Mora Ltd.


Corner of Palmeira Square, Hove (1913 postmark)

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Photographers, based first at Brighton, later also at Southsea. Percy Cocker Mitchell, the originator of the business, was born in London in about 1847. On March 19, 1881, at the age of 35 he married 28 year old Fanny Humphries at Christ Church, Forest Hill in Lewisham. The census held the same year recorded that the newly-weds were living at 4 Mount Villas in Sydenham and that Percy (whose name was incorrectly listed as Percy A. Mitchell) was working as a photographer. For reasons that remain obscure Percy and Fanny decided to relocate to Sussex, and in 1891 Percy acquired the studio of A. Debenham & Co. at 127 Western Road, Brighton, near the junction with Montpelier Road. Soon after, he began trading as Percy C. Mora, and changed the name of his Western Road studio to "Mora's Electric Light Studio".

Percy Mitchell died at his home (Belvoir House at 33 York Road in Hove) on December 15, 1899, leaving effects of £6782 to Fanny, who seems to have taken over the running of the studio, which became known as Mora Ltd. and by 1902 was operating in tandem with a branch studio that opened at 45a London Road. Kelly's 1906 Brighton Directory records that at this date Fanny was living at 128 Western Road, close at hand to the main studio. Curiously, the Directory has separate entries at 127 Western Road for P. C. Mora, photographer, and P. Mitchell, even though the two were one and the same person and no longer alive!

By 1908 a third studio calling itself Mora Ltd. began operating at 81a St James Street. This lasted only until about 1913, but its two predecessors survived long into the inter-war period. The London Road studio closed in about 1933, but the original Western Road studio was still operating in 1936-37. By 1939-40, however, it had been replaced by a cake shop.

Mora Ltd. did not confine its operations to Brighton. In 1901 the firm set up a studio at Southsea in Hampshire (at 21 Elm Grove), under the proprietorship of Harry Smith.

Mora Ltd. specialised in studio photography, including postcard and cabinet portraits. They do not appear to have done much outside work, except group photographs.

Acknowledgement: Grateful thanks are due to David Parker (Leeds) for unearthing the probate record of Percy's death.

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