Arthur Windsor-Spice


Maresfield Park, the home of Prince Munster when the photograph was taken. At the start of the First World War the house and estate were confiscated by the UK Government; the house was demolished in 1924.

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Landscape and portrait photographer, 174 High Street, Uckfield. Windsor-Spice was in business at Uckfield by 1907, but gave up to join the armed services during the First World War. He issued black and white as well as sepia tinted real photographic cards, mainly of Uckfield and its immediate surroundings, for example Pudding Cake Lane, Paygate Wood and Fairhazel Wood (1908 postmark noted). More distant places included Maresfield (with at least 20-30 views of the park), Buxted, Hadlow Down and Piltdown Pond. Some cards lacked captions. Windsor Spice often wrote his name diagonally across the bottom left or right corner of the photographs. He also printed his name and address on the back of many cards.

Windsor Spice photographed many local groups and events. His sepia tinted real photographic card of the Uckfield Physical Culture Club in 1908 shows a group of young men, stripped to the waist, striving to look really manly and formidable! He issued a series of at least 27 cards of the Coronation Festivities at Uckfield in 1911, including views of the house that won first prize for its decorations and groups of boys "bobbing for treacle rolls" and "tailing the donkey".

Windsor Spice was born on July 16, 1884 at Winterbourne Kingston in Dorset. His father, Arthur Spice, a former bath attendant turned blacksmith, had been born at St Leonards in Sussex in 1865, and his mother, Annie, at Kingston, in the same year. Annie had moved from Dorset to St Leonards to work as a domestic servant, but how she came to meet Arthur is unrecorded. The couple married at St Leonards not many weeks before their son was born. He was initially called Arthur Spice after his father, which no doubt caused confusion, and by the time he was a teenager he was known as Arthur Windsor Spice, Windsor being his mother's maiden name. After becoming a photographer, he generally hyphenated his middle name and surname, presumably in an attempt to impress studio clients.

Windsor-Spice had two younger sisters (Florence Annie Spice, born in 1886, and Emily Ellen Spice, born in 1891) and a younger brother (John Warren Spice, born in 1887). All three were born at St Leonards. In 1901 the Spice family was living at 4 Undercliff Terrace in St Leonards. Windsor-Spice had started working as a photographer, presumably as an assistant in an existing studio, while his father had become a fly proprietor.

Windsor-Spice had already started his photographic business in Uckfield when he married Rose Jane Cruttenden at the Presbyterian Church at Silverhill in Hastings on August 14, 1909. Two years his junior, she was a milliner in St Leonards, and the daughter of Walter Cruttenden, a Hastings builder and well-known local benefactor (died May 1926). Arthur's father, who attended the wedding together with Walter Cruttenden, was stated on the marriage certificate to be a "swimming master", which suggests that he may have sold his carriage business.

After her marriage, Rose continued to work as a milliner. Kelly's 1915 Sussex Directory records that she had a shop next door to her husband's studio, at 172 Uckfield High Street. In his article on Uckfield photographers in Hindsight, the journal of the Uckfield and District Preservation Society (2008, "Seen through the lens - early photography in Uckfield", volume 14, pp. 27-32), Mick Harker records that Windsor Spice was elected a member of the Uckfield Urban District Council in 1912. Planes had always held a fascination for him and in the First World War he served as a pilot, first in the Navy, later in the Royal Air Force. In 1919 he settled in Redhill, where he and Rose opened a combined millinery shop and photographic studio at 21 Station Road. Later the photographic business was moved to 1 Station Road and a branch established at 37 Church Street in Reigate. Windsor-Spice took an increasing interest in local politics, and in January 1936 won an election to become a councillor. David Simkin at notes that Windsor Spice was elected Mayor of the Borough of Reigate for 1942 and remained in office until after the end of the Second World War. He died in 1969 at the age of 65.

Arthur and Rose had a daughter, Joan, who was born at Uckfield in 1913.

Acknowledgement: Grateful thanks are due to the author and artist, Wendy Fraser, for supplying additional information about her grandfather.

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