F. W. Ward


Culver House, North Road, Lancing

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Ward published a limited number of mostly rather unexciting real photographic cards of Lancing and Shoreham. The black and white photographs are often a rather uniform grey and lacking in contrast; others have faded and acquired a distinct yellowish cast. Cards with sepia-tinted photographs are also known. Only some cards have borders. The captions are written in plain capitals, in some cases by hand, in other cases apparently using a hand-held printing device. To the right of the captions the photographs are labelled "Photo by Ward, Lancing" or "Photo Ward. Shoreham".

Several cards show Lancing beach with its bathing huts and holidaymakers, or Shoreham beach with the Bungalow Town behind. Yet other cards show roads and houses in Shoreham and Lancing (e.g. Culver House in North Road in Lancing and Beach Green Parade, Shoreham) and the old Norfolk Bridge, demolished in 1922, as well as its replacement. All the postmarks seen have been from the early to mid-1920s.

Ward has not yet been satisfactorily identified, despite the best efforts of several investigators. Ward is a common enough surname and unfortunately the cards do not record his initials or precise address. None of the Directories consulted list him as a photographer. The 1921 Census when released may serve to pinpoint just who he was, but at the time of writing the only useful clue is provided by a notice spotted by Roger Bateman of Shoreham, which appeared in the 1923 Shoreham Carnival and Regatta programme. This stated that "F. W. Ward, photographer, Shoreham, will be photographing the events of this carnival. Photographs on sale at Edwards, confectioner, High Street, next to Schooner, Shoreham".

Discovering Ward's initials although a major step forward does not resolve the mystery of who he was. Suspicion might seem to fall on Frank Ward, who held Lancing College Farm in 1924 and was still in charge in 1933-34 (see Worthing and Sussex Directories) but no evidence has been found to suggest that he had a middle name beginning with W. Moreover it is difficult to imagine that as a farmer he would have had enough time to publish postcards. And if he had, surely he would have concentrated on producing cards of the downs rather than the coast? For the moment the assumption must be that the creator of the cards was a different Ward who settled only briefly in Shoreham or Lancing before moving elsewhere.

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