Potter's Photo Stores


East Hill, Hastings

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Little is known about the proprietor of Potter's Photo Stores, which traded at 59 High Street, Hastings, and also in Bexhill. Wiseman Horner shared the same Hastings address in the 1930s and may possibly have once worked for Potter.

In the mid 1920s a Frank Bristow ran a restaurant at 59 High Street. Potter took over by 1926, converting it into "The Cosy Café", but he soon tired of serving tea and coffee and switched to selling photographic materials, such as film and developing chemicals. In addition, he published sepia-tinted real photographic cards of Hastings, Bexhill. Pett and Camber. The pictures have white borders, generally neat captions written in small capital letters, and sometimes also a serial number. The firm's name is printed on the card backs. Two 1931 postmarks have been recorded.

Potter seems to have issued only a modest number of different cards, and, judging from the rarity of surviving examples, sales must have been quite limited. One card that has been seen is numbered 706, but there is no evidence that Potter produced anything like this many cards. In the case of Pett, for example, he seems to have issued only about 15 different cards.

Some of the pictures on the Photo Stores cards are so uninspired that they can only have been the work of an amateur photographer, presumably Potter himself or an unskilled assistant. Others are of a very high standard, and may well have been taken by Wiseman Horner. Interestingly, a Potter card showing the High Street in Bexhill Old Town was followed within a very few years by a card issued by Horner showing virtually the same view. The obvious inference is that the same photographer (presumably Horner) took both pictures, standing each time at more or less the same spot in the road while aiming his camera at the same shops and houses.

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