Thomas Alfred Duly


Woolpack Inn, Gardner Street. The photograph was taken in front of Duly's house.

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Stationer, bookseller and by 1895 proprietor of a "fancy repository" in Herstmonceux known as The Bazaar. Duly was also at various times a harness maker, saddler and coal merchant! He was born in 1844 at Herstmonceux and was the son of William Duly (1815-1892) and his first wife, Matilda Sophia Shadwell (1815-1870). He was a half brother of John Milton Duly.

Thomas Alfred Duly married Sarah Lade Pilbeam in 1873. She had been born at Warbleton in 1844 and bore him two children: Thomas William Duly (born in 1875) and Sarah Annie Duly (born in 1882). In 1891 Thomas William, like his father, was working as a harness maker. The family lived next door to the Post Office (or in part of the same building), which was run by William Duly. When the 1901 census was held, Thomas Alfred Duly reported that he was a saddler. Thomas William had become a cycle agent in Gardner Street, and this remained his occupation until at least the First World War (see Kelly's 1915 Sussex Directory). Kelly's 1903 Directory lists Thomas Alfred as a harness maker and fancy repository proprietor, while the 1905 edition describes him as a coal merchant as well as proprietor of the repository. The 1909 edition and later editions refer to him as a saddler. The 1909 edition is the last to mention the fancy repository. Thomas Alfred was still working as a saddler in 1918. He died at Gardner Street on November 28, 1920. He left effects of £1536, a not inconsiderable sum in those days, to his son and daughter. At the time, Thomas William was still a cycle agent and Sarah had not married.

Thomas Alfred Duly published good quality sepia real photographic cards of Herstmonceux, including views of the High Street and the Church, and also Boreham Street. Some cards show clouds, which is quite unusual for the period. The photographs have no borders. The handwritten captions are sometimes black, sometimes white. Capitals are employed only at the start of words. The handwriting is neat with characteristically square-bottomed "u"s and diagonally closed "e"s. In contrast with the John Duly cards, Herstmonceux is spelt Hurstmonceux (except on a multi-view card issued for Christmas 1907).

Duly evidently had difficulty producing enough real photographic cards to satisfy demand and so resorted to publishing collotypes of the most popular views, for example of Herstmonceux Castle and Windmill Hill. He also produced a collotype card of the church at Wartling, north of Pevensey. It is believed that he first started selling collotype views in 1905. Some collotypes are marked "Palacette Studio" (see the entry for Albert Shoesmith).

Some undated black and white real photographic cards of the local Boy Scout group that have come to light are labelled on the front: "Photo T. W. Duly". A card of Herstmonceux Castle is similarly credited. Perhaps it was Thomas William who took all the photographs, and his father who issued them as postcards.

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

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