Henry Thomas Healey


Station Road, Billingshurst

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Portrait and landscape photographer, Carfax Studio, 18 Carfax, Horsham. Healey was born at Bath in 1862, and was the third of seven children of Frances J. Healey and Edward Healey, who had both been born in the town, Frances in about 1829 or 1830 and Edward about four years earlier. The 1881 census records that Edward was a master wireworker employing two men and a boy. He and his family were living at the time at 32 Stall Street in Bath. Henry Thomas had begun working as a photographer's assistant, presumably at a local studio. His younger brother, Arthur Frank Healey, was still at school, but later followed his example and became a photographer.

As a young man Henry Thomas emigrated to South Africa, where he settled at Kimberley, working as a photographer. On November 11, 1891, he married Annie Sarah Ffennell, who had been born in November 1866 at Colesberg in the Cape Colony. They had two sons: Archibald Guy Healey, who was born in September 1892 at Craddock in the Cape Colony, and Arthur Ffennell Healey, born in June 1896 at Gregusland in West Kimberley.

By 1904 Henry Thomas returned with his family to Britain and decided to set up in business as a photographer in Horsham. Perhaps he had relatives or friends in the town. His studio at 18 Carfax had previously belonged to two other photographers, most recently to William Brigden and earlier to John Hicks. In addition to undertaking portrait photography, Healey also began in 1904 to publish black and white real photographic cards of Horsham and Billingshurst. In the following year he contributed photographs to a local guidebook (W. Goodliffe, Horsham and St. Leonard's Forest with their surroundings. Homeland Association, London).

Healey's real photographic cards have borderless photographs with small, neat, machine-printed captions at their base followed by the words "Healey Series" (or in some cases, merely "Healey") and a serial number. The highest number seen so far is 64. The Horsham cards include views of Picts Hill, Doomsday Green, Horsham Court, and the Dog and Bacon Pub in North Parade. Amongst the Billingshurst real photographics are views of Station Road and the High Street. Healey began producing real photographic cards of Christs Hospital by February 1905, if not earlier. A separate series of at least 13 cards depict the Sussex County Show when it was held in Horsham. A card of Capel in Surrey, halfway between Horsham and Dorking, demonstrates that Healey did not restrict his publishing activities to Sussex.

In addition to his real photographics, Healey sold printed cards of Horsham and Christs Hospital (a January 1906 postmark has been reported) that were manufactured by Hartmann but probably used photographs that he had supplied. A card showing pupils sitting down to dinner at Christs Hospital was produced for Healey by Mezzotint, again in or before 1906.

Healey's stay in Horsham was short-lived - perhaps he encountered too much competition from other photographers. By the time Kelly's 1907 Sussex Directory was compiled, he had handed over his studio to William Hobbs and had apparently left the county. The 1911 census locates him at St Ives in Cornwall, again working as a photographer. Rita Tait has established that he took over the studio of William Trevorrow at Tregenna Hill in St Ives by 1909 if not earlier. According to local newspaper advertisements he offered pianos and gramophones for sale and hire, in addition to providing the usual photographic services. Rita also reports that he published postcards of the St Ives area. Following the death of his father in April 1914, and perhaps unsettled by the impending war in Europe, Henry sold his St Ives business and moved back with his family to South Africa, where he died on June 30, 1929.

Acknowledgement: The writer is much indebted to Doug Walton (Australia), a great grandson of Henry Healey, who has kindly supplied some of the above information. He also wishes to thank Rita Tait for kindly sharing the results of her researches on Healey's stay in Cornwall.

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