Edward Leonard Carr


Poynings from the slope below the Dyke Hotel

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Photographer, first at Tunbridge Wells and then at Brighton. Carr was born at 175 Fulham Road in Chelsea on May 1, 1874. He was the son of John Charles Carr, a draper (born 1825 or 1826 at Fakenham, Norfolk) and Rebecca Sarah Carr (née Popham, born in 1831 or 1832 in Kentish Town), and had two sisters: Kate Maude Carr (born 1858 at Chelsea) and Ada Maria Carr (born 31 July, 1859 at Chelsea). When the 1881 census was held, Kate had left home, but the rest of the Carr family were still living at 175 Fulham Road.

In 1901 Carr was 26 and living at 24 Monsoon Colonnade in central Tunbridge Wells, with his now widowed mother, who was working from home as a draper, and his sister, Ada, who was a milliner. Carr had begun working as a photographer in partnership with another photographer, Herbert Joseph Hopperton, who had been born at Salehurst in Sussex in 1877. The two men had established a studio called Carr & Hopperton at 33 & 35 Camden Road in Tunbridge Wells in about 1900. The following year they opened a branch at 37 High Street in East Grinstead, and a third branch followed in about 1905 at 34 Kings Road, Brighton, close to the Old Ship Hotel. Many studio portraits by Carr and Hopperton survive, but no postcards are known.

Carr married Eliza (Elizabeth) Warrener, daughter of Thomas Warrener, a grocer, at the Registry Office in Tunbridge Wells on October 30, 1901. A year older than her husband, she gave her address as 77 St. Johns Road, Tunbridge Wells. Carr was still living in Monsoon Colonnade.

David Simkin ( reports that on March 2, 1906 Carr and Hopperton dissolved their partnership. The East Grinstead studio was sold to Ernest Watts, and in 1926 it was taken over by Harold Connold. Carr took sole charge of the Brighton studio, which was called the "Naroly", handing over full control of the studio in Tunbridge Wells to Hopperton, who continued to run it until 1914 or later. Carr, however, closed the Naroly by 1907 and moved to 75 Havelock Road in Brighton's Preston district where he remained until at least 1912. Kelly's 1907 Sussex Directory lists his wife, Eliza, and sister, Ada Carr, as dressmakers at Havelock Road.

By 1918 Carr moved with Eliza and Ada to 38 New England Road. Kelly's Sussex Directories from 1918 to 1929 list Eliza and Ada as trade photographers at this address, but for some strange reason omit to mention Carr, yet the Electoral Registers confirm that he was still living with them. Directories from 1930 to 1938 list E. and C. Carr as trade photographers at the New England Road address. The Electoral Registers reveal that "C" was John Charles Carr, who may have been Elizabeth and Edward's son.

Kelly's 1949 Directory records that Carr was still working as a photographer at his New England address, even though he was well past normal retirement age. The Electoral Registers make no mention of Ada and John Charles. Whether they had died or merely moved elsewhere has not yet been investigated. Carr died on December 17, 1949, leaving effects of £331 to his widow, Eliza. She continued to be registered as a voter for three years, but then there is no further mention of her, which suggests that she also had passed away.

Carr began publishing real photographic postcards on a small scale in the summer of 1906. The photographs were probably all originally sepia toned, but many have become faded and yellowed with agee. They have handwritten captions in neat blocky capitals and often 3 digit serial numbers. Some cards are labelled "N & Co." and most are blind stamped "Naroly, 34 Kings Road, Brighton". Ordinary view cards (showing, for example, the Dome and Queen's Park in Brighton) have borders. However, cards of special events generally lack borders. Subjects included the opening of Hove Park on May 24, 1906 (Empire Day), a Band of Hope celebration at Preston Park, Brighton on June 6, 1906 (at least six cards), Brighton Horse Parade in the same month, the annual St Peter's Garden Party on July 5, 1906, a Masonic Garden Party at the Royal Pavilion on July 9, 1906, the Handcross motor-bus accident three days later, and a "B. L. B. Camp" at Horsted Keynes in August 1906. Surprisingly, Arthur Corder published the same photograph of the Garden Party in his real photographic series, while Rudolf Handwerck issued a coloured halftone card based on the photograph in his Pictorial Centre series. Perhaps, all three photographers attended the Party and agreed to share the best negative.

During 1907 Carr set up the Press Photo Company, abbreviated to P.P. Co. and over the next six years he published large numbers of real photographic cards: some sepia toned, others black and white. The cards typically have white borders and captions written in blocky capitals, which often slope slightly backwards. Some of the capitals (particularly the letters A, G, H, K and R) often have short right-side descenders. The photographs, originally rather greyish sepia, have a tendency to become yellow and faded with age. Usually, the cards are labelled "P. P. Co." on the front and "Press Photo Co., 75 Havelock Road, Brighton" on the back.

In keeping with the title of his company, Carr specialised in producing cards of topical events. The earliest card found so far shows the funeral of Mr Edward Eager, J. P. at Hove on July 4, 1907. On August 15, Carr recorded the visit of the Calais Municipal Band and on September 14 the funeral of the Bishop of Chichester. October saw him photographing storm damage to Brighton promenade, and an Egyptian Bazaar at Hove Town Hall.

1908 saw a big increase in card production. On April 4 Carr recorded the funeral of a fireman, W. N. Nicholson, in Brighton. Five cards show "Messrs Lewonski & Sons' furniture depository, Shirley St., Hove. Destroyed by fire 18/4/08". Ever popular with collectors is a real photographic card showing the arrival in Brighton of Mr. Vanderbilt's coach "Venture" on April 22, 1908. Several cards of unseasonable "April Snow" in Preston Park are dated "24/4/08". Only slightly later is a real photographic card of the Vanderbilt coach leaving the Hotel Metropole for London on May 5, 1908. Carr issued at least 3 cards recording the opening of St Ann's Well Gardens at Hove on May 23, 1908 and a further 14 cards showing the Empire Day Celebrations at Hove on the following day. On July 5 he photographed the Lewes Road Congregational Church Outing (repeating the exercise the next year and issuing in all at least 13 cards), and then on July 8 the opening of Hove Public Library, followed on July 18 by the Brighton Hospital Saturday Parade. On September 2 he recorded the visit of officers of the French Fire Brigade to Brighton (issuing at least six cards). Also in September he published a card of the smouldering remains of Malling Windmill at Lewes. Carr or an assistant must have arrived quite quickly on the scene as smoke can be seen still rising into the air. A series of cards were produced of the funeral of Lieut. Pearson at Hove on November 23. On December 29, 1908 Carr photographed different areas of Brighton under snow. His consistently excellent series of snow scenes, including cards of the tramway snow plough and the beach thickly blanketed in snow, are keenly collected and increasingly difficult to find.

In 1909 Carr attended yet more funerals, including those of Mr J. Kingsborough (Ringmer, January 27), Mrs L. V. Lacroix (Brighton, March 17 - at least 6 cards), Mr A.G. Sheppard (Brighton, March 27 - at least 9 cards), Canon Peacey (Hove, April 6 - at least 8 different cards), Mr C.B. Fitzroy, a Crimean veteran (Brighton, June 29) and Private F. Pollard (Brighton, December 1). He also published cards of the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards parading in Brighton, a military camp in Arundel Park, "Mr. Vanderbilt's Coach, Venture. Season 1909", the laying of the Foundation Stone at the new Victoria Hospital in Lewes on June 9, Royal Navy cruisers off Brighton on June 22, and the accident to the Royal Mail Motor Van on August 25 at Preston Park (at least three different cards). October 1909 brought major floods in the Ouse valley at Lewes and in the Adur valley at Bramber and Henfield, which Carr photographed and published as a series of 9 or more cards. What was presumably his last card of the year records the Church Parade of the Brighton and Hove Territorials on December 28 in Brighton.

Carr was again busy in 1910. In January he issued several cards showing the laying of the foundation stone for a new "institute" at the Primitive Methodist Church in London Road, Brighton. On February 8 he recorded a meeting of the Brighton Foot Beagles at Patcham and in the same month he went to Lewes to photograph the ceremonial opening of Lewes Assizes. On a miserably wet day, he also attended the opening ceremonies at the Victoria Hospital in Lewes. More cards followed in April, showing the French football team's tour of Brighton. On Easter Monday he photographed the start of the walking race between Reg Mitchell and Thomas Beck from the Court Theatre to the Devils Dyke. In May he issued at least five cards of the proclamation of King George V at Brighton (the BVC and other publishers also depicted the event). Other cards record the return of the Vanderbilt coach to Brighton. At least eight cards show the fire ravaged remains of "Withdean Priory", an aspirationally named Victorian villa on the northern edge of Brighton, which caught alight on June 6 after being struck by lightning. Striking a happier note, Carr recorded the St Martin's Sunday School Procession on June 15, issuing at least seven different cards. In December he published a card showing the announcement of the Election results at Brighton.

1911 and 1912 seem to have been quieter years, but at Easter 1911 Carr issued at least 4 cards of the London Division of the R. N. V. R. on exercises at Newhaven and Seaford. In June the same year he produced at least 14 cards of the Coronation Celebrations at Newhaven, while in November he returned to Bramber to photograph more floods. He also photographed troops marching at an unspecified location. In addition he produced a number of cards of the funeral of Sir William Grantham at Barcombe. In June 1912 he recorded a "Masonic stone laying ceremony" at the new Brighton Grammar School, and in the same summer recorded the Kent Brigade camp at Worthing.

Although Carr was particularly concerned to record "events", he also issued large numbers of conventional view cards of the main thoroughfares and back streets of Brighton, in vigorous competition with the Brighton View Co. His two views of St James's Street are particularly fine. He also published cards of Lewes, Patcham, Portslade (notably the railway station and a schooner unloading timber in Aldrington Basin), Southwick, Steyning and Bramber (including the tea gardens -several 1910 postmarks have been seen). Other cards include "Poynings from the Dyke" (numbered 1076), "The landslip at Rottingdean" (undated), and at least two cards of the oxen at Lade's Farm at Falmer, which were the last working team in the Lewes-Brighton area. Mr Lade sold his farm and his oxen in the autumn of 1912, so the photographs must have been taken before this date.

Peter Booth (Withdean) has discovered that the S.P.P. Agency re-issued one of Carr's cards of Preston Park in the snow (April 1908) with a new caption that made no reference to the date. Presumably the Agency obtained Carr's permission. It would be interesting to know whether the Agency re-issued any other Carr cards and whether he ever became a stakeholder in the Agency.

During 1912 Carr seems to have linked up with the newly formed Mezzograph Co. of Brighton. Cards of Lewes (e.g. The Pells, 1912 postmark) and Ditchling have been found that are marked PPCo. on the front in the usual manner but on the back are labelled "Brighton Mezzograph Co., York Hill". The Mezzograph Co. issued its own cards of the Falmer oxen, which had a different design to the PPCo. cards, but similarly punctuated titles. Thus 'Sussex Oxen - "A Rest". Falmer ' is a PPCo. card, but 'Sussex Oxen - "Ploughing". Falmer' is a Mezzograph card. It looks as if Carr transferred production of his cards to Mezzograph, and when this company folded in 1913 he decided to withdraw altogether from issuing postcards. The difficult trading conditions during the war years would have provided him with a further reason for abandoning postcard production. When the war was over, however, he seems to have had a brief change of heart as a card that has been found, initialled "E. L. C.", showing the unveiling of the Indian Memorial Gateway at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton on October 26, 1921.

It is difficult to determine how many real photographic cards Carr issued during his time as a postcard publisher, but he was undoubtedly very prolific. The highest numbered card found to date is 1448, which shows Lewes Crescent in Brighton. Runners up include 1358 ("Rough sea near Palace Pier, Brighton"), 1289 (Hollis's Tea Garden, Bramber) and a view of St. Mary's at Bramber, numbered 1274 (with an August 1908 postmark). Unfortunately, little reliance can be placed on Carr's numbering system. Nearly all his cards have numbers above 1000 and many seem to have been allocated numbers out of sequence. Nevertheless, he is likely to have published well over a thousand cards, possibly even as many as 2000.

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