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Focus on pioneers of photography in Lewes

Daniel Blagrove Snr has the distinction of being the first person recorded as a portrait photographer in Lewes (1851)

Daniel Blagrove Snr has the distinction of being the first person recorded as a portrait photographer in Lewes (1851)

Local Victorian and Edwardian photographers is the subject of the next meeting of the Lewes History Group on Monday, June 9.

Members will hear an illustrated talk by amateur photo-historian David Simkin on the renowned and lesser known photographers who were active in the town of Lewes and the surrounding villages of Cooksbridge, Halland, Newick and Ringmer between 1851 and 1910.

There were more than 30 offering their services during that period.

David will cover the history of professional photography in the county town from the time when daguerreotype portraits were taken on Brack Mount in June 1851 up until 1910, when the firm of A. M. Bliss & Co. of Lansdown Place, Lewes, was selling ‘real photograph’ picture postcards of Lewes, Alfriston, Barcombe, Plumpton and Upper Dicker.

He will concentrate on the lives and careers of established professional photographers such as Daniel Blagrove and Edward Reeves, but he will also look at the work of amateur and part-time exponents such as Edward Bedford (1865-1953), Henry John Bartlett (1875-1965) and William Baker Funnell of Newick (1848-1938). Interesting that they all lived to a ripe old age.

David runs the website PhotoHistory-Sussex.co.uk. He will illustrate his talk with primary sources and examples taken from his large collection of photographs taken in Lewes and surrounding villages in East Sussex during the Victorian and Edwardian period. The venue is the King’s Church building in Brooks Road opposite the Homebase car park. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start and everyone is welcome.

There is a small admission charge on the door (£3 non-members and £2 members) and free refreshments. Visit www.leweshistory.org.uk for more information on the group, its meetings and other activities.

In the early 1850s Edward Reeves,­ watchmaker and jeweller,­ became interested in the new art of photography. In 1858 he moved to 159 High Street, Lewes, and built a daylight studio. The studio has been in continuous use by four generations of the Reeves family up to the present day.

 

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