Edward F. London


Uncaptioned card of an unidentified location. Does anyone recognise where this picture was taken?

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Photographer, Brooks Green, near Itchingfield and Shipley (east of Billingshurst). London took up photography around 1912 or 1913, but seemingly only briefly. It was an ill-advised venture as the total population of the civil parish of Shipley and Brooks Green was only 1139 in 1911, so there would have been little demand for a photographer's services. The onset of war probably dealt a fatal blow to the fledgling business.

London appears to have published very few real photographic cards, mostly of Shipley, but including a view of Chanctonbury Ring with its dewpond and others of Southwater Street and Cripplegate windmill at Southwater after it burnt down in May 1914. The black and white photographs have white borders and often captions that were handwritten on the negatives in small plain capitals. A few cards are captionless. The backs of the cards are labelled "E.F. London, Photographer, Brooks Green, Shipley. (Copies may be had)". 1913 and 1914 postmarks have been noted.

Kelly's Sussex Directories from 1903 to 1911 list Edward F. London as a baker, but the 1915 and 1922 editions list him as a farmer. He had been born at Ryde on the Isle of Wight in about 1861. His wife, Eliza A. London, came from Mount Pleasant in Lincolnshire and was nine years his senior.

Possibly Edward decided to become a photographer on giving up his bakery career. However, the 1901 census reveals that he and his wife had a son, who was also called Edward F. London (the "F" stood for "Fincher"). This son had been born at Burgess Hill in about 1892, and would have been about twenty when the postcards appeared, which raises the question as to whether he was their publisher, and not his father.

Edward London Senior died at or near Horsham in 1938, at the age of 78.

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