George Henry Gillham


Clock Tower and White Lion Hotel, Brighton

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Newsagent and stationer, Brighton. Gillham set up in business as a stationer at 7 Trafalgar Street in Brighton in 1901. By 1904 he was trading as a newsagent at 7 Trafalgar Street and as a stationer at 77 North Road. Pike's 1908 Brighton Directory reveals that a Mrs Gillham had taken charge of the Trafalgar Street shop and that George was operating as a wholesale stationer at 32 and 77 North Road and at 10 Queens Place (he acquired the latter shop in 1904). By 1915 he was trading as a newsagent at 32 North Road and as a wholesale newsagent at 9 and 10 Circus Street. Fifteen years later he was still at these three addresses. Not long afterwards his son joined the business. By the late 1930s he and his son had left Circus Street, but continued to trade at 32 North Road. Mrs Julia Gillham was still a stationer at 7 Trafalgar Road.

In the late 1920s Gillham opened a motor garage at 43 George Street, which by 1938 was known as Gillham Motors Ltd.

Soon after setting up the Trafalgar Street shop, Gillham started publishing good quality black and white real photographic cards of Brighton. These have wide white borders, impressed pictures and printed captions in the bottom left corners, under the pictures. They are labelled on the back "Published by G. H. Gillham, Brighton".

After the First World War Gillham produced an unexceptional series of sepia-tinted real photographic cards of Rottingdean, which lack borders. The printed captions use an italics-style font, and were apparently created using a hand-held printing device. A 1920 postmark has been noted.

Gillham was born in Lewes in 1878. He was the sixth of nine children of John Gillham, a carpenter, who had been born at Newick, and Julia Gillham, who came from Southwark. The first two children were born at Penge in south London, but all the rest were Lewesians. In 1881 the family was living in New Road in Lewes, but by 1891 they had moved to 4 Waterloo Road. George, aged 12, was an errand boy. He has not been located in the 1901 census, when he was probably in the process of moving to Brighton. In 1905 he married Dora Lillian Williams, who had been born in Brighton in 1881. The 1911 census records that he and Dora already had two children: a daughter, Dora, aged 3 and a son, George, aged 1. He and his family were living at 32 North Road, Brighton, presumably over the shop.

The identity of the Mrs Gillham, who took over the Trafagar Street shop by 1908, needs further investigation. After the First World War her first name is listed in Directories as Julia, but she cannot have been Gillham's mother, Julia, who had been born in about 1844, and may already have been dead. Perhaps he had remarried and Julia was his second wife.

Gillham is believed to have died in the Brighton area in 1936 at the age of 58.

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