Metropole & Grand Hotels, Brighton
Archibald Cheshire and Alfred Philip Mighell were photographers and suppliers of photographic materials at 68a Preston Street and 20A Regency Square in Brighton. They founded their business in late 1902 or early 1903. An advertisement in Kelly's 1903 Sussex Directory promised "developing, printing and enlarging within 24 hours" and offered clients a "vast assortment of cameras and up-to-date accessories" at the firm's "Photo Stores" in Preston Street, which were equipped with a "large well-fitted dark room".
Cheshire and Mighell were still in business in 1907, but ceased trading by 1909. They had to compete with a great many other Brighton photographers and suppliers of photographic materials, and may have had difficulty making the business pay. Even in Preston Street they had three rivals: E. Hawkins & Co. were photographers at Number 32, at Number 38 Thomas Gimson Foster had started up in business as a photographer and postcard publisher, while at Number 62 Thomas Roles, although mainly an engraver and stationer, was also publishing cards.
During their few years together Cheshire & Mighell published some stylish real photographic cards of Brighton. The black and white photographs are impressed within wide white borders and have printed titles. The firm's name and address is printed on the back. In addition to the general views, Cheshire & Mighell published a halftone card showing the wreck of the Antelope at Brighton in April 1904. A real photographic version of the same view has been reported.
In the opening years of the last century, "Professor" Reddish, a stunt cyclist, entertained the crowds on Brighton's West Pier by riding rapidly down a ramp that protruded from the edge of the pier, aiming to cover as much distance as possible before falling into the sea. Capturing the fast moving Reddish "flying the foam" was a challenge for contemporary photographers with their slow film and clumsy cameras. One particularly successful halftone card, which was on sale by early 1905, is labelled "Photo by Cheshire and Mighell". Whether the two partners restricted their role to supplying the photograph or actually published the card has not been established, but the photograph certainly demonstrates their technical skill.
Electoral Registers list both Cheshire and Mighell as Regency Square voters, but note that Cheshire had property at 63 Upper North Street in Brighton and Mighell at 7 Vine Place. In 1906, when registering his copyright of a photograph entitled "Mixed Bathing" showing two children sharing a tin bath, Mighell cited 7 Vine Place as his address, which may indicate that is where he actually lived.
It is not known what happened to Mighell after the Brighton business closed and he parted company with Cheshire. Within a few years, however, an Archibald Cheshire, who is very likely to have been his former partner, set up in business as a fancy stationer at 187 Langney Road in Eastbourne. Cheshire is listed at Langney Road in Gowland's 1912 and Pike's 1914 Eastbourne Directories and in Kelly's 1915 and 1918 Sussex Directories, but not the 1922 edition. By 1923-4 he had become a wholesale stationer at 3 Sutton Road in Eastbourne. He was still trading at this address in 1934.
Cheshire sold sepia real photographic cards of Eastbourne with no borders, and green printed backs marked "Published by A. Cheshire, Eastbourne". The card illustrated shows the replacement entrance pavilions to Eastbourne Pier (erected in 1912). Other cards show, for example, Holywell and the Wish Tower. As a wholesale stationer he may have supplied these cards to a variety of shops around the town.To directory of publishers
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