The Lamb Hotel in Eastbourne's Old Town after restoration in 1912 revealed the timbering
Photographers, 32 & 34 High Street, Old Town, Eastbourne. This firm was founded in about 1910, and was still in business in 1920, but closed by 1922. It published real photographic cards of Eastbourne buildings (such as the ancient Lamb Hotel in Old Town) and streets (such as Northiam Road), as well as local villages, such as East Dean. One card is a fine study of a church (as yet unidentified) and horses, all perfectly mirrored in the still waters of a pond. Several cards show the Convalescent Camp at the base of the Downs at Eastbourne, which opened in 1915.
Eastbourne Directories do not disclose who was the proprietor of Comptons. When the firm was founded, Charles Compton was the only adult male resident in Eastbourne who had the surname Compton. He was a house painter living at 22 Birling Street in the Old Town, and is most unlikely to have been the proprietor of Comptons. Perhaps Comptons was named after Compton Place, the Eastbourne home of the Duke of Devonshire. Alternatively, it may have been a branch of a firm of photographers whose headquarters lay in some other part of the country. Further research is clearly needed.
Comptons' real photographic cards normally have black and white photographs and no borders. The captions, where present, are handwritten in plain, blocky capitals and faint rule lines can sometimes be seen.
As noted by Geoffrey Godden in his book Collecting picture postcards (1996, Phillimore, Chichester), Comptons also issued cards of Worthing. The firm seems to have specialised in producing views of rarely photographed residential streets. Several 1912 postmarks have been seen. An issue needing further research is whether the firm was also responsible for the "Comptons Series" of coloured collotypes of Eastbourne and district, which were printed in Germany, but sold by O. C. Barley, an Eastbourne stationer.
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