Southern section of Tarring High Street near the George and Dragon
Photographic materials dealers, 24 Chapel Road, Worthing. Spencer & Co. opened for business in about 1904, but in 1911 they were taken over by Henry Loader, becoming Loader's Photo Stores.
Spencer & Co. produced sepia tinted real photographic cards of Worthing and nearby villages such as Findon and Burpham. The photographs are often rather dark and blackish (though not in the example shown above) and generally have no borders. The captions are written in blocky capitals, followed by a serial number. The highest number seen is 305 and it is reasonable to assume that at least this many cards were issued. The cards are labelled on the back "Spencer's Photo Stores, 24 Chapel Rd., Worthing".
Rob Blann in his book Edwardian Worthing (1991, privately published, page 118) reproduces a postcard of the Mayor of Worthing on the Town Hall steps reading the proclamation of King George V on May 9, 1910. He notes that it was purchased from Spencer's Photo Stores at 3.30 p.m. on the day of the proclamation. Evidently, the firm could work fast to get cards ready for sale.
Some of the last cards that Spencer & Co. produced record the Coronation Parade in June 1911 in Worthing. Two reproduced by Blann (page 133) have captions written seemingly quite hurriedly, in untidy capitals. On one card the letter "S" is reversed, demonstrating that the captions were written directly on the negatives in what was intended to be mirror style.
Many Spencer cards were postally used long after Loader's acquisition of the business, which suggests that he inherited significant stocks of cards that he then slowly sold off. Some of Loader's own cards strongly resemble the Spencer cards and could possibly be re-issues, though this has not been proven.
The owner of Spencer & Co. has not been identified. He or she does not seem to have been any of the Spencers recorded as living in Worthing in the 1901 and 1911 censuses. Contemporary Directories list Spencer & Co., but do not name the owner.To directory of publishers
Design: Lucid Design