Hamish Bell


The Augustine Monastery, High Street, Rye (a Bell card)

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Photographer, Grisnez View, East Cliff, Rye. Bell was born at Broughty Ferry in Forfarshire in about 1887. He moved to Rye in his late teens or early twenties. In July 1909 he registered his copyright ownership of a photograph of Rye.

The 1911 census records that 34-year-old Hamish was living at East Cliff with his 57-year-old widowed mother, Joan McGregor Bell, who had been born in Russia.

Bell published a limited selection of black and white real photographic cards of Rye, including the example shown above, which is labelled on the back "Published by the Photographer, Hamish Bell, Rye, Sussex". Other cards of similar design are known that are labelled "Published by the Photographers, Hamish Bell, Rye, Sussex, & S. J. Hayward Eastbourne". Subjects include Mermaid Street and the Mermaid Inn at Rye and a road at Jevington.

S. J. Hayward may have been Sydney Jack Hayward, who in 1911 was 26 years old, and living with his parents, Ebenezer and Ellen Hayward, at 1 Ivy Terrace, Eastbourne. Sydney worked as an assistant to his father, who was a china merchant.

Bell's own cards of Rye and the slightly more numerous Bell-Hayward cards, which include both Rye and other places in Sussex, are hard to find today and were probably issued only in very small numbers. March and April 1910 postmarks have been reported, so evidently the cards went on sale some years before the First World War. Bell is not listed in Kelly's 1915 Sussex Directory and may have left the county by this date, perhaps to fight in the war.

Design: Lucid Design