Malcolm McNeille (McNeille & Co.)


Queen Mary leaving the McNeille shop in South Street, Chichester (1929)

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Portrait and commercial photographers, 26 South Street, Chichester. McNeille established his business in Chichester in about 1926 and was still trading in 1939. He also had a branch at Hounslow. He produced a varied range of postcards, but is best known for his dark sepia, borderless and numbered real photographic cards labelled "McNeille, Chichester". The rounded, somewhat flowery handwritten captions are very distinctive. No postmarks have been reported, but publication of the cards may have begun in 1927 or 1928. As far as is known, all the cards in the series have an ecclesiastical theme. Subjects include Bosham Church, Boxgrove Church, Fishbourne Church and Chichester Cathedral (a variety of interior and exterior views). Card number 61 (the highest number seen) is entitled "The Bishop of Chichester", and shows Bishop George Bell writing at his desk. Bishop Bell succeeded Bishop Burrows in 1929 and served until his death in 1958.

Much rarer than the sepia-tinted cards are some black and white variants with the same flowery handwriting, but white borders. Labelled "McNeille & Co., Chichester", these may have been later printings, perhaps even post Second World War.

Back in the late 1920s and early 30s McNeille also sold some black and white, mostly captionless cards, recording for example, the Mayor of Chichester (a Mr Burton) waiting to greet King George V and in conversation with the King, Remembrance veterans on Parade, and even the ancient Cathedral weather-cock, after it was cleaned and repaired in 1932. A particularly interesting card (reproduced above) shows Queen Mary leaving the McNeille shop after a visit in 1929. Also memorable is a card showing Earnly smock mill.

McNeille was born in about 1882 at Margate in Kent. When the 1911 census was held he was staying with Clematis Hamp, a photographer and art dealer, at her home at 45 Staines Road, Hounslow. Laura G. McNeille helped Clematis with her photography. Malcolm is described in the census as a photographer. He was excused military service in 1915-22 because of his business and financial obligations as a photographer, motor agent and dealer at 45 and 47 Staines Road. He died at Chichester in 1957, aged 75.

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