Fuller & Clayton


Chandelier, Banqueting Rooms, Royal Pavilon, Brighton

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Photographers, 12b Marlborough Place, Brighton. Fuller & Clayton opened for business in about 1921, but were gone by 1927. One of their earliest cards shows the Indian Chattri at Patcham shortly before or just after its opening in February 1921. They went on to publish a range of captionless cards of the Brighton Carnival of 1922 or 1923, including detailed views of individual floats. Many of the cards were embossed with their name and address. Fuller & Clayton also issued cards of members of Astley's Circus parading in central Brighton and in 1925 the Harvest Festival decorations at York Place Social Centre.

Fuller & Clayton seem to have been particularly concerned to cater for the holiday trade. They produced a variety of black and white real photographic cards, sometimes a little smaller than standard size, recording the many tourist attractions on Brighton seafront. The cards, which lack captions, but are embossed "Fuller & Clayton, 12b Marlborough Place, Brighton" show, for example, holidaymakers riding donkeys along the front, enjoying a game of clock golf, and having fun in the tiny boats on the boating pool on the Lower Parade. It seems likely that these cards were sold directly to tourists on the seafront rather than in shops. A card of four holidaymakers relaxing in deckchairs on Brighton beach was presumably prepared to order by a roving photographer and is dated 16 September 1925 in pencil on the back.

Fuller & Clayton were chosen to take photographs of the Royal Pavilion for a series of at least 20 photogravure cards that were sold by Brighton Corporation. The cards showed both the interior of the building, including the chandeliers, and its exterior, as well as the then beautifully maintained gardens.

Two captionless cards embossed "W. Fuller, 12b Marlborough Place, Brighton" have been found, which show a carnival float and an unidentified group of circus entertainers. They are undated, and unposted, and there is no indication whether they were produced by Fuller before he entered into partnership with Clayton, or after the partnership ended.

Street Directories and Voters' Registers provide no evidence that Fuller and Clayton ever lived at 12b Marlborough Place or indeed nearby. There were several William and Walter Fullers living elsewhere in Brighton and Hove in the early 1920s, and several Claytons, but which two ran the Marlborough Place business has yet to be established. A possible lead that needs to be followed up is provided by a captionless and undated card of military drummers (supposedly from the 9th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment) parading at a tented camp, perhaps at Falmer. The card is not pre First World War as might be supposed, but later because it is stamped on the back in purple ink "W. Fuller, 35 The Crescent, Moulsecoombe, Brighton". Development of the Moulsecoombe Estate began in 1920; mid 1920s Directories list a W. C. Fuller at 35 The Crescent. Could he have been the same Fuller who around this date published cards in partnership with Clayton, ostensibly from 12b Marlborough Place?

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