the Manager of the New Theatre Royal in Bath Place. In 1909, Seebold started work on The Kursaal, an entertainment complex on Worthing's seafront. In 1910, Seebold put on musical entertainments in the Kursaal Pleasure Gardens and in 1911, the Kursaal building itself was opened to the public.

[ABOVE] A portrait of Carl Adolf Seebold (1873-1951), taken from a Theatre Royal programme cover (c1909). A former musician, Carl Seebold arrived in Worthing  in 1904 to become the Manager of the New Theatre Royal in Bath Place.

 
The Kursaal, Marine Parade, Worthing

[ABOVE] A picture postcard showing The Kursaal (The Dome), Marine Parade, Worthing (c1914). Otto Brown operated a photographic studio at the Kursaal during the First World War period. The Kursaal, an entertainment complex on Worthing's seafront was built in 1910 and opened to the public the following year. The Kursaal  included a roller skating rink, an exhibition hall, a cinema, refreshment rooms, and a covered garden for outdoor entertainment. Following the outbreak of the First World War, the German-sounding name of the Kursaal was changed to "The Dome" in 1915.  [RIGHT] This detail from the same postcard shows the advertising for "OTTO BROWN, ART PHOTOGRAPHER" on the awning of the Kursaal Bazaar.

[ABOVE] This detail taken from the postcard opposite shows the advertising for "OTTO BROWN, ART PHOTOGRAPHER" on the awning of the Kursaal Bazaar. Otto Brown also sold toys and stationery at the Kursaal Bazaar.

Otto Brown's Photographic Portraits of Entertainers at The Kursaal

[ABOVE] A picture postcard by Otto Brown, entitled "C. Adolf Seebold's Worthing Whimsies, 1914". Carl Adolf Seebold (born 1873, Zurich) was a Swiss-born impresario who arrived in Worthing in 1904, after working as a musician in Rochdale and running a theatre in Southend-on-Sea. In 1911, Seebold opened The Kursaal, an entertainment complex on Worthing's seafront. Carl Adolf Seebold mounted musical entertainments in the covered ornamental garden at the rear of The Kursaal. Entertainers who performed at The Kursaal, such as the "Worthing Whimsies" (above), were photographed by Otto Brown, who had a studio attached to the Kursaal Bazaar.

Otto Brown took a number of publicity photographs of the "Worthing Whimsies", a concert party that  performed at Seebold's Kursaal in Worthing. Otto Brown also produced portraits of solo performers such as Harry East and Maidie Martin.

[ABOVE] Another picture postcard by Otto Brown featuring the "Worthing Whimsies", a concert party that performed at Carl Adolf Seebold's Kursaal in Worthing (Postcard dated 1914). The photographer's credit "Otto Brown Photo" is printed in white at the bottom right-hand corner  of the card.

[ABOVE] Otto Brown's photo credit printed in the bottom right-hand corner of  the "Worthing Whimsies" postcard dated 1914.

 
To view a further selection of picture postcards featuring the "Worthing Whimsies" and other Worthing entertainers, visit David Nicholls' Public Gallery (picnik) on the Picasa Web Album website. The postcard portraits by Otto Brown can be viewed on the Worthing People (Album Number One) webpage created by David Nicholls, via the following link:

Worthing Entertainers Photographed by Otto Brown

Otto Brown's Promenade Studio near Worthing's Pier

Otto Brown - Beach Photographer and 'Amusement Caterer'

In addition to his photographic portrait studio in Chapel Road, Worthing, Otto Brown also operated a beach photography business near Worthing Pier. In the early 1920s, Otto Brown and his wife Edith managed the Promenade Studio, a small wooden photographic studio located on the eastern side of the entrance to Worthing Pier.

[ABOVE] The business card of Otto Brown, Amusement Caterer of Prospect Place Works, Worthing (c1925). The Worthing photographer Otto Brown supplemented his income by hiring out games for "fetes, galas, flower shows & carnivals". [Illustration from Rob Blann's Vintage Worthing]

It has been suggested by local Worthing historian Rob Blann that Otto Brown was also the proprietor of Olympia Games, an amusement stall located on the beach next to Worthing Pier. A business card dating from around 1925 describes Otto Brown as an "Amusement Caterer" of Prospect Place, Worthing. According the business card, Otto Brown hired out a "large variety of high-class games" for "fetes, galas, flower shows & carnivals". Among the amusements offered by Otto Brown were games such as "greyhound racing, loop ball, bubbles, roll ups, darts, skeeball, electric treasure hunt, electric boards, etc." A photograph of the Worthing Pier entrance taken in the early 1920s, shows an amusement stall alongside Otto Brown's Promenade Studio on Worthing beach. According to Rob Blann, this amusement stall was owned by Otto Brown, "a popular photographer of the time".

Otto Brown supplemented his income as a photographer by hiring out games and motor vehicles to the inhabitants of Worthing. Against the name of Otto Brown, "art photographer and miniature painter" in the 1911 edition of Pike's Worthing & District Blue Book, is the notice "motors for hire". A photograph of the exterior of Otto Brown's photographic studio and bazaar at The Kursaal, Marine Parade, Worthing, shows a motor bus leaving Library Place, the road alongside the Kursaal.

At his shop in The Kursaal, Marine Parade, Otto Brown supplied toys, stationery and fancy goods. Trade directories published between 1911 and 1925, describe Otto Brown variously as an art photographer, miniature painter and stationer.

[ABOVE] A view of the entrance to Worthing Pier, showing on the left Otto Brown's "Promenade Studio", a wooden photographic portrait studio on the beach. On the sides of the wooden studio are the names of the proprietors "O. & E. BROWN, PHOTOGRAPHERS", which suggests the studio was run jointly by the husband and wife team of Otto and Edith Brown. (c1922).  By 1926, the two kiosks at the entrance to Worthing Pier had been removed, being replaced by the Pier Pavilion, a 1200 seat concert hall and theatre.           [Illustration taken from Rob Blann's Vintage Worthing ]

[ABOVE] A close-up view of Otto Brown's "Promenade Studio"(c1922). Painted signs on the sides of the Promenade studio gives the names of the proprietors as "O. & E. BROWN," (i.e. Otto and Edith Brown) and advise holidaymakers that photographic portraits were "taken in the STUDIO and on the BEACH". Next to Brown's Promenade Studio is the Olympia Games amusement stall featuring the new game of  "Climbing Monkeys".
 

Otto Brown on Location - 'Real Photo' Picture Postcards Published by Otto Brown of Worthing

[ABOVE] A picture postcard by Otto Brown, entitled "Worthing Pier Washed Away, March 23rd 1913". In addition to his studio portrait work in his Chapel Road studio and the publicity shots of entertainers, photographed in the grounds of The Kursaal, Otto Brown also ventured out with his camera to record events in and around Worthing. This picture postcard by Otto Brown shows the destruction caused to Worthing Pier during the Great Storm of 1913. Worthing Pier's toll kiosk, pictured on the left of this postcard view, carries an advertisement for rival photographer Walter Gardiner who ran a studio with his wife Annie Gardiner at 10 & 11 The Broadway, Brighton Road, Worthing.

[ABOVE] "Worthing Pier Washed Away, March 23rd 1913".

[ABOVE] "Worthing Pier Wrecked, Mar.23rd 1913".

[ABOVE] "Mr Simmons' aeroplane on Worthing Beach  Jan 1913".

[ABOVE] "Great Fire at Worthing, Oct 15th,1919".

Click on the link below to view a selection of Otto Brown's picture postcards on Rendel Williams' excellent Sussex Postcards Info website:

Otto Brown's Postcard Views of Worthing

 

Click on the link below to view a selection of Otto Brown's postcard portraits :

Postcard Portraits by Otto Brown of Worthing

 

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Geoffrey Godden, author of the book "Collecting Picture Postcards" (Phillimore & Co.,1996), which focuses on the picture postcards produced in Worthing during the first two decades of the twentieth century. Thanks also to Rendel Williams, author of the excellent Sussex Postcards Info website, for providing additional information on Otto Brown. The series of books on historic Worthing by Rob Blann have proved to be a particularly valuable source of information.

Websites: The following websites have provided useful information relating to Otto Brown's photographic career in Worthing. The Sussex Postcards Info website, authored by Rendel Williams, provides a summary of Otto Brown's postcard production and a gallery of his picture postcards. The Worthing Dome Cinema website (worthingdomecinema.com) and The Worthing Dome website (worthingdome.com) created by The Worthing Dome & Regeneration Trust, both provide an excellent account of the creation of Carl Adolf Seebold's Kursaal in Worthing and its subsequent transformation into The Worthing Dome Cinema. A wonderful collection of Worthing photographs, including Otto Brown's postcard portraits of Worthing entertainers, appear in the albums created by David Nicholls, as part of the public photo galleries hosted by the Picasa Web Albums website.

 

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Books on the History of Worthing

The trilogy of books on Worthing authored by Rob Blann place an emphasis on the lifeboat service, but they also contain an impressive range of photographs illustrating Worthing's past. The fourth book by Rob Blann, entitled Worthing in Old Picture Postcards is an excellent collection of images taken from picture postcards and historic photographs of Worthing. The picture captions that accompany the 140 photographs reflect Rob Blann's  wealth of knowledge about Worthing's history and development.

       

A TOWN'S PRIDE: Victorian Lifeboatmen & their Community by Rob Blann (Rob Blann 1990)

EDWARDIAN WORTHING: Eventful Era in a Lifeboat Town by Rob Blann  (Rob Blann 1991)
VINTAGE WORTHING: Images of a Lifeboat Town (1914-1945) by Rob Blann (Rob Blann 2001)
WORTHING in old picture postcards by Rob Blann (European Library 1993)
 

To read more details about the books produced by Rob Blann and to order copies direct from the author, click on the link below:

Books by Rob Blann

The following four books on Worthing are also highly recommended. Collecting Picture Postcards by Geoffrey Godden might suggest from its title that its place amongst books devoted to the history of Worthing is unwarranted. However, Geoffrey Godden delivers much more than the topic given in the title. The author has chosen to examine the history and development of picture postcards through his wonderful collection of Worthing cards. Geoffrey Godden also 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.

COLLECTING PICTURE POSTCARDS by Geoffrey Godden (Phillimore 1996)

WORTHING: A Pictorial History by D. Robert Elleray (Phillimore 1977)
WORTHING: A History by Chris Hare (Phillimore 2008)

HISTORIC WORTHING by Chris Hare (Cassell 1991)

       
 

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