Lionel Riddick Goodyer


Tarrant Street in Arundel, with Castle behind (1909 postmark)

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Photographer, 33 High Street, Bognor. Goodyer was born at Beeston in Nottinghamshire in 1881, and was the only son of Charles Copeland Goodyer (born in 1852 in Peckham or Camberwell in London), and Caroline H. Goodyer (born in about 1858 in Donegal). At the time Charles Goodyer was working as a mercantile clerk, but by 1891 he had become an accountant, and was living in Clarence Road in the St Pancras area of London. By 1901 Charles had moved to 6 Canterbury Mansions in Hampstead, where he continued to work as an accountant. Lionel Goodyer, who was still living with his parents, had become a "photographer's assistant".

On October 8, 1906, Lionel, who described himself as a "photographer", married Florence May Westerdale at the church of St Peter Upton Cross in West Ham in east London. She had been born in 1884 in Hackney and was the daughter of Charles Elijah Westerdale, a clerk. Soon after their marriage, Lionel Goodyer and his wife settled in Bognor, where he acquired an existing studio at 33 High Street, which he renamed the Goodyer Studio. The 1911 census records that Florence helped her husband run the Studio. They had not at this stage had any children.

Goodyer published real photographic cards of Bognor, South Bersted and Arundel, including Swanbourne Lake. A very fine card shows low tide on the coast, presumably at Bognor (1911 postmark noted). Goodyer also recorded unusual events, such as snowfalls (notably the great fall of December 1908), processions and house fires (for example, the remains of "Paradise", a house burnt down at Bognor in 1909). Frustratingly for modern collectors, he sometimes failed to provide captions.

One strange card that has come to light shows two bearded old gentlemen engaged in conversation against what may be a painted backdrop. One, with cheerful countenance, holds a few coins in his hands; the other with downcast eyes holds two oblong pieces of paper, possibly cheques. The caption reads "Old Age Pension: Realisation." No doubt those immersed in the politics of the period readily understood the meaning of this somewhat enigmatic picture. Pensions were evidently an important issue with Goodyer - another card (see Gallery) shows a group of old men queuing on the pavement outside Bognor Post Office, waiting to enter and draw their pensions. Neville Nisse records in his book Bognor of the past (1983, Rochester Press, Chatham) that the pensioners were photographed in January 1909.

Some early Goodyer cards were hand stamped on the back in purple ink "Goodyer Studio, Bognor", but by mid 1909, a printed label "The Goodyer Studio, 33 High Street, Bognor" was substituted. Some cards were impressed (blind stamped) with the studio name, but this proved difficult to see except in a strong light.

Pike's Bognor, Littlehampton and Arundel Directory for 1910-11 used some of Goodyer's photographs as illustrations, and an advertisement for his studio in the same Directory promised "artistic photography" and claimed that it was "the studio for children". The 1912-13 Directory re-used some of the photographs, attributing them as before to the Goodyer Studio, even though Goodyer himself went out of business around this time and soon left the district. He was succeeded at 33 High Street by Herbert Field, who continued the publication of postcards under the name "Goodyer Studio" until probably the early 1920s.

A card whose origin is particularly problematic shows a French schooner (the Carnot), which was wrecked on Aldwick beach on Boxing Day in 1912 (see Gallery). The photograph was evidently taken not many days after the boat ran aground, i.e in late December 1912 or early January 1913. The card, which is labelled Goodyer Studio on the back, has a caption whose handwriting differs from that on known Goodyer and Field cards. Perhaps, Goodyer had an assistant or locum who produced the card while the Studio was being transferred into the ownership of Herbert Field.

Lionel Goodyer was only 36 when died of tuberculosis at 115 West End Lane in Hampstead on 9 December 1917. Presumably, he was already suffering from the disease when he decided to give up his Bognor business.

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