Arthur Henry Morey


Ceremonial gates, Chichester (erected for the 1910 Coronation)

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Photographer, St. Pancras Studio, 47 Lyndhurst Road, Chichester before the First World War, but by 1918 at 5 St Pancras, Chichester. Morey published black and white and sepia real photographic cards of Chichester and neighbouring places, such as Selsey. These generally have white borders, handwritten captions and the words "Morey Photo", "Morey Chichester" or "Morey Chi" at the base of the pictures. One early real photographic shows a "Socialist rout" (possibly a misspelling of "riot") in Eastgate Square in Chichester in 1907. Another 1907 card shows Knight's Football Team at Chichester. In 1908 Morey photographed the annual sports day in Priory Park at Chichester and in May 1910 the proclamation of King George V.

During a storm in December 1910 the sea broke through the shingle barrier stretching along the coast between Pagham and Selsey and re-established the inlet now known as Pagham Harbour, which had been drained and reclaimed in 1876. The flood severed the light railway line to Selsey and flooded a vast area of farmland, but fortunately no lives were lost. For some reason, Chichester postcard publishers largely ignored this spectacular inundation, but Morey was a splendid exception. He travelled to Sidlesham on December 16 to photograph the tiny, forlorn railway station surrounded by floodwater. Other cards show bemused looking villagers at Sidlesham viewing the floods, and a group of women, perhaps gypsies, who with their caravan managed to escape the rising waters. On what must have been a return visit Morey recorded a repair gang trying to rebuild the track bed. Morey's cards of the Pagham Harbour flood are now keenly sought by collectors and have become quite scarce.

Morey made the Coronation Celebrations at Chichester in 1911 the subject of another series of real photographics. Like other Cicestrian publishers, he photographed the streets full of flags and bunting and the four decorative gates or arches that were temporarily erected on the sites of the former entrances to the town at the ends of North Street, East Street, South Street and West Street. A sepia multi-view that he produced combined views of all four gates and had his name, Arthur H. Morey, printed at the base, together with his address. It was probably around this time that he published a card of Chichester Fire Brigade posing beside their gleaming engine. A card of skaters at Ashling is believed to have been issued early in 1912.

As the storm clouds of war began to gather, Morey's cards took on an ever more militaristic note, showing the streets of Chichester filled with marching soldiers, often accompanied by officers on horseback. Morey evidently spent much time visiting Army camps to photograph squads of recruits on parade and being drilled. Other cards show soldiers on battle parade in Goodwood Park and taking part in exercises on the Downs. One particularly sombre card shows a "wrecked Army aeroplane" FE2 lying on Wittering beach on February 23, 1914.

While war raged in Europe, Morey continued to produce new picture postcards, for example showing a line-up of the female staff taken on by the International Stores to replace male staff fighting abroad. Other cards show wounded soldiers recuperating in the wards at Graylingwell Hospital, and a view of the hospital grounds in the snow, probably taken early in 1917. In addition, Morey took a summer-time photograph of the hospital frontage, which he issued as a halftone.

After the war there was still much to photograph. One real photographic card shows the "Dedication of the Memorial Cross, Chichester, March 11, 1920". On a lighter note, a 1921 card depicts the staff of Shippam's Ltd. seated in a charabanc at the start of their annual outing.

Morey seems to have had a special affection for the rundown light railway known as the "Selsey Tram" that linked Selsey with Chichester. He produced several postcards of trains on the line, and, when a 3 coach train jumped the tracks and careered down an embankment in September 1923, killing the fireman, Morey was quick to photograph the wreckage, no doubt to the dismay of railway officials, who wished at all costs to maintain public confidence in the railway.

Morey published real photographic cards of West Dean (for example, the Selsey Arms, 1908 postmark noted, and The Schools, 1910 postmark), Singleton (at least 9 cards), Maudlin and Midhurst (for example, West Street, 1908 postmark). He produced many cards of private houses and holiday homes, especially at Selsey.

Morey was born November 28, 1877, at Montpellier Road in Littleham near Exmouth in Devon. He was the eldest of the five surviving children of Thomas Henry Morey, a baker, and Elizabeth Mary Morey, née Odam. Both parents had been born at Exmouth, Thomas in about 1849 and Elizabeth in about 1847. They had their first child, a son, in 1876, whom they called Arthur Henry, but he died later in the year. When their second son was born in the following year, they gave him the same name, presumably in fond memory of his unlucky predecessor.

The 1891 census locates the Morey family at Albion Street in Exmouth. Although only 13, Arthur was already apprenticed to a local photographer. On October 30, 1900, he married Edith Sarah Parker at the Baptist Chapel at Weston-super-Mare in Somerset. She had been born in the St Pancras area of London in about 1873, and was the daughter of James Parker, who worked as a cyclemaker in Chichester (at the time of Edith's birth he had been an upholsterer with Maples, the famous furniture store on London's Tottenham Court Road). The couple gave their address as 7 Baker Street in Weston-super-Mare. Arthur was working as a photographer, presumably in the town.

By 1905 Arthur had moved to Southsea, where he took over the photographic business of Boswell & Co. in Fawcett Road. He did not remain in Southsea for long. When the 1901 census was held, he and Edith had settled in Exeter, where he was again in business as a photographer. The couple then moved to Chichester, presumably because Edith wanted to live nearer her relatives. In the 1911 census Arthur described himself as an "architectural and landscape photographer". Boarding with Arthur and Edith at their Lyndhurst Road house was 19-year-old Vernon Gisby who was a photographic assistant and retoucher.

How long Arthur worked at Chichester needs further investigation. He died in the town on April 25, 1924, aged only 47. After Arthur's death, Edith emigrated to Canada, where she remarried twice. She died in Victoria, British Columbia aged 92, in 1966.

Acknowledgement: Grateful thanks to Vivien Chandler for correcting errors in an earlier version of this account and for supplying additional biographical material about Arthur and Edith, her great aunt.

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