Everard Ernest Oldacre


"Hay time"

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Resident of Upper Beeding and later Steyning.

Some scarce, sepia-tinted real photographic cards of Beeding and the Downs at Poynings with white borders are marked "Oldacre" on the front. This is an unusual surname in Sussex, and, although no initials are given, it is reasonable to assume that the publisher was Everard Oldacre, who is listed as a private resident at Oak Cottage in Upper Beeding in Kelly's 1915 Sussex Directory. There is no mention of him in the 1911 and 1918 editions. The 1919 Electoral Register lists him as a voter (with his wife Mary) at a house called Bonnington at Steyning and at another house, Bramburye, close to the railway station at Bramber, but this time without Mary. The couple may have been in the process of moving house or perhaps Everard had acquired Bramburye as an investment. The Autumn 1920 Register lists them both at Glebe Cottage in Beeding. Within a few years they moved to a house called The Homestead in Upper Beeding.

Oldacre cards have uneven handwritten captions and a serial number. The highest seen is 15, which suggests that only a few cards were produced. Subjects include "From Beeding Hill", "Haytime" and "Harvesting at Beeding". A 1928 postmark is the earliest reported, and all the cards employ a style of preprinted back that became popular with Sussex publishers in 1927.

A card of The Homestead viewed from the kitchen garden may have been produced for personal and family use. It is labelled R8 in contrast to other Oldacre cards, whose serial numbers lack a letter prefix.It too has a 1927 style back.

Oldacre was born on December 28, 1871 at Oakley in Croxall in the Tamworth area of Staffordshire. His father, Walter Oldacres, held a 230 acre farm (Broadfields) and employed 15 men and a boy. Walter had been born at Normanton Turville in Leicestershire in about 1833. Everard's mother was Helen Oldacres, née Norman, who had been born in about 1838 at Cosford in Warwickshire if the 1881 and 1891 censuses are to be believed, though the 1871 census says Leicestershire while the 1901 census plumps for Rugby in Warwickshire!

Walter and Helen Oldacres had had five children before Everard was born, and employed a governess to look after them all. The oldest child was Gertrude Mary Oldacres, born in 1859. She was followed in 1861 by Arthur James Oldacres, then Albert Norman Oldacres in 1862, Maud Oldacres in about 1864 and Walter Lionel Oldacres in 1865. Walter Oldacres failed to register Everard's birth until the end of May 1872, which nowadays would have earned him a stiff reprimand and a fine.

For some unknown reason Walter Oldacres decided during the 1870s to shorten his surname to Oldacre and the rest of his family followed suit. By the time the 1881 census was held he had given up the farm, left Staffordshire and become an "accountant's clerk". He and his family lived in a house in Church Lane in Marple in Cheshire. Everard, who was still a schoolboy, is listed in the census as Edward E. Oldacre! His brother Albert was a railway clerk while Walter Lionel was an apprentice. In 1891 Everard and his parents were still living at Marple. His father is described in the census as a "land agent". Everard, who was a warehouse clerk, is listed as Ernest Oldacre. Maud, who had returned to live at home, was a schoolmistress. By 1901 Walter and Helen had retired to Southport in Lancashire, and Maud had moved to South Manchester, where she was a district nurse. Everard (now listed as Ernest E. Oldacre) lived with her and worked a cashier at a glass works. It seems likely that he was often called Ernest in preference to Everard.

Everard (or Ernest) married Mary Connard at the Parish Church of Musbury between Accrington and Bury in Lancashire on July 8, 1902, when he was 30 years old. The marriage certificate records that he was a secretary, living at the Vicarage at nearby Helmshaw. Mary, who was a year older than Everard, was living in Southport and was the daughter of David Connard, a deceased decorator. His eldest sister, Gertrude Oldacre, attended the wedding.

In 1928 Sussex County Magazine published a photograph by Oldacre of Old Shoreham Bridge as a two-page spread.

Oldacre died on February 4, 1940 at his home, Little Coldharbour, at Spinney Lane roundabout at Pulborough, leaving effects of £1305. He described himself in his will as a "gentleman", which suggests that he enjoyed private means. He was survived by his wife, Mary, who was granted probate in the name of Mary Oldacres.

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