Thomas Dunkerton


Hove postmen, June 6, 1910

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Photographer, 95 Portland Road, Hove. Thomas Dunkerton was born in 1865 in Chelsea or Wandsworth (accounts differ). His father, another Thomas Dunkerton, had been born at Castle Cary in Somerset in about 1820 and was a plasterer. His mother, who was about four years younger than his father, was a native of Durweston in Somerset. He had two brothers and three sisters, born in various parts of London and at Chatham in Surrey.

By 1881 the Dunkertons were living at 9 South Street in Battersea. Thomas had left school and is described in the census as a draper. In 1889 he married Rose Green, who came from Chatham in Kent and was about three years his junior. In 1891 the couple were living at 8 Church Terrace in Battersea, and Thomas was working as a draper's assistant. In late 1895 or early 1896 Rose gave birth to a son, Edmund Lloyd H. Dunkerton, at Clapham.

The 1901 census records a complete change of scene. Thomas, Rose and Edmund had moved to 29 Birmingham Road in Kidderminster in Worcestershire. Thomas was working as a photographer on his own account. By 1903, however, he had settled at 95 Portland Road in Hove. In 1911 Rose was working as a schoolteacher.

Dunkerton was evidently an able photographer and he successfully withstood the economic downturn that accompanied the First World War. In the mid 1920s, as he was approaching his sixtieth birthday, he began sharing his premises with Marshall, Keene & Co., who specialised in school photography. Late 1920s and early 1930s Directories list Dunkerton and Marshall, Keene & Co. separately, but then the Directory entries change to "Marshall, Keene & Co. (Thos. Dunkerton), photographers", which suggests that Dunkerton had retired and the newcomers had bought his business from him.

Dunkerton is not known to have published any general view cards of Brighton or Hove, but he sometimes issued group photographs (such as the one shown above) in postcard format, and he also photographed a few local buildings so that printed cards could be made. A collotype card of the Clarendon Villas Mission Hall in Hove that reproduced one of his photographs was on sale by 1906, if not earlier. His six or eight photographs of the Police Seaside Home in Hove were printed as halftone postcards by Hood & Co. of Middlesbrough in Yorkshire under their Sanbridge label. Whether Dunkerton was the publisher of these halftones or Hood & Co. is uncertain, but he was acknowledged to be the photographer.

Dunkerton died at Hove in 1939, aged 73.

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