Walter Kelf & Son


Pallant House, Chichester. A re-issue of a Marsh card wth the same number

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Photographers, 39 Southgate, Chichester. Kelf & Son took over the premises and business of W. Marsh & Son between 1918 and 1920 but closed down between 1927 and 1928. They issued sepia real photographic cards with white borders, labelled "Kelf & Son, Chichester", often diagonally across the bottom left or right corners. A few cards are embossed "Kelf & Son, Chichester". Some cards are a very rich sepia, others a pale chestnut sepia. The captions, when present, are in small, neat capitals, generally followed or preceded by the card serial number in parentheses. The cards greatly resemble those published by W. P. Marsh & Son, and were in many cases re-issues.

Some cards show views of Chichester (for example No. 262 West Pallant and No. 364 Pallant House) and the Selsey area (such as No. 461, Ebb tide - Dell Quay). Others record local events, such as the "Flags of Sussex Regiments entering Chichester Cathedral" and the "Dedication Sussex Regiments Memorial, Chichester Cathedral". A real photographic card with no caption shows the dedication of Chichester War Memorial. The highest numbers seen so far are 985 and 987.

Walter Kelf, who with his son took over the Marsh business, was born at Great Yarmouth in Norfolk in 1876 and for many years worked as a photographer in the town. His father was an "overlooker" at a local sik crape factory. Walter had four older brothers and a sister. When the 1911 census was held, Walter Kelf was running a photographic studio at 89 Regent Road in Great Yarmouth where he lived with his wife Nina, to whom he had been married for 13 years (she too had been born at Yarmouth and was about the same age as Walter) and three children (Albert Walter Kelf born in about 1900, Arnold Kelf born in about 1908 and Muriel Kelf born on July 13, 1910). Presumably, it was Albert, who helped his father run the Chichester business. Walter Kelf died at Chichester on February 2, 1923, aged only 46, and Albert, who married Nellie Luff at Southsea in the following June, seems after a few years to have decided to let the business just fade away.

After her husband's death Nina moved with Muriel to Felbridge at East Grinstead. Muriel went to London in 1938 and married Frank Murrell. Frank served in the Metropolitan Police and after he retired in 1959, he and his family moved to Chichester. Muriel died in 2006 at the age of 96.

Acknowledgement: Christine Hounsome, daughter of Muriel Kelf, has kindly supplied some of the above information. Robert Gray has also provided useful insights.

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