Gifford Boyd


Presentation of the gold winkle to Sir Winston Churchill, Hastings, September 1955

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Wedding and commercial photographer, Hastings. With unfortunate timing, Gifford Boyd opened a shop called "Boyds Photo Stores" at 28 Castle Street in Hastings just before the Second World War. Presumably he had to close it down while he was away from Hastings on war service. Whether he briefly reopened it after returning to the town in about 1945 is uncertain, but by 1948 it had become a stationer's shop run by a Mr Massingham. Boyd had restarted his business at 36 Robertson Street where he established his Regency Studio. Later, he opened a camera shop at 6 Cambridge Road. For many years he and his wife, Mary (née Hill), lived at 54 King Edward Avenue in Hastings.

Either just before of just after the war, Boyd published some sepia tinted and black and white real photographic cards of Hastings that are labelled on the back "Boyds Photo Stores, 28 Castle Street" and have white borders round the photographs. The handwritten captions in somewhat irregular capitals tend to be blurred. The cards were evidently issued only in small numbers and are hard to find today.

During the 1950s Boyd started his "Gifford Series" of real photographic cards of Sussex, which mainly showed Hastings and St Leonards, but also included views of a tea house in Burwash, Winchelsea Beach, a set of at least 12 views of the Model Village at the Redoubt at Eastbourne (some numbered, others unnumbered), a card of St Peter's Church at Cowfold, a view of the "Easter Garden" at Hove Old Church and a facsimile pencil sketch of the exterior of the Church. A solitary card of Sedlescombe numbered 593 has also been found - it is not known whether Boyd published other cards of this village. A "Gifford Series" card of Glengarriff Castle Hotel in Eire indicates that Boyd sought business opportunities far beyond the borders of Sussex.

The photographs on the Gifford Series cards are mostly black and white (only rarely sepia) and are well reproduced, with narrow borders or sometimes no borders at all. Some cards have properly printed backs and printed captions on the front; others have what were originally blank backs that were then marked up using a rubber stamp, and have captions prepared using a typewriter or simply handwritten. The name "Gifford Series" is printed at the top of each back under the title "Post Card" or sometimes down the left side of the card. Often there is a serial number after the caption. The highest number reported to date is 634, but it seems most unlikely that this number of cards was ever issued.

A July 1952 postmark has been seen, but cards were evidently being added to the series in the early 1960s. One of the most interesting shows Winston Churchill receiving his Golden Winkle award from the Winkle Club on September 7, 1955. The ceremony took place next to the fishing smack "Enterprise" built at Hastings in 1909 and laid up for preservation in 1954. Some other cards show the interior of the Fishermen's Church and the skipper of the Enterprise outside his net-loft mending a net. Particularly popular with children was the model village of Ganymede at Hastings, which opened in May 1955. A set of 6 Gifford Series cards of the village could be purchased for just one shilling and nine pence (8.75p)!

Gifford Boyd (or Henry Gifford Leonard Boyd, to give him his full name) was born at his parents' home in Hastings on August 14, 1917. His father was Harry Arnold Boyd, who at the time was working as a "switch board attendant" while on war service, but later became a portrait photographer and photographic materials dealer in Hastings. Born at Hastings in 1894, Harry Arnold Boyd was the son of Caroline Boyd and Harry Bartram Boyd, a pioneer Hastings portrait photographer (born 1868 in North London). His parents separated soon after he was born and in about 1910 his father sold his Hastings studios (in the High Street and at White Rock) taking Harry Arnold with him to London. Both father and son seem to have returned to Hastings during the First World War (see David Simkin's detailed account of the family at (

As far as is known, neither Harry Bartram nor Harry Arnold Boyd published postcard views of Hastings, concentrating instead on studio portraiture. Although Harry Bartram's clients mostly opted for cartes de visite and cabinet prints, some chose instead to have their portrait photos supplied in postcard form. The cards in question are blind stamped "H. Boyd, 115 High Street, Hastings". An uncaptioned postcard of a steamroller and road repair gang posted from Etchingham in 1907, which is blind stamped "H. Boyd & Co., 194 Queens Road, Hastings", demonstrates that Harry Bartram sometimes undertook outdoor work.

On December 19, 1915 Harry Arnold Boyd married Kathleen Arden at St Clement's Church in Hastings. He was working as a Royal Navy signals instructor with H.M.S. Foxhound. The marriage certificate records that Kathleen was living at 4 Burdett Place in George Street in Hastings, and was the daughter of Frederick Arden, a "gentleman (deceased)". It was at Burdett Place that Gifford Boyd was born and, two years later, his sister, Kitty Victoria Boyd.

Harry, Kathleen and their two children continued to live at Burdett Place during the 1920s. By 1923 Harry was running a tea room at 38 George Street. According to David Simkin, he also held the Queens Head public house in Ore until 1931, when, following in his father's footsteps, he set up in business as a photographer at 3 Bexhill Road. In addition, he opened a photographic materials shop at 37 George Street. He and Kathleen moved home to 11 Bexhill Road. Kathleen and the two children helped with the running of the studio and other matters.

Harry Boyd left Hastings in 1938 or 1939, leaving Kathleen to continue his photographic business at Bexhill Road as best she could given the increasingly difficult trading conditions. He remarried in 1942 and settled in Cornwall. It was probably because of his parents' separation that Gifford Boyd decided to set up in business on his own at 28 Castle Street.

Kathleen died in 1944. She was only 50. Her former husband survived until May 1968, when he died aged 74 at Honiton in Devon. Gifford Boyd died at Hastings in February 2004.

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