Arthur Eustace Marriott


St Peter's Church, Church Street, Old Town, Bexhill (1915 postmark)

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Proprietor, Marriott's Photo Stores, Hastings. Marriott was born at Hastings in 1876, and was the eldest son of Emily and Thomas E. Marriott, a homeopathic doctor, born in Northamptonshire in about 1840. In 1881 the family was living at Chepstowe Villa in Chapel Park Road in Hastings.

By 1895 Marriott had set up in business as a dispensing and homeopathic chemist at 26 Havelock Road in Hastings. By 1903 he had also opened a photographic materials store at 51d Robertson Street. The 1911 census records that he was living at 1 Cornwallis Terrace in Hastings with his brother, Harold Dene Marriott (born in 1881). Harold is described in the census as a "photographic dealer" and presumably helped to run the Robertson Street shop. Marriott later moved to 7 St. Helen's Crescent where he shared a house with a W. E. Marriott, who was possibly a cousin or uncle.

In 1910 Marriott entered into an agreement with Judges Ltd. to become the sole agent in Hastings for their postcards and to take over their shop and studio at 42 White Rock on the seafront, which they had outgrown. Following the agreement, Judges moved to larger premises at 51 Havelock Road and Marriott vacated his existing shop which at the time was located at 37d Robertson Street. In 1920 Judges bought back the agency rights from Marriott, but he retained the White Rock shop for printing, developing and enlarging, particularly for the tourist trade, so Judges set up a shop of their own in Robertson Street.

By 1915 Marriott opened a branch shop selling photographic materials at 24 Devonshire Road, Bexhill and another in Tunbridge Wells. A third branch followed at 16b London Road, St Leonards.

George Stapley (in Hastings Voices, 1982, Hastings Modern History Workshop) recalled working for Marriott at the White Rock shop in the 1920s. Jobs were hard to find in Hastings at the time, and Marriott was a good though exacting employer, so Stapley felt he was lucky. Nevertheless, at the height of summer he often had to work from 8 in the morning until 10 at night, 6 days a week, developing films bought in by holidaymakers. In winter, the 30 employees had much less work.

Marriott published small numbers of black and white real photographic cards, some with a distinctly sepia cast. The Bexhill example shown above is labelled on the back "Marriott's Photo Stores, Hastings, Bexhill, Tunbridge Wells", but some other Bexhill cards are labelled "Marriott" on the front with no address. After the acquisition of the St Leonards branch, cards were issued labelled "Marriott's Photo Stores, Hastings, St Leonards, Bexhill and Tunbridge Wells". A card of an airship, supposedly flying over Hastings in July 1921, is a case in point.

The card of Guestling included in the Gallery is entitled "The 'Marriott" on the back, which suggests that it was Marriott's work, though there can be no certainty.

Many Marriott cards lack captions, which is unfortunate because they often show private houses, church halls etc. that are difficult to identify. Some may have been produced to private order. Other cards, such as the Bexhill example shown above, have captions written in tiny capitals (originally by hand) accompanied by an equally minuscule serial number. In the case of Marriott's cards of Rye the numbers suggest that at least 49 different cards were issued. Some of the Rye cards lack a publisher's label, but are immediately recognisable because of their distinctively written captions.

Marriott seems to have abandoned postcard publishing in the 1930s. He died at Hastings in 1955, but the firm that he founded continues in business today as a photographic dealer at 42 White Rock.

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