Rustington Allen

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Edwin Allen - Photographer of Rustington

[ABOVE] Rustington at the end of the 19th Century. A view of  The Street, Rustington, by Littlehampton photographer John White ( born 1850, Lyminster ). The Lamb Inn and the parish church of St Peter and St Paul's can be seen in the centre background.

Edwin ALLEN (1845-1925) - active as a photographer in Rustington between 1902 and 1924

Edwin Allen was born in Lambeth, South London, in 1845.

In 1873, Edwin Allen married Sophia Ann Lane (born 1842, Weymouth Dorset). Edwin's bride Sophia Ann Lane, was the daughter of Elizabeth and John Lane, a gas works foreman. Sophia Ann Lane and her twin sister, Harriett Louisa Lane, were baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Weymouth on 3rd November 1842. Sophia's other siblings included Caroline Esther Lane (baptised 9th May 1841, Holy Trinity Church, Weymouth).

When the 1881 census was taken, Edwin Allen was employed as a "Coachman" in Woburn Mews, London, but his wife was living with her parents, John and Elizabeth Lane, in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.

At the time of the 1901 census, Edwin and Sophia Allen were residing at 179 Ashmore Road in the Paddington district of London. Edwin Allen is described on the census return as a fifty-five year old "Photographer".

Rustington historians, Bev and Mary Taylor have established that Edwin Allen and his wife Sophia arrived in Rustington around 1902. The various editions of Kelly's Directory of Sussex records Edwin Allen as a photographer at Church Road, Rustington, between 1905 and 1924. The 1911 census records Edwin and Sophia Allen at Ash Villa, Church Road, Rustington. On the census return Edwin Allen is described as a "Photographer", aged 65.

Edwin Allen operated a photographic portrait studio which had been erected at the rear of his residence in Church Road. Surviving cabinet portraits show that he was using painted backdrops and items of rustic furniture as studio props.

According to Rendell Williams of SussexPostcards.Info Edwin Allen started to produce picture postcards featuring views of Rustington and Angmering during the first decade of the 20th century. Rendell Williams has recorded picture postcards carrying Edwin Allen's photographic views postmarked with dates ranging between 1907 and 1911.

Edwin Allen worked as a professional photographer in Rustington until about 1924, when Edwin and Sophia Allen retired to Littlehampton. Edwin Allen died at 61 East Street, Littlehampton on 14th April 1925, aged 79. Edwin's widow, Mrs Sophia Ann Allen died in 1927 at the age of 83.


[ABOVE] A cabinet portrait of a bearded man, photographed around 1905 by Edwin Allen of Church Road, Rustington.


  [ABOVE] A cabinet portrait of a young woman, photographed around 1905 by Edwin Allen of Church Road, Rustington.
[RIGHT] A photograph taken around 1912 showing a rear view of the houses in Church Road, Rustington. In the back garden of Ash Villa, the home of Edwin and Sophia Allen, can be seen a white building with the word "PHOTOGRAPHER" painted on the roof. This white structure would have served as Edwin Allen's workshop, darkroom and portrait studio. Around 1924, Edwin and Sophia Allen retired to Littlehampton, and the outside studio at Ash Villa, Church Road, passed to William Singleton, who served as Rustington's resident photographer until about 1934.


[PHOTOGRAPH : Courtesy of Peter Merrett ]


[ABOVE] The Old Manor House, Rustington photographed by Edwin Allen around 1910. The older man leaning on the wall on the left has been identified as George Gates (born 1838, Goring, Sussex), an agricultural labourer and carter. The black-bearded man on the right standing by the wheel-barrow is possibly George Gates' eldest son George Gates junior (born 1838, Goring, Sussex). [ABOVE] The parish church of St Peter & St Paul, Rustington. Even though Edwin Allen died at his home in Littlehampton, the old photographer and his wife Sophia Ann Allen, were buried in the graveyard of the parish church in  Rustington, the village where he had lived and worked as a photographer for over 20 years.

A selection of Edwin Allen's picture postcards can be viewed on Rendell Williams' website SussexPostcards.Info at the link below:

Edwin Allen of Rustington



Thanks to Rendell Williams of the SussexPostcards.Info website and the Rustington historians Mary Taylor and Bev Taylor. I am grateful to Peter Merrett for supplying the photograph of Edwin Allen's workshop and studio in Church Road, Rustington.


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