William Hardy Kent & Seymour Lacey (Kent & Lacey)


The Long Man of Wilmington with a surreal sunrise

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Photographers and fine art dealers, initially at Eastbourne, later also at Hastings, Brighton and Bexhill. William Hardy Kent and Seymour Lacey established their business at 104 Terminus Road in Eastbourne in about 1894. They prospered and opened new branches in Eastbourne at Gildredge Road (by 1903) and at Pevensey Road (by 1905). This second branch was only short-lived. By 1906 Kent and Lacey had expanded their operations to Hastings, setting up a branch at 25 White Rock, which closed around 1910. By 1907 they opened in Brighton, at 135 Western Road.

William Hardy Kent died at Eastbourne in 1907, aged 88. His former partner continued the business, while retaining the name Kent & Lacey. By 1912 an extra shop had been established in Terminus Road, Eastbourne, this time at Number 114. After the First World War the Gildredge Road branch was replaced by another in Cornfield Road, which lasted until the late 1920s.

By 1918 Seymour Lacey added a branch in Bexhill, initially in Devonshire Road, but by 1920 at 17 Wilton Road. By 1927 he opened a second branch at Bexhill, in Endwell Road. In the mid 1920s he moved the Eastbourne headquarters to 136 Terminus Road.

Seymour Lacey died at Eastbourne in 1930, aged 65. After this the Eastbourne studios all closed, but the Brighton studio and the Endwell Road studio in Bexhill which were presumably under separate management remained open for business until the Second World War.

In about 1905 Kent and Lacey began selling coloured collotype cards of the Eastbourne area (including, for example, Beachy Head, the Long Man of Wilmington, and Hurstmonceux Castle). These were printed in Germany, and the colouring, particularly of the skies, was curiously unrealistic, with an excess of cyan and sickly apricot. Some black and white halftone cards of "sports for legless heroes" at Brighton Pavilion were presumably issued during the First World War or just afterwards. Kent and Lacey also undertook studio portraiture, supplying clients if requested with prints in postcard form.

After the Thomas Stanford Museum opened at Preston Manor in 1932, Kent-Lacey Studios Ltd. of Brighton published a series of sepia real photographic cards of the Manor and its grounds. A 1947 postmark has been seen.

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