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Edgar Smith

postcard

George Street, Hailsham

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Stationer, letterpress printer, and lending library proprietor, 21 High Street, Hailsham. Smith started his business at around the start of the last century. In the years leading up to the First World War he published high definition sepia real photographic cards of the town, perhaps continuing into the early 1920s. The cards have no borders, the captions are printed in capitals, and the backs are printed in green. A 1909 postmark is the earliest yet reported.

A second series of sepia-toned real photographics is labelled on the back "Edgar Smith's Artistic Real Photographic Series". They have white borders around softly focussed pictures, and strongly recall the "F.C.C. Series" cards of Eastbourne published by F. C. Cooper. Possibly Smith commissioned the cards from Cooper.

Smith also published coloured collotype cards of Hailsham, printed in Saxony, as well as some sepia-tinted halftones. One of the collotypes shows his shop with postcards and framed photographs prominently displayed. "Peeps around Hailsham" is a black and white multi-view real photographic marked on the back "Edgar Smith, The Library, Hailsham". The sepia halftones carry a similar label.

Edgar Smith was born at Highworth in Wiltshire in 1869. He was the son of Fanny Smith and James J. Smith, who was a stationer, printer and postmaster at 40 High Street, Highworth. After leaving school Edgar worked for a time for his father as a printer and jobbing compositor, before branching out on his own. In 1900 he married Mary Elizabeth Sharp, who had been born at Burford in Oxfordshire in about 1873. The marriage was registered at Chipping Norton in the Cotswolds. Mary and Edgar had two children: John Sharp Smith, born in 1903, and Margaret Mary Smith, born in 1906, both at Hailsham. The family lived over their Hailsham shop, and shared their home with a succession of apprentices and assistants. In 1901 Edgar employed his younger brother, William H. Smith, as a shop manager.

Edgar was still trading in 1928, but by the time Kelly's 1930 Sussex Directory was compiled he had closed his shop and was presumably living in retirement.

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