Malcolm Powell


Uncaptioned card of Rowfant House near Crawley (1971 postmark)

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Photographer and successor to Harold Connold at 15 High Street, East Grinstead. David Gould in his latest book, East Grinstead through a lens (2010, Amberley Publishing Co., Stroud, Gloucestershire), discusses Powell's life and activities as a photographer in more detail than can be attempted here. Powell was born at East Grinstead in November 1931, and was the son of a Welsh father, "Fred" Powell, and a Brightonian mother, Gladys Hardy. He was employed by Connold as a photographic assistant from 1948 to 1950, before he joined the RAF for national service. On his return, Connold employed him for six more months, as required by law, but then dismissed him. After this, Powell operated as a free-lance photographer for a few years. When Connold retired in 1959, he sold his High Street studio to Powell, who proved adept at generating new business. In September 1961 Powell married his assistant, Doreen Elkins, by whom he had four children. Doreen became his business partner and a skilled photographer in her own right.

Powell is remembered today as a talented photographer who produced many memorable studio and wedding portraits. According to Gould, "he was never particularly keen on photographing local views or making picture post cards since the ones he had in stock were not selling". However, he did reprint some of Connold's cards and issue various new cards of his own, for example of Sackville College. When he retired in 1996, at the age of 64, he sold his High Street studio to Lawrence Bull, who sold it on to the present owner, Frazer Visser. After giving up the studio Powell continued to lead a busy life devoting himself to his various hobbies and civic activities. He founded Radio Queen Vic for patients at East Grinstead Hospital in 1986, and later presented local radio shows featuring his favourite band music from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. He died aged 83 on 10 December 2014.

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