James Jarrett


The Lord Mayor of London's visit to Bexhill. Ceremonies at the Town Hall

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Boarding house keeper and photographer, Bexhill. Jarrett is first listed in Bexhill Directories in 1906 when he was living at Ewart Lodge, 13 Jameson Road, just east of the railway station. His principal source of income seems to have been renting out rooms, although he was also busy acquiring expertise as a photographer. In August 1906 he registered his ownership as author and copyright holder of photograph of Sangers' circus elephants taken at Buckhurst Place and in St Leonards Road at Bexhill. In 1908 and 1909, he began operating as a professional photographer, with a studio at 12 Western Road, Bexhill.

Jarrett published only a limited number of real photographic cards, which he probably printed himself. The photographs, which lack borders, are sepia tinted, and most have faded rather badly. Captions are often missing, but when present are either hand written (in an italic script or else in blocky capitals) or more often printed using a simple, presumably hand-held device. Jarrett's name and address are printed on the back of most of the cards, but anonymous cards can also be found. His postcard publishing was on such a small scale it could not have been very remunerative.

One of Jarrett's captionless cards shows the newly built and imposing Metropolitan Convalescent Home at Cooden Down, opened in 1905. Unidentified terraced houses and street corners in Bexhill feature on some other cards. Jarrett was evidently a keen supporter of the local hunt, the Bexhill Harriers, and a great many cards show meetings of the hunt in 1906, 1907 and, it is believed, 1908. It seems likely that he took photographs of the hounds, huntsmen and hunt followers at the start of meetings, and then rushed back to Ewart Lodge or to his Western Road studio in order to develop the pictures and have cards ready to sell to everyone when the hunt was over.

One of the most interesting of Jarrett's cards entitled "Lord Mayor's Visit, Bexhill" shows the opening of the newly built Town Hall in 1895, performed by the Lord Mayor of London, who brought his sheriffs and ceremonial coach to add pomp and colour to the celebrations. Perhaps the card was issued to mark the 10th anniversary of the visit. The existence of the card suggests that Jarrett may have been living in Bexhill and practising photography as early as 1895.

Jarrett has not been identified in the 1901 and earlier censuses, and nothing is known about his family background. Kelly's 1907 Sussex Directory lists a Miss Emilie Jarrett, a milliner at 64 Devonshire Road in Bexhill, while the 1909 edition lists a Miss Ada Jarrett, who managed apartments at 48 Parkhurst Road. Whether they were relatives of James Jarrett, however, remains to be discovered. Kelly's 1909 Directory also refers to a Miss M. Jarrett, photographer, at 12 Western Road, Bexhill. Was she Jarrett's daughter or sister?

Jarrett evidently had difficulty attracting sufficient business as a photographer at Bexhill and by 1910 he closed his studio. Pike's 1910 Hastings Directory lists Jarrett & Co., photographers, at 194 Queen's Road, Hastings, so perhaps he moved to Hastings, but if so success continued to elude him and he soon moved on. By the time the 1911 Hastings Directory was compiled, Archibald Breach had acquired the Queens Road studio.

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