John Milton Duly


Herstmonceux Castle

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Herstmonceux. John Duly was born at Herstmonceux in 1878. His father, William Duly, who had been born at Battle in 1815, was village postmaster and a maker of grandfather clocks. His mother, Sarah Maria Milton, had been born in 1839 in Gloucestershire. She married William Duly in 1873 and was his second wife. When the 1891 census was held, John Duly was 13 years old and still living with his parents, but working as a telegraph clerk. In 1892 his father died, and his mother became postmistress. The 1901 census records that John was continuing to live with her while working as an auxiliary postman. By 1903 he established a stationer and tobacconist's business at Gardner Street, perhaps at the Post Office, which he continued until the First World War. In 1916 he enlisted in the Army at Chichester, but was discharged in 1917, suffering from cirrhosis of the liver due to "alcoholic indulgence". He married Mary Jane Fellows in 1923 at Hastings.

John Duly was a half brother of Thomas Alfred Duly, who was one of four children of William Duly and his first wife, Matilda Sophia Shadwell (1815-1870). Unlike Thomas, John is not thought to have published any real photographic cards, but by about 1903 he began issuing a series of charming collotype views of Herstmonceux, Wartling Street, Windmill Hill, Gardner Street, Cowbeech and Magham Down, including several of Herstmonceux Castle, one taken from an old engraving. A card of Gardner Street reproduces an "old photograph". The cards, printed in Saxony, have red captions and greenish backs. Many are quite delicately coloured, though others are monochrome. Duly's name and address are printed on the backs. The oldest examples have undivided backs.

Surprisingly, the series included several views of Eastbourne. It seems unlikely that John Duly would have sold the Eastbourne cards at Herstmonceux; presumably he supplied them to some shopkeeper in the resort, perhaps a relative.

John Duly died in 1950 at the age of 72.

Acknowledgement: Grateful thanks are due to Mark Sargent (Burgess Hill) for providing detailed information on the Duly family.

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