J. J. Payne


Gale wrecked house at Bexhill, September 1903

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Photographer, 69a Devonshire Road, Bexhill. Payne is listed as a photographer in 1903 and 1904 Bexhill Directories, but he appears to have left the town by 1905. He specialised in portrait photography at his Devonshire Studio, but advertised that he also undertook outdoor photography. He seems to have published very few postcards during his stay in Bexhill. The example shown here is a black and white real photographic of a severely storm damaged house in Bexhill. Cheerfully labelled "Breezy Bexhill" and "After the Gale", it is dated "10.9.03". The words "Payne. Photo. Bexhill." are written at the base of the photograph, which lacks borders.

It is not known why Payne decided to leave Bexhill, but perhaps he found he was facing too much competition from photographers such as Hellier and Vieler.

If he has been correctly identified, the Bexhill photographer was John James Payne, who had been born at Derby in 1878 and was the son of Joshua Payne, a plasterer (born at Derby in about 1855) and Sarah A. Payne (born about a year later at Burton on Trent). The Payne family lived at 26 Stanhope Street at Normanton in Derbyshire. When the 1891 census was held, John James Payne was staying with his maternal grandfather, John Bannister, a cooper, at 100 Moor Street in Burton on Trent. In 1901 the census records that he was living with his parents (and sisters Emily and Helena) at 41 Holmes Street in Derby. Like his father, John James had become a plasterer. Why he then moved to Sussex to become a photographer is unclear. In 1907 he married Gertrude Emily Jane Alison at Oldham in Lancashire. She had been born in Barrow in Furness in 1882 and in 1901 was working as an actress at Bacup in Lancashire. The 1911 census lists the couple at 41 Cheverton Avenue at the seaside resort of Withernsea near Hull. John James was continuing to work as a photographer. He produced large numbers of portrait postcards at his studio at 106 Anlaby Road in Hull before, during and after the First World War. Some of the cards were labelled "J. J. Payne, Hull and Grimsby", so perhaps he set up studios in both towns. His wife's death was registered at Fylde in Lancashire in 1943, his own at Buckrose in the East Riding ten years later, in 1953.

Acknowledgement: Adrian Vieler has spent much time investigating archival sources, and has provided invaluable assistance.

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