John William Pulsford


Flooding after a high tide and heavy rain at Seaside, Eastbourne (1904 postmark)

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Stationer, bookseller and fancy goods dealer, 80 Terminus Road, Eastbourne. Pulsford was in business by 1882, and for some years traded under the name "Royal Library"! After he retired, between 1909 and 1911, his shop became part of a large drapery store.

By 1903 Pulsford began selling black and white collotypes of Eastbourne and district. Beneath each picture is a wide, white border with the caption printed in black, while lower still in smaller type are the words "J. Pulsford", Eastbourne". These cards were printed by Osnabrucker Papierwaaren Fabrik in Berlin and have the letters "O.P.F." arranged in a trefoil. Some cards are also labelled "Printed in Prussia". The cards include views of the golf course at "Paradise", a wreck off the Seven Sisters, another wreck at Beachy Head, the Royal Parade in a storm, and perhaps most memorably Seaside Road at Eastbourne flooded by the sea, with a few intrepid pedestrians wading through the water (the card is entitled "Tidal Wave..."). A November 1904 postmark has been seen, but the inundation may date from the winter of 1903-4.

By 1904 a coloured series was on sale with a similar white border underneath the pictures and captions printed in red. The cards are again labelled "J. Pulsford, Eastbourne" and were almost certainly printed abroad, but lack the monogram or any other indication of the printer's identity. At least one of the coloured cards was also available in black and white, "printed in Saxony", but without Pulsford's name as publisher.

A black and white halftone of Michelham Priory has come to light, with a caption in bold black capitals under the picture and "Pulsford", Eastbourne" in lighter print on the right. Another halftone of the same general design shows Meads Road in Eastbourne and utilises the same negative as a card in the coloured series. Other early cards are known that were produced by Evelyn Wrench Ltd of London with Pulsford as the named retailer. A collotype of Terminus Road, for example, is labelled on the back "The Wrench Series, No 979. Printed in Saxony. Sold by J. Pulsford Eastbourne".

Pulsford seems to have published very few real photographics, but a multi-view of St. Saviour's Church and Memorial Chapel has been found, with vignettes of both the first and current vicar.

Pulsford was born at Hoxton in the Shoreditch area of London in 1852, the second of two children of William John Pulsford, a tailor, born at Bethnal Green in about 1826, and Rebecca Pulsford, born around 1820 at Finsbury. Their first child, Rebecca Henrietta Pulsford, had been born at Hoxton in 1848. In 1861 the Pulsford home was at Dorset Crescent in Hoxton.

By the time the 1871 census was taken, Pulsford's mother had died. He was living in East Road, Hoxton, with his father and sister, and was working, presumably locally, as an assistant bookseller. By 1881 he had moved to Eastbourne to set up his own shop as a bookseller and stationer at 80 Terminus Road. His sister lived with him and helped to run the shop, which he kept until he retired. In 1890 he married Emily Fielder, who had been born at Herne Bay in about 1870. The census in the following year records that he and his wife and sister were living in St Leonards Road in Eastbourne. Emily bore him three daughters: Winifred Emily Pulsford in 1892, Dora Christine Pulsford in about 1895 and Elsie Marion Pulsford in 1903. There may possibly have been other children that died in infancy.

Kelly's 1895 Sussex Directory records that Pulsford and his family had moved to 32 Upper Avenue in Eastbourne. They were still there in 1899, but the 1901 census locates them at 10 Upper Avenue. Rebecca was still living with her brother in 1901, and was the oldest member of the household. William Brooker, a fellow postcard publisher, lived at Number 8. A card of the Long Man of Wilmington exists in both Pulsford and Brooker versions, which suggests that the two men sometimes collaborated.

By 1911 the Pulsfords (including Rebecca) had moved to "Rosedon" in Summerdown Road in Eastbourne. Winifred had become a pupil teacher and Dora a student telegraphist.

John Pulsford died at Eastbourne in 1934, aged 82.

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