Hastings - Thomas, JW

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Professional Photographers in Hastings (T)

John Wesley Thomas

Part One: 1858-1887

 John Wesley Thomas (1831-1908)

John Wesley Thomas was born in Ore, Hastings, on 20th May 1831, the youngest son of Esther (Hester) and David Thomas, who worked as a grocer and baker in Hastings. David Thomas (born c1797, Westfield, Sussex) and his wife Esther Ford (born 1792, Battle, Sussex) were Methodists in religion and when their son was baptised at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Hastings on 17th July 1831, he was baptised "John Wesley Thomas", after John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. John Wesley Thomas had a number of siblings - Mary Thomas (born c1821), Charlotte Thomas (born 1822, Hastings), Joshua Thomas (born 1825, Hastings), Ann Thomas (born 1828, Ore, Hastings) and Sarah Thomas (born 1834, Ore, Hastings). John Wesley Thomas's elder brother Joshua Thomas (1825-1909) trained as a baker under his father and before and after his marriage to Agnes Rosina Phillips Duly in 1852, Joshua worked as a "baker & confectioner" at 24 High Street Hastings. Joshua Thomas later ran a number of baker & confectionery shops in Hastings. Ann Thomas (born 1828, Ore, Hastings), also known as Anne, assisted her father and worked alongside her brother Joshua and served as his "Housekeeper" at 24 High Street Hastings up until his marriage to Agnes Duly in 1852.

By 1851, David Thomas had opened a baker's shop at Egremont Place in the Halton district of Hastings. Initially, John Wesley Thomas followed his father's trade and in the 1851 census return, John Thomas is recorded as a nineteen year old baker, living with his father and two unmarried sisters at Egremont House, in the All Saints' area of Hastings. In 1863, David Thomas, John Wesley Thomas's father, died.

In 1855, John Wesley Thomas married Jane Covell, the twenty-year old daughter of William and Mary Ann Covell of Shoreditch, London [ Marriage registered in Hastings during the fourth quarter of 1855 ]. Jane Covell was born in Shoreditch, London on 13th January 1835 and baptised at St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch on 4th March 1835. Jane's father, William Covell was a London tailor who brought his family to Sussex and set up a greengrocer's shop in the High Street of Hastings. After William Covell's death, his widow, Mrs Mary Ann Covell (c1813-1901) ran a lodging house at 21 White Rock Place, Hastings.

By 1857, David Thomas, John's father, was running a grocery and bakery at Egremont Place, Hastings. At this date, John Wesley Thomas, who had recently fathered his first child ( a boy named George Thomas) was probably assisting his father in the bakery. Within a year of his son's birth, John Wesley Thomas established a business under his own name in the High Street of Hastings. It was in 1858, that John Wesley Thomas set himself up as a "photographic artist" and opened a photographic portrait studio at No. 52 High Street, Hastings.

John Wesley Thomas - Photographic Artist

John Wesley Thomas established his photographic portrait studio at 52 High Street, in the Old Town area of Hastings, in 1858. Number 52 was a relatively tall building and it is likely that John Thomas constructed his studio at the very top of the premises to ensure that the studio received as much light as possible. In the early days of photography, studios were often installed with very large glass windows or provided with a glass roof to take full advantage of the natural light available. (Some early photographic portrait studios were specially constructed out of glass - in 1854, Robert Farmer was using a photographic glasshouse "constructed on scientific principles" at his photographic studio at 59 North Street, Brighton and, in 1858, Albert Vidler of Eastbourne was taking photographic portraits in "a Glassroom constructed expressly for the purpose").

[ABOVE] A portrait of the veteran Hastings photographer John Wesley Thomas (1831-1908). William Arthur Thomas opened his photographic portrait studio at 52 High Street, Hastings in 1858.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Sue Peyman-Stroud

 

 

John Wesley Thomas's Early Years as a Photographic Artist (1858-1861)

[ABOVE] An advertisement for John Wesley Thomas's photographic portrait studio at 52 High Street, Hastings, published in the Hastings & St Leonards News on 14th September, 1860. At this date, Thomas was producing stereoscopic views as well as photographic portraits on paper and glass (collodion positives).

For the first few years, John Wesley Thomas was probably taking collodion positive photographs ( known as ambrotypes in America ). Collodion positives were photographic portraits on glass which had become the cheap alternative to daguerreotypes. In the 1850s, a cased daguerreotype portrait would cost anything from 10s 6d to 2.10s each, yet a collodion positive portrait could be had for as little as one shilling. In an advertisement placed in the Hastings & St Leonards News in July 1860, J. Thomas, Photographic Artist, of 52 High Street, Hastings, offered to take "Portraits on Glass or Paper". According to the advertisement, John Thomas also provided "Portraits and Views taken for the Stereoscope."

When the 1861 census was taken on the evening of 7th April 1861, John Thomas and his family were living at 52 High Street, Hastings. On the census return, John Thomas is described as a "Photographic Artist", aged 29. Also recorded at the High Street premises was John Thomas's twenty-five year old wife, Jane, and their three young children - George, aged 4, daughter Ann, aged 2, and a month old baby who had been christened John Wesley, like his father.

J. W. Thomas's Studio at 52 High Street, Hastings

[ABOVE] The interior of a carte-de-visite portrait studio in the 1860s. The photographer is using a special multi-lens camera which could take between four to a dozen small portraits on a single glass negative. The camera in the middle foreground shows four apertures which correspond to the four lenses of the carte-de-visite camera. A woman poses in front of a mock-up of a drawing room in a grand house, complete with a cardboard fireplace and a fake ancestral portrait on the painted backdrop. On the far right of the illustration is an alternative studio portrait setting - an artificial balustrade in front of a magnificent countryside view featuring trees and a church spire. In front of this illusory view are two posing stands, complete with head clamps, which were used to keep a subject still during lengthy exposure times. The large windows and skylight provides the photographer with the required amount of natural light.

[ABOVE] On the right-hand side of this photograph, taken around 1910, a young woman wearing a white apron stands outside No.52 High Street, a tall flint-faced building which stood directly opposite St Clement's Church in the Old Town area of Hastings. John Wesley Thomas opened a photographic studio at number 52 in the year 1858. This building was the location of  a photographic portrait studio from 1858 until 1902. In 1865 J. W. Thomas opened a new studio at 45a George Street, Hastings and the following year the studio at 52 High Street was taken over by the photography firm of Henry Godbold & Co.
 

 

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a young man and a seated woman, taken at John Wesley Thomas's studio at 52 High Street, Hastings (c1864). On the reverse of this carte, inscribed in pencil, is the negative number 2477.

The Carte-de-visite Era (1862-1871)

By 1862, the carte-de-visite portrait (also known as an "album portrait") had become a fashionable and popular format of photography. Cartes-de-visite were small photographic paper prints on card mounts the same size as conventional visiting cards (roughly 21/2 inches by 41/4 inches or 6.3 cm by 10.5 cm). This photograph format originated in France and so a small portrait mounted on card came to be known as a 'carte-de-visite', the French term for visiting card.

In the early 1860s, John Wesley Thomas was producing carte-de-visite portraits at his High Street studio. Collodion positive portraits were usually taken in a simple setting with a plain background, but the majority of carte-de-visite portraits were of full-length figures in studio settings that simulated grand drawing- rooms or verandas that looked out over landscaped views. Judging by surviving examples of his carte-de-visite portraits, Thomas employed a range of studio settings which incorporated real pieces of furniture with fake classical columns, plinths, balustrades and a selection of painted backdrops. (see the illustration of a carte-de-visite studio above).

A newspaper advertisement for J. W. Thomas's Photographic Establishment at 52 High Street, Hastings, which appeared in the Hastings & St Leonards News in January 1865, provides details of the scale of charges offered by John Wesley Thomas for his carte-de-visite portraits. A single copy of a full length portrait would cost the customer 2s 6d. However, savings could be made by ordering multiple copies. Six copies of a full length carte-de-visite portrait would cost 6 shillings and a dozen copies could be had for 10 shillings. J. W. Thomas's prices were in the middle range charged by studio photographers at the time. (A high class studio, such as John Mayall's Photographic Portrait Studio in Brighton's King's Road, charged 1. 1s. for a set of twelve cartes-de-visite, while Stephen Grey, another Brighton photographer was advertising "one dozen for Five Shillings"). Before the end of 1865, as a result of increased competition from other studios in Hastings, Thomas reduced his carte-de-visite prices. By October 1865, the charge for a dozen carte-de-visite portraits was cut by Thomas from 10 shillings to 6 shillings.

 

Cartes-de-visite from J. W. Thomas's Studio at 52 High Street, Hastings

[ABOVE] An early carte-de-visite portrait produced by John Wesley Thomas at 52 High Street, Hastings, his first studio in the town (c1862). The back of the carte carries a low negative number (No. 150). The subject of the portrait appears to be a minister of religion - perhaps a fellow Methodist. The fake stone balustrade appears to be made from wood, or even cardboard, crudely painted to suggest solidity. [ABOVE] An carte-de-visite portrait of a young woman, photographed by John Wesley Thomas in his studio at 52 High Street in the Old Town area of Hastings (c1863). The back of the carte carries a negative number of 563. The young woman, who wears a fine silk dress over a crinoline, is posed alongside a fake, classical-style column and pedestal and in front of a painted backcloth.
   
J. W. Thomas opens a new studio in George Street, Hastings

The popular demand for carte-de-visite portraits persuaded John Wesley Thomas to open a new studio at 45 George Street, Hastings. On 28th April 1865, Thomas placed a notice in the Hastings & St Leonards News to announce that he had "completed a NEW STUDIO for PHOTOGRAPHS at 45 GEORGE STREET, which has been erected on the latest new principle of lighting". Thomas went on to point out that the improved lighting at the new studio was "especially adapted for the Portraits of Children, Groups, &c.". In another advertisement, issued in October 1865, Thomas informed the public that his new studio was "constructed on an entirely new principle, whereby a most effective light is obtained, and an excellent Likeness secured at all hours of the day", adding "State of the weather of no importance, as sunshine is not required."

For a short period, J. W. Thomas ran the studio at 52 High Street alongside the new studio in George Street. Both of Thomas's studios were in the Old Town area of Hastings and he soon realised that there was no advantage in operating two studios in close proximity to each other. By 1866, the business premises at 52 High Street had been acquired by Edwin Whiteman (born 1834, Udimore, Sussex ), a bookseller and stationer. Whiteman established a Library on the ground floor of 52 High Street, but he must have retained the photographic studio because, in November 1866, the photography firm of Godbold & Co., opened a branch establishment at Mr. Whiteman's Library, 52 High Street, Hastings. [ The founder of the firm, the photographer Henry James Godbold (born 1842, Islington, London), had established a photographic studio in Hastings at 2 Robertson Street, the year before ]. Around 1868, Edwin Whiteman, the proprietor of the Library at 52 High Street, purchased the studio from Messrs. Godbold & Co. and the photographic studio remained in the hands of the Whiteman family until 1887.

When John Thomas started his photography business in 1858 there were about six photographic portrait studios in Hastings and St Leonards, but by 1865 the number of studios had doubled. Simpson & Co.'s Directory of 1865 lists twelve photographic artists in the Hastings & St Leonards area. The increased competition compelled John Wesley Thomas to reduce his carte-de-visite prices. On 13th October 1865, J. W. Thomas placed an advertisement in the Hastings & St Leonards News under the heading of "CARTES DE VISITE, GREAT REDUCTION IN PRICES". Thomas was now offering twelve cartes-de-visite for only six shillings. A set of six carte-de-visite portraits would cost 4 shillings at Thomas's studio.

 

[ABOVE] The reverse of an 1870s carte-de-visite giving details of John Wesley Thomas's new studio at 45 George Street, Hastings.
 

J. W. Thomas's Topographical Cartes

John Wesley Thomas, like his fellow Hastings photographer Frederick Stephen Mann (c1822-1904), began producing topographical cartes during the 1860s. In the 1860s and 1870s, John Wesley Thomas produced a number of topographical cartes featuring scenes photographed in and around Hastings, including picturesque shots of Hastings Castle, Fairlight Glen and Ecclesbourne Glen.

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite photograph of a wooded area of countryside on the outskirts of Hastings (Ecclesbourne Glen?) by John Wesley Thomas, Photographic Artist of 45 George Street, Hastings (c1868). [ABOVE] The trade plate of John Wesley Thomas, Portrait & Landscape Photographer of 45 George Street, Hastings, rubber stamped on the reverse of the topographical cdv illustrated on the left. (c1868). [ABOVE] A carte-de-visite photograph of a wooded area of countryside on the outskirts of Hastings (possibly Fairlight Glen) by John Wesley Thomas, Photographic Artist of 45 George Street, Hastings (c1874).
 

J. W. Thomas's Magic Lantern Shows

From 1865, John Wesley Thomas provided a range of photographic services in addition to the standard carte-de visite portraits taken in his studio. At the foot of an advertisement for his carte-de-visite portraits issued in October 1865, Thomas lists the other services he offered - "Photographs and other Works of Art copied. Family Groups and Invalids taken at their own Residences. Views, Tombs, &c., taken on the shortest notice".

By the end of 1866, John Wesley Thomas had introduced a new service - Magic Lantern Shows and the exhibition of "Dissolving Views". Using the illumination provided by "the Oxy-hydrogen Lime Light", Thomas projected photographic views for the entertainment of audiences at public shows and private parties. In November 1866, J. W. Thomas announced that he would be exhibiting a series of "Dissolving Views" at the Market Hall, Hastings over three successive evenings in December. The show took place at the Market Hall on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December 1866, starting at 8 o'clock in the evening. Members of the public were charged one shilling for a front row seat, but could pay sixpence for a seat in the second row. Children and school parties paid half-price. In his advertisements, Thomas described what was in store for the paying audience :

DISSOLVING VIEWS, ILLUMINATED BY THE OXY-HYDROGEN LIME LIGHT

The Entertainment will be illustrated by specimens of Views by the best Artists, many of which are Photographs taken on the spot and coloured for the occasion. The Views will be fully explained, and the Entertainment accompanied by suitable Music.

The "Dissolving View" show at the Market Hall in Hastings must have been a success, because John W. Thomas was providing Magic Lantern Shows and Exhibitions of Dissolving Views for the next ten years. Thomas offered to exhibit his 'magic lantern' slides at private evening parties, schools and other institutions in and around Hastings. It seems that Thomas was prepared to carry his slide shows to venues outside of Hastings, as he had a scale of charges related to the distance he had to travel.

 

[ABOVE] A double advertisement placed by John Wesley Thomas in the Hastings & St Leonards News of 27th November 1868. In the 1860s and 1870s, J. W. Thomas's magic lantern shows were as commercially important as his studio portrait business at 45 George Street. The series of slides showing "Natural Phenomena of the World" and "Scenes in the Arctic Regions" were regularly featured in his displays. Thomas was continually adding to his sets of slides. In the winter of 1870, Thomas announced "a new set of slides, illustrating the various Battle Fields in the Franco-Prussian War", a conflict that had erupted earlier that year.
 

[ABOVE] A portrait of Mrs Jane Thomas (1869-1905), the wife of the Hastings photographer John Wesley Thomas.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Sue Peyman-Stroud

The Family of John Wesley Thomas

When the 1871 census was taken, John Wesley Thomas was living with his wife and children at 45 George Street, Hastings. John W. Thomas is entered on the 1871 census return as a "Photographer", aged 39. Two of John Wesley Thomas's sons - George Stewart Thomas (born 1856) and John Wesley Thomas (born 1861) - had died in infancy. The oldest child recorded at 45 George Street was twelve year old Anne Thomas [birth registered in Hastings during the first quarter of 1859]. A second daughter, Ellen Thomas, had been born in 1864 [birth registered in Hastings during the second quarter of 1864]. John and Jane Thomas's only surviving son, William Arthur Thomas, was born in Hastings in 1867. [The birth of William Arthur Thomas was registered in Hastings during the second quarter of 1867]. The youngest child was Alice Rachel Thomas, who had arrived in 1870, and whose age was given as "eleven months" when the 1871 census was taken.

At the time of the 1881 census, John Wesley Thomas's address is given as 451/2 George Street, Hastings. All four surviving Thomas children were living with their parents. Ellen (known as "Nellie") was seventeen years of age, but no occupation is given. The two youngest children, fourteen year old Willie (William Arthur) and ten year old Alice were still at school. Annie Thomas, the eldest, was now a young woman of twenty-two. Also living with the family in George Street was John Wesley Thomas's unmarried niece, thirty-two year old Miss Ellen Thomas, and Mercy Smith, aged 21, a general servant.

Mrs Mary Ann Covell, the widowed mother of John Wesley Thomas's wife Jane, was at this time running a lodging house at 21 White Rock Place, Hastings. Boarding at Mrs Covell's house in 1881, was Melancthon Moore (born c1862, Forest Hill, Kent), a nineteen year old auctioneer's clerk. The building at 21 White Rock Place had been used as a photographic studio continuously since 1866. Around 1879, John Wesley Thomas had acquired the studio at number 21. Next door, at 22 White Rock Place, was Walter Hudson (born 1850, London), an "Artist & Photographer" who had previously operated a studio at 25 White Rock Place. Mrs Covell's lodger, Melancthon Moore, married Annie Thomas, John Wesley Thomas's eldest daughter, in 1884 [ marriage registered in Hastings during the first quarter of 1884 ]. Probably under the tutelage of J. W. Thomas, his father-in-law, Melancthon Moore became a professional photographer.

 

Cartes-de-visite from J. W. Thomas's Studio at 45 George Street, Hastings

[ABOVE] The reverse of a carte-de-visite portrait  taken at John Wesley Thomas's new studio at 45 George Street, Hastings around 1872. [see portrait RIGHT]. Inscribed in ink, is the negative number 21,628.

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a seated young man holding a high- crowned bowler hat. photographed at John Wesley Thomas's new studio at 45 George Street, Hastings (c1872).

[ABOVE] A full-length portrait of a young woman photographed at John Wesley Thomas's new studio at 45 George Street, Hastings (c1873). The negative number given on the reverse of this carte-de-visite is No.22139

[ABOVE] A portrait of a teenaged girl photographed by John Wesley Thomas at his studio at 45 George Street, Hastings in the mid-1870s.

J. W. Thomas's Photographic Studio at  No.45 George Street

[ABOVE] A recent photograph of 45 George Street, Hastings (2006).

John Wesley Thomas opened his new studio at  45 George Street, Hastings in April 1865. John Wesley Thomas worked as a photographer from 45 George Street, Hastings from 1865 until his retirement in 1900. The building at 45 George Street was also used as a family home by John and Jane Thomas and their children during this period.

George Street was in the Old Town area of Hastings. John Wesley Thomas was the first photographer to establish a photographic portrait studio in Hastings Old Town when he opened the doors of his "Photographic Establishment" at 52 High Street, Hastings in 1858. By 1867, there were about sixteen photographic portrait studios in Hastings and St Leonards. Only two of these studios were in the Old Town area of Hastings - Thomas's former studio at 52 High Street, which in 1867 was operated at Whiteman's Library by Godbold & Co. and J. W. Thomas's new studio at 45 George Street. The majority of the photographic studios were located in the fashionable areas of Hastings and St Leonards. In 1867, four of Hastings' studios were located in Robertson Street and three were situated in White Rock Place.

In his advertisements, J. W. Thomas claimed that his new studio had been erected "on an entirely new principle, whereby a most effective light is obtained, and an excellent Likeness secured at all hours of the day". At this period in the history of studio photography, photographers were dependent on natural light and so we can only assume that Thomas had situated his studio at the very top of the building and that the roof and the north-facing side wall was largely constructed of glass. The large glass windows would ensure that the studio made use of all the available light and thereby reduce camera exposure times. During lengthy exposure times, photographs of fidgety children and groups of more than three were notoriously difficult. The short exposure times that could be achieved with excellent studio lighting would ensure that the blurring that occurred when a subject moved was largely avoided. This is the reason why Thomas pointed out that the improved lighting at the George Street studio was "especially adapted for the Portraits of Children, Groups, &c.". The quality of light at Thomas's studio must have impressive, because he maintained that the "state of the weather (was) of no importance, as sunshine is not required".

By 1891, John Wesley Thomas, his wife Jane, and their youngest daughter Alice had moved from the family apartments in George Street to No. 1 Croft Villas in New Croft Road, Hastings. John Thomas's son, twenty-four year old William Arthur Thomas took charge of the day-to-day running of the studio at 45 George Street and continued to reside in the living quarters at 451/2 George Street, Hastings.

J. W. Thomas's Branch Studios in Hastings

52 Robertson Street, Hastings (1877-1879)

Around 1877, John Wesley Thomas acquired the photographic studio at 52 Robertson Street, Hastings. The studio premises at 52 Robertson Street had been specially designed and built around 1864 "for photographic purposes"  by a Mr Plummer, under " the direction of a skilled practical photographer" named Francis Ross Wells (1834-1893). The building at number 52 was equipped with a north-facing "glass-house" studio which was pronounced " the Best Lighted one on the South Coast ".The photographer Francis Ross Wells occupied the studio at 52 Robertson Street until 1867, when it passed to John Beetham. After John Beetham, the studio was operated by Thomas Mann junior (born c1839, Hastings), but he had died in 1874 at the age of 34. Robert Bell Hutchison (born c1849,Tunbridge Wells, Kent) ran the studio from 1874 to 1876. John Wesley Thomas took over the studio from Thorpe & Friederich (a short-lived partnership between photographers William Edward Thorpe and Walter Ulrich Friederich). An article published in the Hastings & St Leonards Observer on 17th December 1881 (the year that the studio passed from J. W. Thomas to Henry Constantine Jennings) described the premises as a "magnificent studio" and gave the opinion that "the studio in Robertson-street is one of the most perfect in the kingdom". The article went on to enthuse : "To obtain a better north light - that beginning and end of everything in artistic photography - does not exist anywhere. The spaciousness of the camera-chamber is likewise worthy of special mention, for so large is the apartment that not only can every possible variety of individual posing be presented, but groups of fifty or more can be taken ..". Despite its obvious advantages over his modest premises in George Street, by the beginning of 1881, John Wesley Thomas had sold the Robertson Street studio to Henry Constantine Jennings (born 1843, Paris, France).

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of  Mary Ransom taken at John Wesley Thomas's studio at 45 George Street, Hastings. (c1884). The branch studio address of 52 Robertson Street has been crossed out in red ink. [ABOVE] An unusual outdoor carte-de-visite portrait photographed by John Wesley Thomas around 1884. On the back of the carte, the branch studio address of 52 Robertson Street has been crossed out in red.

21 White Rock Place, Hastings (1879-1887)

There had been a photographic studio at 21 Rock Place, Hastings since the mid 1860s. Robert Nayler (born 1834, Marylebone, London), the first proprietor, had sold the studio to Frederick Treble (born 1830, Middlesex), who worked there until 1870. About 1871, Edmund James Eyres (1833-1910) acquired the studio at 21 White Rock Place and was in business there for the next six years. The inventor and photographer Benjamin John Edwards (1838-1914) worked at 21 Rock Place for a brief period before passing the studio on to the veteran artist and painter Edwin Davis (1819-1884). John Wesley Thomas started using the studio at 21 White Rock Place around 1879. His mother-in-law, Mrs Mary Ann Covell, ran a lodging house at 21 White Rock Place and so it might have been a joint investment.

John Wesley Thomas appears to have used 21 White Rock Place as his main studio for the first few years. Between 1879 and 1884, J. W. Thomas is listed in trade directories as a photographer at 21 White Rock Place, and 45 George Street, Hastings is given as his residential address. After Melancthon Moore (born 1861, Forest Hill, Kent), a lodger at 21 White Rock Place, married John Wesley Thomas's eldest daughter Annie in 1884, it appears that J. W. Thomas returned to his old studio at 45 George Street, Hastings. It is likely that Annie and her new husband operated the studio at 21 White Rock Place from 1884 and by 1887 the studio at 21 White Rock carried the name of 'Melancthon Moore'.

 

[ABOVE] The reverse of a carte-de-visite produced around 1880, giving details of  J. W. Thomas's two studios in Hastings - 52 Robertson Street and 45 George Street.

 

[ABOVE] The reverse of a carte-de-visite showing J. W. Thomas's signature replacing the name of the previous studio proprietors at 21 White Rock Place, Hastings. John Wesley Thomas took over the studio at White Rock around 1879 and remained there until about 1887.

 

 

 

[ABOVE] The reverse of a carte-de-visite produced around 1882, giving details of  J. W. Thomas's studio at 21 White Rock, Hastings.

 

 

[ABOVE] A portrait of a man in an oval frame, photographed by J. W. Thomas at his studio at 21 White Rock, Hastings (c1882).

 

 

[ABOVE] The reverse of a carte-de-visite produced by John Wesley Thomas during the 1880s showing the photographer's trade plate. John Wesley Thomas opened his second studio at 45 George Street, Hastings around 1865 and was still working at the George Street studio thirty years later. J. W. Thomas established his first photographic studio at 52 High Street, Hastings in 1858, as shown in the printed details above.
 

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Martin Collins for providing additional information relating to the siblings of the Hastings photographer John Wesley Thomas. Martin Collins is the Great Grandson of Anne Thomas (born 1828, Ore, Hastings) - also known as Ann - a sister of John Wesley Thomas and a daughter of David Thomas and Esther Ford. A special thank you to Sue Peyman-Stroud who kindly provided the portraits of John Wesley Thomas, his son William Arthur Thomas and their respective wives. Sue Peyman-Stroud is the great grand-daughter of Annie Shoesmith, the sister of William Arthur Thomas' wife Agnes Shoesmith (1870-1951). 

 

 Click here to go to:  John Wesley Thomas - Part Two (1888-1908)

Click on the link below to view examples of the photographic work of John Wesley Thomas

The Photographic Work of John Wesley Thomas

 

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