Bootmaker, later postmaster at Rottingdean. James Robert Bowles was born in Brighton on June 10, 1887. His father, also called James Bowles, was a brother of William Bowles of Rottingdean. His mother, Caroline, was born at Nutbourne near Pulborough in about 1858. In 1881 James, Caroline and their first child, Mary Elizabeth Bowles, aged 2, were living in Rottingdean High Street. James is described in the census as a blacksmith journeyman. A second daughter, Alice Selina Bowles, was born in 1883. Unfortunately, James Bowles died in 1889, aged only 33. The 1891 census records that the widowed Caroline had moved to 149 Eastern Road in Brighton, and was not only looking after her three children but also working as a professional nurse. Life must have been hard, and not surprisingly in the summer of 1891 she remarried. Her new husband was Robert Spencer Bowles, youngest brother of James and William Bowles. The 1901 census records that the family was living at 96 Eastern Road in Brighton. Robert Bowles seems to have been a smith but an enumerator's scribbling seriously obscures the census entry.
In 1901 James Robert Bowles worked as a draper's apprentice. He married Ethel Pollard Smither at Ovingdean Parish Church on February 15, 1914. By this time he was a bootmaker and living in Ovingdean. His wife, who was six and a half years his senior, lived in Rottingdean.
The 1918 Electoral Register lists the couple at a house called "Glenmore" in Rottingdean High Street. In the 1920s James Robert Bowles took over the running of the Post Office in the High Street, where he also sold stationery, newspapers, toys and fancy goods, as well as his own postcards of Rottingdean. The best are real photographic cards with "J.R. Bowles" or "J R B" handwritten on the front of the cards to the right of the caption. He also issued halftones and coloured cards of the village, which may have been printed for him by Shoesmith and Etheridge or Photochrom. In addition, he stocked some aerial views supplied by Airco Aerials Ltd. of London, who added his name and address on the back. He was still in charge of the Post Office in 1934-35, but whether he was still publishing cards at this date is uncertain. The 1928-29 Electoral Register and 1939 Household Register record that he and Ethel were continuing to live at Glenmore. He is believed to have died in 1961, aged 73.To directory of publishers
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