Harcourt Smith


Uckfield, looking north from the junction of Framfield Road with New Town Hill

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Harcourt Smith opened a stationery, fancy goods shop and lending library at 160 High Street, Uckfield in about 1901, remaining there until at least 1927. He published a series of coloured and monochrome collotype cards of Uckfield (for example, Copthall, the Pine Walk, Rocks Bridge, and Rocks Cottage) with his name and address on the back. Some of the coloured cards are distinctly garish, others are subtler. Harcourt Smith also issued collotypes of Piltdown Pond (labelled "H. Smith"), Ringletts Cross, East Hoathly and Nutley. Postmarks start by 1905.

Harcourt Smith may also have been the publisher of some sepia-tinted real photographic cards of Uckfield and neighbourhood in the "H. S. Series", but the manufacturer of the cards appears to have been Bender & Co. of Croydon.

An East Hoathly card is labelled on the front "Harcourt Smith, Publisher, Uckfield. Photo. Frisby" and a Nutley card is similarly labelled but on the back. Another of Harcourt Smith's collotypes, showing Budlett Rocks at Uckfield, is also based on a Frisby photograph, but in this case without acknowledgement even though Frisby himself published a real photographic card using the same photograph.

The variety of cards that Harcourt Smith issued suggests that he ordered them from several different printing firms. Whether he took any photographs himself is unclear. He may have relied entirely on John Frisby and other photographers. However, a real photographic card of the village stores at Brook Street, with a 1931 postmark, showing the proprietor and her cat in the doorway, is labelled on the front "Photo Smith Uckfield", which suggests that Harcourt Smith may have been the photographer as well as perhaps the publisher.

In 1924 Harcourt Smith was secretary of the Uckfield and District Trade Protection Association.

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