George Garland


The smithy near Halleluyah Corner at Fittleworth, photographed in October 1933. It closed in the 1950s

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Photographer, Station Road Studio, Petworth. Peter Jerrome and Jonathan Newdick discuss George Garland's life as a photographer and provide selections of his photographs in their five books published by Window Press (Petworth):

Garland was born on May 4, 1900 at 113 Preston Road in Brighton. His father was another George Garland and his mother was Lily May Griffin, daughter of James Griffin, a farmer. His father died not long after he was born, and on June 21, 1908, his mother remarried. Her new husband was Henry Streeter, who kept the Railway Inn (now the Badger and Honeyjar), just outside Petworth, and was also a "job master". The son of an agricultural labourer, Henry was 21 years older than Lily according to the marriage certificate (18 years, if the 1911 census is correct) and must have seemed more like a grandfather than a father to his young stepson.

After attending Midhurst Grammar School, George Garland worked for a short time in a Hampshire bank before returning to Petworth in about 1922 to become a photographer. He married Phyllis Sarah Knight ("Sally"), a supply teacher turned journalist, in 1928. There were no children. Sally died in 1965 and George followed, after a long illness, in February 1978.

George Garland had a struggle to establish himself as a photographer because demand for studio portraits was fast declining. He decided to specialise in supplying newspapers and periodicals with photographs of rustic "characters", hunting scenes and nostalgic farming landscapes, mostly taken around Petworth or near Amberley. He had a flair for capturing dying traditional crafts and archaic customs, as well as recording the changes wrought by the motorcar and tractor. Garland's own motorcycle and sidecar feature in a number of his pictures from about 1926 onwards.

Garland published surprisingly few postcards, mainly of Petworth and Fittleworth. Sometimes he put his name on the front of the cards, but others are stamped on the back in blue ink "G.G. Garland, Petworth" (with the words fitted into an ellipse) or "George G. Garland, Photographer, Petworth" (set out as an unenclosed line of print). Cards of a procession through an unidentified town and a hunt meeting presumably near Petworth are stamped "Copyright, Garland, Petworth", again as a one-liner.

Garland's cards mostly record local events, such as fairs and football matches. They seldom feature his more celebrated photographs of rural crafts and craftsmen, which he reproduced as prints.

Nearly 70,000 of Garland's negatives are preserved by West Sussex Record Office, which in the late 1980s allowed Downsway Postcards of Chichester to reproduce a selection as postcards.

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