Arthur John Lyle (London & Counties Studios)


Cottingham & Sons, Horsham steam haulage contractors (damaged card)

To home page
To directory of publishers
To gallery

Photographer, Horsham. Lyle was born on May 18, 1876 at Stratton, on the outskirts of Bude in Cornwall. His father, John Blake Lyle, was the local returning officer and registrar, but had previously been a farmer in the neighbouring village of Launcells. It was John Lyle who authorised the entry of his own son in the register of births - there cannot have been many other postcard publishers whose fathers acted in this capacity!

Arthur's mother was Mary Maria Lyle, formerly Davey, who had been born in Sunderland in about 1849. She was 21 years younger than her husband, and was his second wife.

Soon after Arthur Lyle was born, his parents moved to London, where his father died early in 1879, aged only 51. When the 1881 census was held, Arthur Lyle was living with his widowed mother and elder sisters, Annie E. Lyle (aged 9) and Ada M. Lyle (aged 7) at a house at 73a Bromells Road in Clapham. The head of household, James W. Lyle, was 29 and a son of John Blake Lyle by his first marriage. He too worked as a returning officer. Also present in the house was Emmanuel Lyle, another son from John's first marriage, who was 23 and a tailor. James and Emmanuel had both been born at Launcells, as had Annie and Ada.

In 1898 Arthur married Louisa Annie Eliza Jary (or Jerry, as the name is spelled in the index of marriages) in West Ham. She had been born in Lowestoft in Suffolk in 1875, and was the daughter of a customs officer, George Jary. When the 1901 census was taken, she and Arthur were living at 77 Navarino Road in Hackney. She is described as a clothier and Arthur as a draper and outfitter.

It is not known how Arthur came to acquire his knowledge of photography. Perhaps he worked for a year or two as an assistant to an established photographer in London or Sussex. In 1909 or 1910 he took over the existing photographic business of Chart & Co. at 41 West Street in Horsham, renaming it the London & Counties Studios. He and Louisa set up home either over the studios or in rooms behind. The 1911 census does not record that they had any children, but notes that Arthur employed 25-year-old Annie Naish from Wallingford in Berkshire as a photograph retoucher. She lived with the Lyles and had an adopted son, Robert Naish, who was three.

Arthur Lyle seems to have quickly made a success of his West Street business, which he continued to operate until his death in 1934. At the end of the First World War he opened an additional studio at 18 Carfax.

Lyle published a miscellany of black and white real photographic postcards of local people, Edwardian villas, bungalows, church interiors, groups of entertainers and so forth, but as far as is known no general view or topographic cards. Some of his cards have borders, but the majority lack borders. All too often the cards are captionless. They are, however, all labelled on the back "Photo by London & Counties Studios, Horsham" or "Photo by London & Counties Studios (A. Lyle, Proprietor), Horsham". A 1911 postmark has been noted.

Lyle's will, drawn up in 1927, indicates that he had separated from his wife, who was living at 128 Ridley Road in Forest Gate, London. He designated Annie Naish, who continued to live with him, as his executor. Robert Samuel Lyle, presumably the former Robert Naish, is described in the will as his "natural son". Robert was living with Arthur and Annie at 41 West Street. Arthur died at the age of 58 on March 14, 1934 at West Street, leaving effects of £1884.

To directory of publishers
To gallery

Design: Lucid Design