John Edward Ashby


Wadhurst High Street looking west from the junction with Church Street (1913 postmark)

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Wadhurst grocer and publisher of the Ashby's Series of real photographic cards of Wadhurst. The high quality, black and white photographs have a basal white border, with a machine printed caption on the left and the words "Ashby's Series" words on the right. Although the cards look really quite modern in style, their appearance is deceptive and 1912 and 1913 postmarks have been found. The cards are rarely seen for sale nowadays, which may indicate that they were available only at the Ashby grocery, and then perhaps just for a limited period.

John Edward Ashby was born in Westminster in London in 1871, and was the son of John Ashby, who had been born at Wadhurst in about 1835. His mother, Jane Ashby, came from Stoke-on-Trent and had been born in about 1833. The 1881 census records that his father was a grocer in Horseferry Road. He had 5 sisters, all born in London, though, as far as is known, no brothers. Why he chose to leave London and settle in Wadhurst is uncertain, but perhaps his father had friends or relatives in the town, who helped him to set up in business. He opened his grocery shop in the High Street in about 1906. The 1911 census records that he was 39 and still unmarried, living with a housekeeper at Lowfields, Frant near Tunbridge Wells. He was still in business in the High Street in 1915, but by 1918 had seemingly retired and was living at Court Lodge at Frant. It is not known when he died.

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