Ebenezer William & Eva Pannell


New Royal Mail van at Brighton

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Brother and sister photographers at Haywards Heath and Hove. Ebenezer William Pannell was born in Brighton in 1886, and was the eldest son of a well-known local photographer, confusingly also called Ebenezer Pannell (though without the middle name William). He assisted his father operate a studio in Church Road in Hove, before running studios that may have been acquired and owned by his father in Church Road at Burgess Hill, in Perrymount Road in Haywards Heath and Hassocks Road in Hurstpierpoint. In 1916 he or his father added to the ever-growing empire of family businesses by acquiring the Haywards Heath studio of Douglas Miller at 9 Boltro Road. When his father retired in about the same year, Ebenezer William Pannell returned to Hove to take over the management of the Church Road studio.

Ebenezer William Pannell married Daisy Kathleen Nutley at Brighton in 1911. He and Daisy had three children: Sylvia M. Pannell, born at Burgess Hill in 1912, Edward G. Pannell, born at Hove in 1919 and Iris D.J. Pannell, born at Hove in 1926. He was excused military service during the First World War.

Ebenezer William Pannell continued his father's business at Church Road in Hove under the name E. W. Pannell Ltd. until the early 1950s. He died in 1951 and the studio closed by 1954.

Ebenezer William Pannell, like his father, was mainly a portrait photographer, but also issued postcard views. Perhaps his best known card is a halftone showing "The new Brighton to London Motor Mail", which replaced the old horse-drawn mail service in 1905. Of uncertain date are a series of uncaptioned cards of processions and parades at Burgess Hill, associated in many cases with the annual Queen of May celebrations. A 1909 postmark has been noted. Some of these cards are embossed "E. W. Pannell, Burgess Hill". In 1915 Ebenezer William Pannell issued some sepia-tinted, white bordered real photographic cards with his name written in a distinctive Art Nouveau style in the bottom left corner of each photograph. Examples include a view of "Peas (sic) Pottage Camp 1915" and three or more uncaptioned cards of the fire that destroyed the corn and forage store in Market Square, Haywards Heath in October 1915.

Pannell was still producing cards in 1924, for example a group picture of the Borough of Hove Police.

By 1930 he handed over the running of the Haywards Heath studio in Boltro Road to his sister, Eva Sarah Pannell. She may earlier have helped him manage the studio and produce limited numbers of picture postcards. As yet no firm evidence has been found that Eva published any cards of her own after she took over the studio, other than portrait photos (blind stamped "Pannell" with the leading P and final Ls greatly elongated in an Art Deco design). She was evidently a talented photographer and in 1938 contributed photographs to the Official Guide to Haywards Heath, Cuckfield and Lindfield, published by the local Chamber of Commerce and printed by Charles Clarke. She died at Haywards Heath early in 1983.

Acknowledgement: it is a pleasure to acknowledge the help of David Simkin, whose extensive researches on the Pannell family have helped inform the above account. For more detailed information you are recommended to visit his website at

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