Hurstpierpoint Photographers

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Photographers in Clayton, Keymer and Hurstpierpoint

Albert Burtenshaw - Harry De Witt - Harry King - Henry Pointer - William Edward Sims

[ABOVE] A view of the village of Clayton. In 1861, the population of Clayton numbered 863. By 1871, the population of Clayton had risen to 1,111. By the late 1860s, the built up area known as St John's Common had evolved into the town of Burgess Hill . In the early 1860s. St John's Common was partly in Keymer and partly in Clayton. In trade directories, the photographer Albert Burtenshaw gave his address as "St John's Common, Clayton, Hurstpierpoint".

Albert BURTENSHAW (1848-1936)

Albert Burtenshaw was born in 1848 at Cuckfield, Sussex, the son of Sarah (born c1815 Wivelsfield, Sussex) and Edward Burtenshaw (born c1816, West Grinstead, Sussex), an agricultural labourer. [Albert Burtenshaw 's birth was registered in Cuckfield during the Third Quarter of 1848]. At the time of the 1861 Census, Albert Burtenshaw was living with his parents at Ludgate Farm, Cuckfield.

Albert Burtenshaw was married before he was twenty. Albert Burtenshaw married Elizabeth Breden (born c1841, Balcombe, Sussex ) in the London district of Westminster in 1868. Albert and Elizabeth Burtenshaw''s first child, Edith Mary Burtenshaw was born in Lewes, Sussex during the 2nd Quarter of 1868. When Edith Mary Burtenshaw was baptised in Lewes on 14th June 1868, Albert gave his occupation as "servant". Albert, his wife Elizabeth, and their young baby, Edith, then moved on to the Hurstpierpoint area of Sussex, where the couple's second child Lily Maude Burtenshaw was born during the 4th Quarter of 1869. It is in 1870 that Albert Burtenshaw is first recorded as a photographer in a local trade directory. In the 1870 edition of Kelly's Post Office Directory for Sussex, Albert Burtenshaw appears under the heading of 'Photographers' with an address of St John's Common, Clayton, Hurstpierpoint.

By 1871, Albert Burtenshaw was employed as a butler in the household of barrister and Justice of the Peace, Walter Wyndham Burrell (1814-1886). Walter Wyndham Burrell, a High Sheriff of Sussex, was the third son of Sir Charles Burrell, a Conservative MP and 3rd Baronet of Valentine House. The Burrell family owned property and land in the area of Horsham, Cuckfield and West Grinstead. Walter Wyndham Burrell spent much of his time in London, but he had his family home at Ockenden House in the West Sussex town of Cuckfield. At the time of the 1871 census, Albert Burtenshaw was residing in London with his employer, Walter Burrell, while Albert's wife and two daughters were living at a house in a row of terraced buildings in St John's Common, Clayton. On the 1871 census return, Mrs Elizabeth Burtenshaw describes herself as a "Butler's wife", aged 34. Albert Burtenshaw is recorded as a "Butler - Domestic Servant" at Walter Burrell's London residence at 5 Richmond Terrace, Westminster. Walter W. Burrell, the Head of the Household, gives his profession and occupation as "J.P. County Sussex, Landowner".

As Walter Wyndham Burrell's butler, Albert Burtenshaw's main duties were carried out in the Burrell family home in West Sussex. Although Albert Burtenshaw was primarily employed as a domestic servant for the Burrell family, he appears to have continued his career as as a photographer. The 1874 edition of Kelly's Post Office Directory for Sussex records Albert Burtenshaw as a photographer based in Cuckfield. A carte-de -visite view of Cuckfield, photographed by Albert Burtenshaw around 1875, carries a business address of  Ockenden Lane, Cuckfield, Sussex.

Albert Burtenshaw and his family resided in the area of Cuckfield during the period 1872 to 1877. Albert's wife, Mrs Elizabeth Burtenshaw gave birth to four more children during their stay in Cuckfield - Blanche Louisa Burtenshaw (birth registered during the 2nd Quarter of 1872), Guy Percy Burtenshaw (birth registered during the 4th Quarter of 1873), Hugh Maurice Burtenshaw (birth registered during the 4th Quarter of 1875) and Digby Henry Burtenshaw (birth registered during the 2nd Quarter of 1877).

In the year 1876, the prospects of Walter Wyndham Burrell, Burtenshaw's employer, improved greatly. In July 1876, Walter Wyndham Burrell's elder brother Sir Percy Burrell, the 4th Baronet, died at the age of 64. Sir Walter Wyndham Burrell succeeded to the Baronetcy and inherited West Grinstead Park, a country house and estate in West Sussex. In that same year of 1876, Sir Walter Wyndham Burrell was elected Conservative MP for New Shoreham. Sir Walter Burrell's new status as a Peer of the Realm and a Member of Parliament resulted in more social occasions at his new country residence in West Grinstead. As his duties as Sir Walter Burrell's butler grew, Burtenshaw was probably obliged to give up his second career as a professional photographer. After 1876, Albert Burtenshaw's name does not appear in the lists of photographers published in local trade directories .

Around 1880, Albert Burtenshaw and his family took up residence at South Lodge on the West Grinstead Park estate. Albert and Elizabeth's seventh child, Basil Frederick Burtenshaw, was born at West Grinstead early in 1881 and baptised in the parish of Cuckfield on the 25th March 1881. In the 1881 census, Albert Burtenshaw is recorded as a 32 year old butler, one of fifteen servants in Sir Walter Burrell's household at West Grinstead Park. Albert's wife and family are shown living at South Lodge, West Grinstead. Albert's spouse, Mrs Elizabeth Burtenshaw, is described on the census return as a "Butler's Wife", aged 40. All seven of the Burtenshaw children, three daughters and four sons, are recorded at South Lodge, including the latest addition to the family, two month old Basil Frederick Burtenshaw.

Albert Burtenshaw was employed as butler to Sir Walter Wyndham Burrell, MP, at his large house on the West Grinstead Park estate up until the death of his employer on 24th January 1886. It is likely that Sir Walter Burrell left some property to Albert Burtenshaw, who had served as Burrell's butler for fifteen years or more. The 1891 census records Albert Burtenshaw as a forty-two year old "Farmer", residing at 21 South Street, Cuckfield, with his wife Elizabeth and five of their children.

In the 1901 census, Albert Burtenshaw is recorded as living in South Street, Cuckfield with wife Elizabeth, aged 60, and three of their children - Blanche, Guy and Basil. (One of Albert and Elizabeth's sons, Digby Henry Burtenshaw, had died in 1895 at the age of 17). Albert Burtenshaw is described on the 1901 census return as a "Farmer & Waiter", aged 52. At the time of the 1901 census, Guy Percy Burtenshaw (born 1873, Cuckfield) was working as a "Coach Builder" and Basil Frederick Burtenshaw (born 1881, West Grinstead) was serving his apprenticeship as a printer. The following year, Guy Burtenshaw married twenty-four year old Elizabeth Simmons, who gave birth to their first child Dulcie Winifred Burtenshaw during the 4th Quarter of 1902.

Mrs Elizabeth Burtenshaw, Albert Burtenshaw's first wife, died on 28th September 1903 at Ockenden Cottage, the family home in South Street, Cuckfield. Albert Burtenshaw subsequently married Jane Bell (born c1855, Rochford, Essex) a former lady's maid. [ The marriage of Albert Burtenshaw and Jane Bell was registered in the district of Steyning during the 2nd Quarter of 1905 ]. Jane Bell had been in domestic service for most of her working life - in 1871 she had been a twenty-six year old "Housemaid" at a Ladies' School in Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea and by 1891, she was employed as a "Ladies' Maid" in Paddington, London. It has been suggested that Albert Burtenshaw first met Jane Bell when she was working as a lady's maid to Lady Dorothea Burrell (1829-1892), the wife of his late employer.

After he married Jane Bell in 1905, Albert Burtenshaw continued to live at Ockenden Cottage, South Street, Cuckfield. By the end of 1905, with the exception of his youngest son, Basil Frederick Burtenshaw (born 1881, West Grinstead), all of Albert's children had left the family home. Albert's two eldest daughters, Edith Mary Burtenshaw (born 1868, Lewes) and Lily Maude Burtenshaw (born 1869, Hurstpierpoint) had both married in the 1890s. Blanche Louisa Burtenshaw (born 1872, Cuckfield), Albert's youngest daughter, married schoolmaster Stephen Frank Lewin (born 1873, Cuckfield) in 1905. Sadly, Blanche died within a year of the union, at the age of 33, on 10th April 1906, shortly after giving birth to a son named Basil Llewellyn Lewin. Albert's youngest son, Basil Frederick Burtenshaw married Evelyn Lottie Cordery in 1908.

Albert Burtenshaw was still living at Ockenden Cottage in 1927 when the author Robert Thurston Hopkins paid him a visit. In his book, The Lure of Sussex (1928), Hopkins describes Burtenshaw as " a fine, grand old gentleman ... a good figure of a man", who provided him with "very potent home made cider", reputedly made from apples and animal bones. Robert Thurston Hopkins also gave details of Albert Burtenshaw's home in South Street, Cuckfield: "Ockenden Cottage ...Mr Burtenshaw drew us into a cottage with heavily timbered rooms. Ockenden Cottage was once the White Horse Inn ... The old bottle-glass windows in the interior doors, which date from the 17th century, and the deep hewn cellars suggest its former career."

Albert Burtenshaw resided in Cuckfield for over forty-five years. He derived a living from farming, but supplemented his income by working as a waiter. The 1901 census describes Burtenshaw as a "Farmer & Waiter". When the 1911 census was taken Albert Burtenshaw and his wife Jane are recorded at Ockenden Cottage, South Street, Cuckfield. Albert Burtenshaw is described on the census return as a sixty-two year old "Race Official". However, it appears from the 1911 census return that both Albert and his wife Jane earned some money from waiting on tables and carrying out other duties at a local restaurant, inn or hotel. Alongside Jane Burtenshaw's name, under the heading of "Occupation" the census enumerator has written "2 in charge of waitress, cloak room, etc".

Albert Burtenshaw died at his home in Cuckfield in 1936 at the age of 88.

[ABOVE] Albert Burtenshaw listed as a photographer at St John's Common, Clayton, near Hurstpierpoint, in the Trades section of the 1870 edition of Kelly's Post Office Directory of Sussex.


[ABOVE] The reverse of the carte-de-visite by Albert Burtenshaw of Ockenden Lane, Cuckfield, featuring the decorative "trellis and vine" design (c1873).

[ABOVE] Albert Burtenshaw listed as a photographer at Cuckfield  in the Trades section of Kelly's 1874 Post Office Directory of Sussex. Photographs taken by Albert Burtenshaw during this period carry the address of Ockenden Lane, Cuckfield, Sussex. (See trade plate illustrated above).

[ABOVE] Albert Burtenshaw, previously a photographer and a former butler to Sir Walter Wyndham Burrell MP of West Grinstead Park,  relaxes with his second wife, Mrs Jane Burtenshaw, in the garden of their home at Ockenden Cottage, South Street, Cuckfield. (c1908).

John Henry (Harry) DE WITT (born 1876, Ryde, Isle of Wight) trading in Keymer and Hurstpierpoint under the name of 'Harry DE WITT'

[ABOVE] The High Street of Hurstpierpoint, photographed around 1910. At centre-left is the business premises of Francis Geering & Sons, a family firm of builders, decorators & plumbers. Parked in front of Geering & Son's shop front is a horse & cart carrying the sign 'F. Geering & Sons, Builders'. Standing by the cart is a man wearing a white shirt and light-coloured hat and directly above his head is the display panel of the photographic artist Harry De Witt.

[TOP] Harry De Witt's studio [BOTTOM] DeWitt's blind stamp.
[ABOVE] Harry De Witt's studio and shop on the High Street of Hurstpierpoint (c1910). Immediately in front of Harry De Witt's business premises is a horse and cart belonging to Francis Geering & Son, a family firm of builders, decorators & plumbers. Harry De Witt arrived in Hurstpierpoint around 1910.

John Henry (Harry) DE WITT (1876-1927)

The Keymer and Hurstpierpoint photographer Harry De Witt was born in Ryde, Isle of Wight in 1876. Although he preferred to be called Henry or Harry De Witt, it appears that his birth name was John Henry Witt. [The birth of John Henry Witt was registered on the Isle of Wight during the 2nd Quarter of 1876]. When John Henry Witt was enumerated in the 1881 and 1891 census, he was recorded as Henry or Harry Witt.

Harry Witt's father was William Frederick Witt (1841-1929), a dealer in curiosities who became a 'Fine Art Dealer'. Born in Totton, Hampshire, not far from Southampton, William Frederick Witt had married Mary Agar (born c1846, Wexford, Ireland), an Irish milliner, in 1866. After their marriage in Southampton, Frederick Witt and his wife Mary moved to the Isle of Wight, where Frederick earned a living as a 'General Dealer'. For the first 5 years of their marriage, Frederick and Mary Witt lived in Cowes, Isle of Wight, but by 1872 they had moved along the coast to the seaside town of Ryde. During their time on the Isle of Wight, Frederick Witt's wife Mary gave birth 6 children - Frederick William Witt (born 1867, Cowes, IOW), Ada (Edith) Florence Witt (born 1869, Cowes, IOW), Arthur Sidney Witt (born 1871, Cowes, IOW), Bessie Louise Witt (born 1872, Ryde, IOW), Alicia Maud Witt (born 1874, Ryde, IOW) and John Henry (Harry) Witt (born 1876, Ryde, IOW).

At the time of Harry's birth, his father, William Frederick Witt, was earning his living as a "curiosity dealer" at a shop at 65 Union Street, Ryde, Isle of Wight, however, within the next year, the Witt family had moved to Leamington, Warwickshire, where Harry's younger brother, George Francis Witt was born during the 2nd Quarter of 1877.

By the time the census was taken on 3rd April 1881, William Frederick Witt and his family were living in Brighton. The 1881 census records forty-one year old William Witt as a "Dealer in Works of Art" at 69 Ship Street, Brighton. William's 38 year old wife, Mary Witt, had given birth to their 8th child, a daughter named Elizabeth, three weeks earlier. William and Mary Witt's three other daughters, Ada (11), Louise (8) and Maud (6), together with their two youngest brothers, Henry (4) and George (3), were living at their home in Ship Street, but William's two eldest sons Frederick William (14) and Arthur (10) were boarding at a school in Goldstone Villas, Hove.

In 1887, the Witt family were hit by tragedy. Early in 1887, Mrs Mary Witt, Harry's mother, died at the age of 41 and six months later, Elizabeth Witt, his 6 year old sister died. William Frederick Witt, a widower with 7 children to support, began to seek a new wife. During the 3rd Quarter of 1889, William Frederick Witt married Emily Foster (born 1851, Udimore, Sussex), a woman in her late thirties who had previously been employed in Peckham as a nurse in domestic service.

The 1891 census records William Frederick Witt and his family residing at 62 Blatchington Road, Hove. On the census return, William F. Witt is described as a 48 year old "Fine Art Dealer". Four of William Witt's grown-up children who were still living at home were in employment. Twenty-four year old Frederick Witt was working as a "picture frame joiner" and (Arthur) Sidney Witt was earning his living as an artist. Significantly, 21 year old Ada Florence Witt was employed as a "Photo Printer". Another of Harry Witt's sisters, Alicia Maud Witt (born 1874, Ryde, IOW) was later to find work as a "Photographer" and so it is possible that Harry Witt followed his sisters into a photographic studio. It appears that when Harry Witt began his photographic career, he added the prefix "de" to his surname and became known as 'Harry De Witt'. Harry's artist brother, Arthur Sidney Witt (born 1871, Cowes, IOW) also took the surname of "De Witt".

By the late 1890s, Harry De Witt was married. According to the census return he completed on 2nd April 1911, John Henry (Harry) De Witt married his wife Marion in 1897 or 1898. I have not been able to trace an official record of the marriage, but it appears that his bride was a young school teacher named Marion Eleanor H. Balchin (born 1876, Brighton), the daughter of Harriett and William Charles Balchin (1855-1927), a School Attendance Officer. During the 2nd Quarter of 1898, Marion de Witt gave birth to a son named John William H. de Witt.

By the time the 1901 census was taken, John Henry (Harry) de Witt, his wife Marion and their 3 year old son, John W. H. de Witt, were residing in the Sussex village of Keymer at a house named 'Balmain' in Lodge Lane. On the census return, twenty-five year old John H. de Witt is recorded as a "Photographer - own account - at home". Although he informed the census enumerator that he was effectively a self-employed photographer working from his home in Lodge Lane, Keymer in 1901, Harry De Witt does not make an appearance as a professional photographer in local trade directories until 1907. The 1907 edition of Kelly's Directory of Sussex lists Harry De Witt as a 'photographer' at Lodge Lane, Keymer. The entry for Harry De Witt, photographer of Lodge lane, Keymer is repeated in the 1909 edition of Kelly's Sussex Directory.

[LEFT] Harry De Witt listed as a photographer in Lodge Lane, Keymer,  in the 1907 edition of Kelly's Directory of Sussex. The 1901 census records John H. (Harry) de Witt as a self-employed 'Photographer' residing at 'Balmain', Lodge Lane, Keymer, but he does not make an appearance as a professional photographer in Keymer until this trade directory was published in 1907.

Around 1910, Harry De Witt transferred his photographic business to a shop in the High Street of Hurstpierpoint. The 1911 census records John Henry de Witt as a 35 year old "Photographer", working from his home in High Street, Hurstpierpoint. It appears that Harry De Witt continued as a professional photographer in Hurstpierpoint for a few more years, but his name does not appear under the heading of 'PHOTOGRAPHERS' in the Trades Section of Kelly's Directory of Sussex either in 1911 or 1915. The 1915 edition of Kelly's Directory of Sussex records Harry De Witt as an "antiques dealer" in High Street, Hurstpierpoint.

John Henry de Witt, who traded under the name of 'Harry De Witt' for most of his adult life, died in Hurstpierpoint in 1927 at the age of 50. [The death of John H. De Witt was registered in the district of Cuckfield during the First Quarter of 1927].

After his death, Harry's widow, Mrs Marion De Witt, who was a school teacher by profession, returned to her home town of Brighton. Mrs Marion De Witt secured a teaching post at St Mark's School, Arundel Road, Brighton. On Tuesday, 25th May 1943, a  German plane dropped a bomb in the vicinity of St Mark's School. The huge bomb blast killed a number of people, including two police constables, PC Frank Barker and PC Ken Grinstead. Mrs Marion De Witt, who had just left the school and was crossing Arundel Road was seriously injured by the bomb blast and died later that day in hospital. Mrs Marion Eleanor H. De Witt was 66 years old at the time of her death.

[ABOVE] The trade plate of the photographer  Harry De Witt which he used between 1907 and 1910 when he was based in Keymer, near Hassocks.

[ABOVE] A photograph of a lady and her dog (c1910). This photograph was taken by Harry De Witt, a photographic artist who operated in the area of Keymer and Hurstpierpoint  between 1907 and 1915. The photographer's signature "H. de Witt" is embossed in the lower right-hand corner of the photographic mount. ( See an enlargement of the embossed signature below)

PHOTO: Courtesy of  Jean Clack

[ABOVE] "H. de Witt", the signature of the photographer Harry De Witt, which is embossed  in the lower right-hand corner of the photograph illustrated above. Although his birth was registered on the Isle of Wight under the name of John Henry Witt, when working in Sussex this photographer traded under the name of "Harry De Witt".

[ABOVE] Harry De Witt listed as an antique dealer at High Street, Hurstpierpoint in the 1915 edition of Kelly's Directory of Sussex.

[ABOVE] A white-bearded huntsman on horseback,  a large format photograph by Harry De Witt of  Lodge Lane, Keymer, near Hassocks (c1908). Harry De Witt's trade plate is printed on the bottom left-hand corner of the cream coloured card mount. (See the enlargement of the trade plate, below). [ABOVE] Harry De Witt's photograph of the white-bearded huntsman on horseback which appears centred on the cream-coloured card mount illustrated on the left. Harry De Witt worked from his home at  'Balmain', Lodge Lane, Keymer, between 1901 and 1910.
[ABOVE] The trade plate of the photographer  Harry De Witt, enlarged from the photograph of the huntsman on horseback,  illustrated above. Harry De Witt was based in Lodge Lane, Keymer, near Hassocks, between 1901 and 1910. Around 1910, Harry De Witt set himself up as a photographer in the High Street of Hurstpierpoint.


[ABOVE] The signature of the Hurstpierpoint photographer John Henry de Witt, who worked as photographic artist under the name of "Harry de Witt". Trade directories listed his surname as "De Witt".



Harry KING (born 1863, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex) - Photographer in Brighton between 1881 and 1891 and in Hurstpierpoint after 1894

[ABOVE] A cabinet portrait of two little girls in a pram, photographed by Harry King of  19 New England Street, Brighton (c1890). [ABOVE] A cabinet portrait of two little girls sitting on a door-step, photographed by Harry King of  19 New England Street, Brighton (c1890).

Harry KING (1863-1940?)

A number of photographs of Hurstpierpoint taken between 1900 and 1930 have been credited to a man named Harry King, but Sussex trade directories produced during this period do not list a professional photographer with that name in Hurstpierpoint. It appears that the Harry King who took photographs of people, buildings and events around Hurstpierpoint during the early 20th century originally trained as a photographer in Brighton, but by the mid 1890s he had returned to Hurstpierpoint and was working as a carpenter

Harry King was born in Hurstpierpoint during the 3rd Quarter of 1863, the son of Mary and David King (born c1830, Hurstpierpoint), an agricultural labourer.

Photographer in Brighton

By 1881, Harry King was working as a photographer's assistant in Brighton. The 1881 census records Harry King as a 17 year old "Photographer's Assistant" boarding with his married sister Mrs Kate Ransom at 3 Camden Terrace, Brighton. [Harry's older sister, Kate King, had married (Stephen) George Ransom, a locomotive engine driver, at Brighton in 1876]. When the next census was taken a decade later, Harry King was still living with his sister and her husband but at a different address. The 1891 census records 27 year old Harry King as a self-employed "Photographer" boarding with George & Kate Ransom at 19 New England Street, Brighton. Harry King's photographic career in Brighton ended within the next couple of years and by 1894 he was back in his home village of Hurstpierpoint.

[LEFT]  Harry King  listed as a photographer at 19 New England Street, Brighton in the 'Trades' section of the 1890 edition of Kelly's Directory of Sussex. In the 1880s, Harry King was employed as a photographer by one of the many photographic studios which were in business in Brighton during this period.

Carpenter and Part-time Photographer in Hurstpierpoint

It was in Hurstpierpoint that, in 1894, at the age of 30, Harry King married Emily Mary Knapp (born 1866, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex), the daughter of Mrs Emily Knapp, the widow of shoemaker Irad Knapp (c1836-1874). The union of Harry King and Emily Knapp produced three children - Albert William King (born 1895, Hurstpierpoint), Nelson Carnival King (born 1896, Hurstpierpoint) and Arthur Llewellyn King (born 1901, Hurstpierpoint).

When the census was taken on 31st March 1901, Harry King was recorded as a 36 year old "Carpenter Journeyman" living at 11 Cromwell Cottages, Hurstpierpoint, with his wife Emily King and their three children - Albert (aged 5), Nelson (aged 4) and Arthur, a two week old baby. Sharing Harry King's cottage in Hurstpierpoint was his mother-in-law Mrs Emily Knapp, a 59 year old widow who was working as a laundress.

Around 1900, Harry King started taking photographs of buildings in Hurstpierpoint. A few real photograph postcards depicting the Methodist Church in Cuckfield Road, Hurstpierpoint, carry the credit "H. King, Builder". Work on the Wesleyan Chapel in Cuckfield Road began in August 1909 and was completed by the end of 1910. The Hurstpierpoint Methodist Church was built in red brick in an Art Nouveau style by Harry King between 1909 and 1910. It appears that as Harry King, the builder of the chapel, was a keen amateur photographer, he took the opportunity to make a photographic record of the construction of the church. A photograph believed to have been taken by Harry King on 9th August 1909 shows the laying of the foundation stone by Mrs James Elliott of London. A real photograph postcard of the completed Wesleyan Church in Hurstpierpoint was published in the Spring of 1910 and carries the credit "H. King, Builder".

The 1911 census records Harry King with his wife and two of his three children at a house called "Wentworth" in Cuckfield Road, Hurstpierpoint. On the 1911 census return, 47 year old Harry King describes himself as a "Carpenter" working on his "Own Account" in the building trade. Two of Harry's sons, 15 year old Albert William King and 14 year old Nelson King, are recorded as apprentices in their father's business. The 1915 edition of Kelly's Directory of Sussex lists Harry King as a "Bricklayer" residing at 'Wentworth', Cuckfield Road, Hurstpierpoint.

Harry King's wife, Mrs Emily Clara King, died in Hurstpierpoint during the 3rd Quarter of 1939. It appears that after his wife's death, Harry King left Hurstpierpoint. There is a record of a death of a Harry King in Brighton in 1940. The deceased man was 77 years of age - the same age that Harry King of Hurstpierpoint would have been in 1940.

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Harry King , Photographer of 19 New England Street, Brighton (c1890).

1881 Census: 3 Camden Terrace, Brighton






George Ransom



Engine Driver (Loco.)

Hastings, Sussex
Kate Ransom



  Hurst, Sussex
George H. Ransom son


  Brighton, Sussex
Albert E. Ransom son


  Brighton, Sussex
Ellen Ransom



  Brighton, Sussex
Harry King brother-in-law


Photographer's Assistant

Hurst, Sussex
[ABOVE] Seventeen year old Harry King recorded as a "Photographer's Assistant" in the 1881 Census of Brighton. Harry King was boarding with his married sister, Mrs Kate Ransom at 3 Camden Terrace, Brighton. When George & Kate Ransom moved to 19 New England Street, Brighton, to accommodate their growing family (9 children in 1891), Harry King went with them. From around 1890, Harry King operated as a self-employed photographer from his brother-in-law's address. [See trade plate above].

[ABOVE] The laying of the foundation stone of the new Methodist Church in Cuckfield Road, Hurstpierpoint on 9th August 1909. This photograph carries the credit "Mr H. King, Wentworth, Cuckfield Road, Hurstpierpoint". It appears that the Methodist Church in Hurstpierpoint was built by Harry King.

[ABOVE] The completed Methodist Church in Hurstpierpoint, photographed in 1910. This photographic postcard is captioned "Wesleyan Church, Hurst" and carries the credit "H. King, Builder" on the front. The Wesleyan Chapel was demolished and replaced by the new Hurstpierpoint Methodist Church in 1981.

Henry "Harry" POINTER (1822-1889)

Henry Pointer was born at Marcham, Berkshire on 12 November 1822, the son of Elizabeth and John Poynter (Pointer), an agricultural labourer. ( The village of Marcham, which is situated a few miles west of Abingdon, was brought into the county of Oxfordshire in 1972, when county boundaries were changed under the Local Government Act). Henry Pointer was one of several sons born to John and Elizabeth Pointer (Poynter). Harry Pointer's siblings included William (born 1822), John (born 1826), Alfred (born 1831), Samuel (born 1833) and George Pointer (born c1835). A friend of Harry Pointer's wife later recalled that Harry and four of his brothers went into the army.

As a young man, Harry Pointer enlisted in the 1st Regiment of the Life Guards. Coming from a family of poor agricultural workers, Harry Pointer probably saw the prospect of serving in an elite army regiment charged with the duty of protecting the Queen of England as a more attractive alternative to labouring in a farmer's field.

On 11th August 1849. Harry Pointer, then serving as a corporal in the Life Guards Regiment, married the artist and painter Rosa Myra Drummond (born 1816, London), the daughter of Samuel Drummond, a well-known artist and "Member of Royal Academy".

Mrs Rosa Myra Drummond Pointer gave birth to a baby boy, during the 3rd Quarter of 1851. The child was named Harry Pointer junior after his father. [The birth was recorded in the Pancras Registration District, which covered the Regents Park area of London]. The Pointer family were still living in the area of Regents Park when a second child, Myra Pointer, was born during the 2nd Quarter of 1852.

By 1860, Henry Pointer had left the army and was residing with his wife and children in Brighton. The Pointer family set up home in College Road in the Kemp Town area of Brighton. After a period of time as an 'Instructor in Military Drill' , Henry Pointer established a photographic studio at 15 Bloomsbury Place, Brighton around 1865. An entry for "H. Pointer, photographer" of 15 Bloomsbury Place, first appeared in the 1866 edition of the Post Office Directory of Brighton. The following year, Kelly's Post Office Directory of Sussex listed "Henry Pointer, photographer, 15 Bloomsbury place" in the commercial section covering "Brighton with Hove and Cliftonville". Harry Pointer was one of thirty-four photographers listed in Harrod & Co.'s Postal & Commercial Directory of Brighton, published in 1867.

During the 1870s, Harry Pointer became well known for a series of carte-de-visite photographs which featured his pet cats. Pointer started to produce studies of animals in the late 1860s, including straight forward shots of cats resting, drinking milk or sleeping in a basket, but by 1870 he began to specialise in photographing cats in a variety of unusual poses that mimicked human activities - a cat riding a tricycle, cats roller-skating and even a cat taking a photograph with a camera. By 1872, Harry Pointer had created over one hundred different captioned images of cats. Harry Pointer's series of cat photographs became collectively known as "The Brighton Cats". The Photographic News reported that, by 1884, Pointer had published about two hundred pictures in the "The Brighton Cats" series.

Harry Pointer exhibited his photographs in London for the first time at the annual exhibition of The Photographic Society of Great Britain in 1870. Pointer went on to exhibit his work at the Society's Annual Exhibitions another eight times between 1872 and 1885. By the end of 1877, Harry Pointer had become a Member of The Photographic Society. Harry Pointer's photographic work was displayed regularly at the Photographic Society's annual exhibitions. Between 1877 and 1885 there were only two years (1880 and 1882) when his photographs were not on show at the Society's exhibition gallery in London at 5A Pall Mall East. The majority of the photographs shown by Pointer at the Photographic Society's annual exhibitions featured cats or dogs.

The 1878 edition of Kelly's Post Office Directory of Sussex lists Henry Pointer as a photographer in Brighton and Hurstpierpoint. Presumably, Henry Pointer did not operate his photographic business in Hurstpierpoint for very long. When the next edition of Kelly's Post Office Directory of Sussex was published in 1882, Henry Pointer is only listed as a photographer at 11 Bloomsbury Place, Brighton.

In 1887, at the age of sixty-five, Harry Pointer was still working as as a professional photographer.

Harry Pointer's wife, Rosa Myra Pointer, died in Brighton during the 3rd Quarter of 1888. When her death was registered, Mrs Pointer's age was given as 62, but if the official record of her birth and baptism is correct, Rosa Myra Pointer would have been seventy-one years of age when she passed away. Rosa's old friend Mrs Newton Crosland later wrote in her memoir : "At Brighton, I believe the artist (Mrs Pointer) died, to be followed to the grave in a few months by the husband (Harry Pointer), who, it was said, loved her so well that he died literally of grief for her loss."

Harry Pointer senior died at his home at 20 Bloomsbury Place, Brighton on 4th January 1889, at the age of 66. The death certificate describes Harry Pointer as a 'Photographic Artist' of 20 Bloomsbury Place, Brighton.

[ABOVE] A portrait of the Brighton photographer Harry Pointer with three of his cats, a carte-de-visite photographed at Harry Pointer's photographic studio in Bloomsbury Place, Brighton around 1880.

[PHOTO : Courtesy of Philippe Garner]

[LEFT] Harry Pointer's trade plate giving the address of his private photographic studio at 11 Bloomsbury Place, Marine Parade, Brighton (c1875). Henry Pointer had previously worked from No.15 Bloomsbury Place, Brighton.

[ABOVE] An extract from the listing of professional photographers printed in the 'Trades' section of  Kelly's Post Office Directory of Sussex published in 1878. Henry Pointer is listed as a photographer in Hurstpierpoint as well as at his usual studio at 11 Bloomsbury Place, Brighton.

William Edward SIMS (1884-1950)

William Edward Sims was born in Sutton, Surrey in 1884, the son of Eliza Ann Burrows and Edward Sims (1837-1906), a professional photographer who had previously lived in the Sussex village of Rotherfield. [The birth of William Edward Sims was registered under the name of "Edward William Sims" in the district of Epsom during the 1st Quarter of 1884].

William's father, Edward Sims, a photographer who had previously operated studios in London and Tunbridge Wells, married Eliza Ann Burrows, his second wife, in 1876. This union produced four children -  Constance Mary Sims (born 1878, Rotherfield, Sussex),  Eliza Gertrude Sims (born 1880, Rotherfield, Sussex), William Edward Sims (born 1884, Sutton, Surrey) and George Sims (born 1886, Sutton, Surrey). Between 1877 and 1881 Edward Sims had worked as a photographer in Rotherfield, but by 1884, he had left the village and was living in Sutton, Surrey. Edward Sims later moved to St Briavels, a village near Chepstow, but by 1901 he had returned to the Tunbridge Wells area.

The 1901 census records Edward Sims, a 63 year old "Photographer", living with his wife and three of his children at 36 Prospect Road, Southborough, near Tunbridge Wells. In 1901, William Edward Sims, Edward Sims' eldest son, was in domestic service and living away from home. The 1901 census records William E. Sims as a 17 year old "Footman" boarding with a widow in Speldhurst, Kent.

By the early 1900s, William Edward Sims had left domestic service and was working as a professional photographer, like his father. At one stage, William Edward Sims was based in Church Road, Rotherfield, but by the time Kelly's Directory of Sussex was published in 1905, he was listed as a professional photographer at 7 Brecon Terrace, Rotherfield.

In 1906, Edward Sims, William Sims' father, died. William Edward Sims, a professional photographer in his early twenties, joined his widowed mother and two unmarried sisters in Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. [It appears that George Sims, Edward Sims' younger brother, had died in his teens]. The Trades section of the 1907 edition of Kelly's Directory of Sussex listed William Edward Sims as a "photographer" at High Street, Hurstpierpoint.

The 1911 census records William Edward Sims at his widowed mother's house at The Cottage, Hassocks Road, Hurstpierpoint. The head of the household was Mrs Eliza Ann Sims, the 63 year old widow of Edward Sims. William Edward Sims is described on the census return as a twenty-seven year old "Photographic Artist"  working at home on his "own account". Also listed on the census return are William's two unmarried sisters, Constance Sims and Eliza Sims, both described as photographer's assistants.

William Edward Sims is recorded as a professional photographer working from his mother's house in Hassocks Road, Hurstpierpoint from 1911 until 1938.

William Edward Sims died in Brighton in 1950 at the age of 66.

Picture Postcards by William Edward Sims of Hurstpierpoint

Memorial Procession to the late King Edward VII, a real photograph postcard by W. E. Sims of Hurstpierpoint (20th May 1910).

PHOTO CREDIT: Sussex Postcards Info.

During the time that William Edward Sims was a professional photographer in Hurstpierpoint, he produced a number of 'real photograph' postcards depicting scenes and events in the village.

Rendel Williams has created an excellent website devoted to Sussex picture postcards called Sussex Postcards Info.

To view a selection of picture postcards produced by William Edward Sims, visit Rendel Williams' Sussex Postcards Info website via the following link:

William Edward Sims of Hurstpierpoint (Picture Postcards)


[ABOVE] A wedding photograph produced by William Edward Sims of Hurstpierpoint (c1911). An inscription on the back identifies the bride and maid of honour as "Winnie" and  "Lillie". Circumstantial evidence suggests that the bride and groom were Winifred Goldsmith (born 1886, Horsham, Sussex) and Albert Edward Hunter (born 1884, Burgess Hill, Sussex). Albert Edward Hunter, the manager of a coal merchants and builder's yard, married  Winifred Goldsmith, a clerk employed by a steam laundry, in the district of Cuckfield during the 3rd Quarter of 1911. The 1911 census records 23 year old  Winifred Goldsmith boarding at the home of  Mrs Bessie Hunter, Albert's mother, at "View Downs", Royal George Road, Burgess Hill. Also residing at "View Downs" was Winnie's future husband, Albert Edward Hunter, and his three unmarried sisters, Daisy, 'Lily' and Rose Hunter. Albert Hunter's younger sister Annie Beatrice Hunter (born 1887, Burgess Hill) appears to have adopted "Lily" or "Lillie" as a first name. On the 1911 census, Annie Beatrice Hunter is recorded as "Lily Hunter" and so might be the "Lillie" identified as the maid of honour in the wedding group photograph illustrated above.

PHOTO: Vonderval, Victoria, Canada


[ABOVE] William Edward Sims listed as a professional photographer at High Street, Hurstpierpoint, in the 'Trades' section  of the 1907 edition of  Kelly's Directory of Sussex. By 1911, William Edward Sims was working from his mother's cottage in Hassocks Road, Hurstpierpoint.

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