Worthing Photographers (E1)

Click here to return to Home Page

Professional Photographers in Worthing (E1)

  Edward Edwards  ( aka Edward Bex ) - Edwards & Son ( Edward Bex and Charles Edward Bex )

 

Edward EDWARDS  aka Edward BEX (c1847-1928)

"Edward Edwards" was the trading name of Edward Bex (c1847-1928). Edward Bex was born around 1847 in Limpsfield, a Surrey village on the border with Kent, some 21 miles south of London. [ Edward Bex was baptised in Limpsfield on 28th March 1847 and his birth was registered in the Surrey district of Godstone during the 1st Quarter of 1847 ]. Edward Bex was one of eleven children born to Mary Ann and Henry Bex (c1814-1886), a carpenter by trade.

Henry Bex had been born in Westminster, London, around 1814. Henry Bex moved around from place to place during his working career as a carpenter. In the mid 1830s, Henry Bex was in Sussex and on 30th May 1836, the young carpenter married twenty year old Mary Ann Hart at St. Nicholas Church in Brighton. His bride, Mary Ann Hart (1816-1887) was the daughter of Mary and John Hart of Worthing. Mary Ann Hart was born in Worthing in 1816 and was baptised at Broadwater (Worthing) in Sussex on 6th May 1816.

Henry and Mary Ann Bex's first child, Mary Ann, was born in 1837 at Petworth in Sussex, but by the time their second child, William, was born in 1839, Henry Bex and his family were living in Sanderstead in Surrey. A third child, Elizabeth, was baptised in Sanderstead on 6th June 1841, yet when it was time for George, Mary Ann's fourth child, to be christened early in June 1843, the Bex family had settled in the village of Limpsfield, near Oxted in Surrey. Henry and Mary Ann Bex stayed in Limpsfield for about four years. During this time there were two more additions to the family - James Hart Bex, who was baptised in Limpsfield on 4th April 1845 and Edward Bex, christened on 28th March 1847.

By the Summer of 1849, Henry Bex was living in the village of Lamberhurst in the Ticehurst district of Sussex, close to the border with Kent. [ Lamberhurst became part of Kent in 1894 ]. The birth of Ellen Louisa Bex, Henry and Mary Ann's seventh child, was registered in the Ticehurst District during the 3rd Quarter of 1849. Henry and Mary Ann Bex remained in this area for the next nine years and during time there were four further additions to the Bex family - Alfred Bex (born 1851), Rebecca Bex (born 1853), John Hart Bex (born 1855) and, finally, Henry Robert Bex, whose birth was registered in the Ticehurst District during the 4th Quarter of 1858. At the time of the 1861 census, fourteen year old Edward Bex was working as an agricultural labourer in Lamberhurst.

Henry Bex's wanderings continued and by the time the 1871 census was taken, he was living in Northamptonshire with his wife Mary Ann and their three youngest sons. By this date, Henry's son Edward Bex had already embarked on his photographic career in Sussex.

[LEFT] The trade plate of Edward Bex, photographic artist, taken from the  reverse of a carte-de-visite photograph produced around 1881, when Edward Bex was operating a photographic studio in  London.

[LEFT] The photographer Edward Bex (aka Edward Edwards) photographed in 1895 when he was in his late forties. Edward Bex was born in Limpsfield, Surrey, around 1847. In his early twenties, Edward Bex embarked on a photographic career, working as a professional photographer in Hastings, St Leonards and London.  Eventually, in 1887,  Edward Bex settled in the West Sussex seaside town of Worthing where he worked under the trade name of "Edward Edwards". This photograph of Edward Bex was taken in 1895 at his daughter's wedding.

[PHOTO: Courtesy of Mrs Sheila Stapley]

[ABOVE] A picture postcard published during the First World War showing the Surrey village of Limpsfield, where the photographer Edward Bex (aka Edward Edwards) was born and raised in the 1840s. Edward Bex's father, Henry Bex, worked as a carpenter and his employment took him to various places in Surrey, Sussex and Kent. Edward Bex spent his childhood in the Lamberhurst area, on the Kent/Sussex border. At the time of the 1861 census, the Bex family were living in the village of Lamberhurst (then part of Sussex). When his father and mother and his younger siblings moved to Northamptonshire, Edward Bex remained in Sussex.

Edward Bex in Hastings and St. Leonards

By 1871, Edward Bex was earning his living as a professional photographer in Hastings, Sussex. In his later publicity, Edward Bex suggests that he had started his photographic career at the Royal Polytechnic in London's Regent Street. In 1869, Edward Bex was in the Sussex seaside resort of Worthing where he married Eliza Churcher (born 16th July 1846, Worthing), the daughter of Frances and James Churcher, a Worthing bricklayer. [The marriage of Edward Bex and Eliza Churcher was registered in Worthing during the Fourth Quarter of 1869]. Edward Bex's mother, Mary Ann Hart, was originally from Worthing and so the young photographer might have had family links with the town. Alternatively, Edward Bex might have been an itinerant photographer who was touring the seaside resorts on the Sussex coast. Around 1870, Edward Bex found employment in the Hastings studio of Edwin Whiteman (1834-1876). Edwin Whiteman was a stationer and bookseller with business premises at 52 High Street, Hastings. A photographic studio had been established at 52 High Street in 1866 and when Whiteman took over ownership of the studio in 1868, he employed an experienced London photographer, John Talbot Lane (1841-1884) to manage the studio. When Lane left in 1869, Whiteman recruited Edward Bex as his studio manager.

Towards the end of 1870, Eliza Bex gave birth to a baby daughter named Georgina [birth of Georgina Bex registered in the district of Hastings during the 4th Quarter of 1870]. At the time of the 1871 census, Edward Bex and his family were living at 1 Stainsby Street, St. Leonards, near Hastings. By this date, Edward Bex was employed as the Manager of Edwin Whiteman's photographic studio at 52 High Street, Hastings. On the census return, Edward Bex is described as a "Photographer", aged 24.

 

 

[ABOVE] The reverse of a carte-de-visite photograph produced at Edwin Whiteman's studio at 52 High Street, Hastings around 1869, the year Edward Bex was appointed studio manager.

[ABOVE] No 52 High Street, the flint-faced building at the extreme right of this photograph, was the location of Whiteman's photographic Studio in Hastings, where Edward Bex was employed as a photographer and studio manager in the early 1870s. [ Photo by F. J. Parsons, 1911 ]

 

The Children of Edward Bex and Eliza Churcher

NAME

Born

 Died

Notes

Georgina BEX 1870, Hastings, Sussex   Married William Parker, a market gardener, in 1895
Maud Eveline BEX 1872, St. Leonards, Sussex   Married Ralph Teesdale, a cab driver, in 1891
Eliza BEX 1873, St. Leonards, Sussex

 1st Qtr 1876

Died in Worthing.
Charles Edward BEX 1875, St. Leonards, Sussex

1st Qtr 1941 Worthing

Professional Photographer. Married (1) Bertha Walker in 1915. Mrs Bertha Walker died in 1929. Married (2) Alice Stevens in 1930.
Bertha BEX 1876, Worthing, Sussex

2nd Qtr 1876

Died in Worthing.
Percy William BEX 1882, Lambeth, London   Painter & Decorator. Married Ada Crow in 1926.
[RIGHT] A portrait of Percy William Bex (born 1882, Lambeth, London), the youngest son of Eliza and Edward Bex (aka Edward Edwards), the well-known Worthing photographer. Percy did not follow his father's profession, becoming a "Painter and Decorator", instead.

[RIGHT] A portrait of Charles Edward  Bex (born 1875, St Leonards, Sussex), the eldest son of Eliza and Edward Bex (aka Edward Edwards). Charles Bex followed in his father's footsteps and became a professional photographer. After a period as a photographer's assistant, Charles Bex joined his father Edward Bex in the Worthing photography firm of Edwards & Son. After the studio of Edwards & Son was sold around 1919, Charles Bex established his own studio in Tarring Road, Worthing.

 

[PHOTO: Courtesy of Mrs Sheila Stapley]

 

[PHOTO: Courtesy of Mrs Sheila Stapley]

[ABOVE] A studio portrait of Georgina Bex (born 1870, Hastings, Sussex), the eldest daughter of Eliza and Edward Bex (aka Edward Edwards).

[PHOTO: Courtesy of Mrs Sheila Stapley]

 

Edward Bex's Studio in Silverhill, St. Leonards

After a few years with Edwin Whiteman, Edward Bex established his own photographic studio at 5 Clarence Terrace, St. Leonards in the Silverhill district of Hastings. Edward Bex is recorded as a photographer at Clarence Terrace, Silverhill, St. Leonards in the 1874 Post Office Directory of Sussex. Early in 1875, Bex advertised his services as a "Portrait and Landscape Photographer" in the local press (see the illustration on the right) .

There were three more additions to Edward Bex's family during his stay in St. Leonards - Maud Eveline Bex (born in St. Leonards during the 2nd Quarter of 1872), Eliza Bex (born in St. Leonards during the 4th Quarter of 1873) and Charles Edward Bex (born in St. Leonards during the 2nd Quarter of 1875). Sadly, Edward Bex's daughter Eliza died at the age of two in 1876 [ death registered in the District of East Preston (Worthing) during the 1st Quarter of 1876]. Bertha Bex, possibly another daughter, died in the Worthing area shortly after her birth during the 2nd Quarter of 1876. The deaths of two Bex children in Worthing in 1876 suggests Edward Bex had closed his studio in St. Leonards after only a couple of years in business.

[ABOVE] An advertisement for Edward Bex, Portrait and Landscape Photographer, 5 Clarence Terrace, Silver Hill, St Leonards, Hastings, published in the Hastings & St. Leonards Independent newspaper on Tuesday, 12th January, 1875. In this advert, Bex points out that he had previously worked as a studio mamager to Edwin Whiteman of High Street, Hastings.

Carte-de-visites from Edward Bex's Silver Hill Studio in Hastings

[ABOVE] Vignette portrait of a woman, photographed at Edward Bex''s studio at 5 Clarence Terrace, Silver Hill, St Leonards, Hastings. Carte-de-visite photograph, negative number No. 75 ( c1874).

[ABOVE] The reverse of a carte-de-visite photograph produced at Edward Bex''s studio at 5 Clarence Terrace, Silver Hill, St Leonards, Hastings (c1874)

[ABOVE]  Portrait of a woman holding a book, photographed at Edward Bex''s studio at 5 Clarence Terrace, Silver Hill, St Leonards, Hastings. Carte-de-visite photograph, negative number No.210 ( c1875).

[ABOVE] The reverse of a carte-de-visite photograph produced at Edward Bex''s studio at 5 Clarence Terrace, Silver Hill, St Leonards, Hastings (c1875)

Edward Bex in London

By the late 1870s, Edward Bex was working as a photographer in London. Edward Bex had found employment with David Rees & Co., a firm of photographers which owned studios in Brixton, Lambeth and Stockwell. The firm of Rees & Co. had been founded by the photographer David Rees (c1838-1877), but after his death the business passed to his widow Mrs Hannah Rees (c1845-1908). At the end of 1879, Hannah Rees married a photographer named William Henry Portlock (born c1834, Brixton), but she continued the firm as Rees & Co. In the late 1870s, the firm of Rees & Co. was operating studios at 298, Clapham Road, Stockwell, and 5 Atkinson Place, Brixton Road, Brixton. Edward Bex was presumably employed at one of these studios in South West London.

At the time of the 1881 census, Edward Bex and his family were living at 32 Miles Street, Lambeth, S.W.London. Edward Bex is described on the census return as a "Photographer's Assistant", aged 34. Edward's wife Eliza, aged 34, and two of their children - eight year old Maud and Charles Edward Bex, aged 6 - are also recorded at the Miles Street address. [Emily Bex's eldest daughter, nine year old Georgina Bex was in Worthing, visiting her mother's sister Fanny Churcher (born 1842, Worthing), who was employed as a Housekeeper at 'Newlyn', Broadwater, Sussex ].

Early in 1882, Eliza Bex gave birth to a second son, Percy William Bex [ birth registered in Lambeth during the 1st Quarter of 1882]. During this period, Edward Bex established his own photographic studio at 182 Brixton Road, London.

By 1884, Edward Bex and his family had left South West London. Towards the end of 1884, Edward's wife Eliza died in Chelsea at the age of 37 [death of Eliza Bex registered in the district of Chelsea during the Fourth Quarter of 1884].

There is some evidence that after his wife's death, Edward Bex operated a photographic studio with one of his brothers in Camden Town. David Webb, who has made a study of photographers in Victorian London, has established that the firm of Bex Brothers worked from a studio at 56 High Street, Camden Town, near St Pancras, London, from 1884 to 1885. A London trade directory of 1886 also lists the studio of Bex Brothers at 56 High Street, Camden Town. David Webb names the partners in the firm of Bex Brothers as Edward Bex and Amos Bex. Edward Bex did not have a brother named Amos, and the only Amos Bex who appears in the 1881 census gives his place of birth as Brighton. This Amos Bex (born 1839, Brighton) was the son of Frederick and Sarah Bex.

By 1887 the Bex Brothers studio in Camden Town had closed and Edward Bex had returned to Worthing, the home town of both his mother and his late wife.

[ABOVE] The reverse of a carte-de-visite photograph produced at Edward Bex''s studio at 182 Brixton Road, London (c1881)

[ABOVE]  Portrait of a woman holding a child, photographed at Edward Bex''s studio at 182 Brixton Road, London. Carte-de-visite  (c1881)

 
Edward Bex's siblings (The children of Henry Bex and Mary Anne Hart )
Mary Ann BEX born 1837, Petworth, Sussex
William BEX born 1839, Sanderstead, Surrey
Elizabeth BEX born 1841, Sanderstead, Surrey
George BEX born 1843, Limpsfield, Surrey
James Hart BEX born 1845, Limpsfield, Surrey
Edward BEX born 1847, Limpsfield, Surrey
Ellen Louisa BEX born 1849, Lamberhurst, Sussex
Alfred BEX born 1851, Lamberhurst, Sussex
Rebecca BEX born 1853, Lamberhurst, Sussex
John Hart BEX born 1855, Lamberhurst, Sussex
Henry Robert BEX born 1858, Lamberhurst,Sussex

NOTE: Lamberhurst became part of Kent in 1894

[ABOVE] Edward Bex's brothers and sisters. It appears that Edward Bex joined forces with one of his brothers to establish  a photographic studio in Camden, London, around 1884. The Bex Brothers studio closed before 1887.

[ABOVE] The family of Edward Bex, probably photographed in London around 1885. Edward Bex is the bearded figure sitting on the chair at the extreme right of the picture. Georgina Bex (born 1870), Edward Bex's eldest daughter stands at the far left. Edward Bex's two sons, Percy Bex (born 1882)  and Charles Bex (born 1875) are sitting beneath the small tree. Edward Bex had been recently widowed, so the woman standing to his right is possibly his sister-in-law Fanny Churcher (born 1842, Worthing).            [PHOTO: Courtesy of Mrs Sheila Stapley]
 

Edward Bex in Worthing under the name of Edward Edwards

According to his own publicity, Edward Bex established a studio in Worthing in 1887. For some unknown reason, Edward Bex operated his Worthing studios under the name of "Edward Edwards". Bex's first studio was located at 94 Chapel Street, Worthing. An entry in Kelly's 1890 Directory of Sussex lists the studio of Edward Edwards at Chapel Street, Worthing. From the beginning, the studio of "Edward Edwards" (Edward Bex) was known as the Belle Vue Studio. The row of houses on the right-hand side of Chapel Street running from No. 70 to No.98, leading up to Ambrose Place, was known as "Belle Vue". Edward Bex at No.94 Chapel Street was therefore provided with a pleasant-sounding name for his studio.

Around 1890, the firm of Edward Edwards (Edward Bex) opened a second studio near the seafront at 20 New Street, Worthing. When the 1891 census was taken, Edward Bex is recorded at 20 New Street, with his two sons -  Charles Edward Bex, aged 16, and eight year old Percy William Bex. Also living at 20 New Street was the boys' aunt, Fanny Churcher, who was employed as a "Housekeeper" by her brother-in-law. The availability of his late wife's sister as a housekeeper and surrogate mother might have persuaded the widowed photographer to settle in Worthing. Edward Bex's eldest daughter Georgina (born 1870) was staying with Fanny Churcher in Worthing when the 1881 census was carried out. Edward Bex, the Head of Household, is entered on the census return as a forty-five year old widower. Edward Bex gave his occupation as "Photographer (Employer)". Edward's eldest son, Charles Edward Bex, is described on the census form as a "Photographer's Assistant", aged 16.

When the 1891 census was taking, Edward's youngest daughter, eighteen year old Maud Eveline Bex,  was preparing for her wedding. Her future husband was a twenty-one year old cab driver named Ralph Teesdale. Edward's eldest daughter, Georgina Bex (born 1870) married a young market gardener named  William Parker (born 1867, West Tarring, Sussex) early in 1895.

By 1896, Edward Bex (Edward Edwards) had closed his "Belle Vue Studio" at 94 Chapel Street. This area was being redeveloped and soon Chapel Street would no longer exist, being replaced by Portland Road. From 1896, Edward Bex would operate solely from the Edward Edwards' studio at 20 New Street, Worthing.

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a man with a moustache, photographed by Edward Bex under the name of  "Edward Edwards". This portrait was probably taken at Edward Bex's Belle Vue Studio in Chapel Street. Bex's second studio at 20 New Street later became known as the "Excelsior Studio".

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a young woman photographed by Edward Bex under the name of  "Edward Edwards". (c1893). The firm of Edward Edwards operated two studios, one at 94 Chapel Street , the other at 20 New Street, Worthing until about 1895.

 

[ABOVE] The reverse of a carte-de-visite photograph produced by Edward Bex under the name of "E. Edwards". This carte dates from around 1890 when Edward Bex was operating two studios under his trading name of Edward Edwards. The first studio was in Chapel Street and was known as the 'Belle Vue Studio' and the second was at 20 New Street, Worthing, near the seafront.

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a young man photographed at Edward Edwards' studio at 20 New Street, Worthing. (c1890). The reverse of this carte also carries an advertisement for Edward Edward's Belle Vue Studio in Chapel Street, Worthing. (See above)

 

The Marriage of Georgina Bex, eldest daughter of the Worthing photographer Edward Bex (aka Edward Edwards)

[ABOVE]  Georgina Bex (born 1870, Hastings, Sussex), the eldest daughter of Eliza and Edward Bex (aka Edward Edwards). Georgina married William Parker (born 1867, West Tarring, Sussex), the son of Mary and Laban Parker , an agricultural labourer, during the First Quarter of 1895. At the time of their marriage, William Parker was working as a market gardener in the Worthing district of Heene.

William Parker and Georgina Bex produced two daughters - Evelyn Mary Parker (born 1897, Worthing) and Florence Jane Parker (born 1898, Worthing).

[PHOTO: Courtesy of Mrs Sheila Stapley]

[ABOVE] A group photograph taken in 1895 to mark the wedding of Edward Bex's eldest daughter Georgina to William Parker (born 1867, West Tarring, Sussex), a market gardener from Heene. This cabinet card portrait was probably taken by Georgina's brother twenty year old brother Charles Bex at Edward Bex's Belle Vue Studio in Chapel Street, Worthing, which was closed later that year. The Worthing photographer Edward Bex (born c1847, Limpsfield, Surrey), Georgina's widowed father, stands behind the groom.

      [PHOTO: Courtesy of Mrs Sheila Stapley]

 

Edward Edwards of Chapel Street and New Street - The Location of Edward Bex's two studios in Worthing

[ABOVE] An early map of Worthing showing the location of Chapel Street where Edward Bex opened his first photographic studio in 1887. [RIGHT]  A 1907 map of showing the two streets where Edward Bex operated as a photographer under the name of Edward Edwards. By the late 1890s Chapel Street had been re-named Portland Road.

Edward Bex and the Excelsior Studio at 20 New Street, Worthing

By the time the 1901 census was due to be carried out, Edward Bex (Edward Edwards) was living at 20 New Street, Worthing with his two grown-up sons. Twenty-six year old Charles Edward Bex was recorded as a "Photographer's Assistant" and Percy William Bex, aged 19 was employed as a "Painter & Decorator". On the 1901 census return, Edward Bex senior is described as a fifty-five year old  "Photographer".

By this date, the Edward Edwards' studio in New Street was known as the "Excelsior Studio". Edward Bex senior was still mainly producing studio portraits in the small carte-de-visite and larger cabinet format at the Excelsior Studio, but he occasionally produced photographic views of Worthing. An advertisement in a 1901 Directory of Worthing made the point that Edward Bex, in the guise of Edward Edwards, provided "personal supervision .. to all Outdoor work." Geoffrey Godden has discovered that Edward Edwards (Edward Bex) supplied "most of the local-view photographs for an interesting pre-1902 publication 'The Standard Picture Guide to Worthing', published at a penny by The Standard Picture Guide Company of London." (1)

By 1904, Edward Bex's eldest son Charles Edward Bex was a full partner in the family photography business and, up until about 1920, the studio at 20 New Street went under the name of Edwards & Son. In the early 1900s, Edward Bex and his son were taking their cameras down to the seafront to take group portraits of holidaymakers on the beach and to take photographic views that could be published in the popular postcard format. In the first decade of the twentieth century, Edwards & Son also became noted for their "real-photograph" postcards of local events.

Edward Bex had retired as professional photographer before the end of the First World War and the studio in New Street was operated by his eldest son until about 1919. ( See below under  Charles Edward Bex and the firm of "Edwards & Son" ).

Edward Bex died in Worthing on 8th March 1928 at the age of eighty-one.

NOTES & REFERENCES

(1) Collecting Picture Postcards by Geoffrey Godden (Phillimore 1996), page 159

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of a young woman photographed at Edward Edwards' studio at 20 New Street, Worthing. (c1890). After Edward Bex (Edward Edwards) closed his Belle Vue Studio in Chapel Street around 1895, he began to call his New Street premises the "Excelsior Studio" (see right).

[ABOVE] A carte-de-visite portrait of two women, photographed at Edward Edwards' Excelsior Studio,  20 New Street, Worthing (c1897).  Edward Bex operated a photography business at 20 New Street under the name of "Edward Edwards" from around 1890 until about 1920.

 
To view a selection of carte-de-visite portraits photographed by Edward Bex at his Excelsior Studio in New Street, Worthing, click on the link below:

Portraits from Edward Edwards' Excelsior Studio, Worthing

The Excelsior Studio at 20 New Street, Worthing

[ABOVE] A real-photograph postcard by Edwards & Son showing a young boy riding a pony in New Street, Worthing. The original postcard was posted on 13th July 1908. The man in the flat cap who leads the pony is passing in front of Edwards & Son's business premises at 20 New Street, Worthing. [Photograph from the collection of Geoffrey Godden].

[ABOVE] A modern photograph showing how 20 New Street, Worthing looks today. From around 1890, Edward Bex operated as a photographic studio under the name of "Edward Edwards" from this small terraced house. As Geoffrey Godden remarked in his book Collecting Picture Postcards, "the small fisherman's cottage at 20 New Street was by 1904 grandly entitled the 'Excelsior Studios'.

"Real Photo" Postcards by Edwards & Son of New Street, Worthing

[ABOVE] A real-photograph postcard by Edwards & Son showing Worthing Pier wrecked after a severe storm during Easter 1913. The photograph carries the caption "Wreck of the Pier, Worthing. March 23rd 1913 copyright Edwards & Son, New Street, Worthing". [Photograph from the collection of Rob Blann].

[ABOVE] A real-photograph postcard by Edwards & Son showing the wreckage of Worthing Pier, destroyed during the great storm of 1913, as viewed from the head of the pier. The photograph carries the caption "Worthing. March 23rd 1913. 9"                     [PHOTO: Courtesy of Mrs Sheila Stapley]

Picture Postcards by Edwards & Son of New Street, Worthing

According to Rendel Williams, the author and creator of the Sussex Postcards.Info. website, Edward Bex and his son Charles Edward Bex (trading as Edwards & Son) had started to publish real photographic cards of Worthing and the surrounding area by 1905. As Rendel Williams demonstrates, between 1905 and 1920, the firm of Edwards & Son of Worthing produced picture postcards depicting local views, real photographic cards showing significant and interesting local events (such as the destruction of Worthing Pier in the great storm of 1913) as well as the photographic portraits in picture postcard format taken at their Excelsior Studio at 20 New Street, Worthing.

When Edward Bex retired from photography in 1919, the Excelsior Studio at 20 New Street was sold and his son Charles Edward Bex established his own photography business at 150 Tarring Road, Worthing. Rendel Williams reports that Charles Edward Bex produced  "numerous real photographic cards of Worthing and the Downs during the 1920s and 30s."
 

To see further examples of the range of picture postcards produced by Edwards & Son of New Street, Worthing and Charles Edward Bex of Tarring Road, Worthing, please visit the relevant webpages on Rendel Williams' Sussex Postcards.Info. website, via the following links:

Picture Postcards by Edward Edwards & Son of Worthing

Picture Postcards by Charles Edward Bex of Worthing

[ABOVE] A carriage from the Lord Mayor's procession as it passes down South Street to the seafront as part of the celebrations to mark the re-opening of  Worthing Pier on 29th May 1914. A "real photo" postcard produced by Edwards & Son of New Street, Worthing. [Photograph from the collection of Rob Blann]

 

Edward Bex and his Family after 1905

By 1905, Edward Bex (trading as "Edward Edwards") had been in business as a photographer in Worthing for over 18 years. Around 1904, Charles Edward Bex (born 1875, St. Leonards, Sussex ), who had trained as a photographer under his father, became a partner in the firm and from this date the studio at 20 New Street, Worthing carried the name of Edwards & Son. By this time, both of Edward Bex's daughters had married. Edward Bex's youngest daughter Maud Eveline Bex (born 1872, St. Leonards, Sussex) had married Ralph Teesdale, a cab driver, in 1891, and was now living with her husband and two children in the nearby district of Heene. Georgina Bex (born 1870, Hastings, Sussex), Edward Bex's eldest daughter had married William Parker, a market gardener, in 1895.

In 1905, Edward Bex was living with his two sons, Charles and Percy, at 20 New Street, Worthing. Edward Bex's sister-in-law, Fanny Churcher (born 1842, Worthing) had been serving as the family's housekeeper for a number of years, but, by 1908, Edward Bex had found a new female companion. The 1911 census records Edward Bex, a 64 year old photographer, living with his fifty-five year old wife Harriet Bex (born c1855, South Kensington) at 8 Dagmar Street, Worthing. Edward Bex's two unmarried sons, thirty-six year old Charles Edward Bex and twenty-nine year old Percy William Bex were residing at the family home and business at 20 New Street, Worthing with their aunt, sixty-nine year old Fanny Churcher, who was still keeping house for her two unattached nephews.

Charles Edward Bex (born 1875, St. Leonards, Sussex) finally married in 1915. Charles' bride was Bertha Jessie Walker (born 1863, Greenwich, London), a woman who had moved down from London to the Heene district of Worthing to work as a domestic cook. After Mrs Bertha Bex died in 1929 at the age of 66, Charles Bex married again. Charles Edward Bex married Alice Stevens in Worthing in 1930.

Percy William Bex (born 1882, Lambeth, London), who was working as a painter and house decorator in Worthing, did not marry until 1926, when he was in his mid-forties. Percy Bex married Ada Maud Crow (born 1884, Chelmsford, Essex) in Worthing during the 4th Quarter of 1926.

[ABOVE] A group in a motor car pose in front of Edwards & Son's Excelsior Studio at 20 New Street Worthing. Edward Bex, the studio proprietor, stands in the doorway (c1912).

[PHOTO: Courtesy of Rendel Williams of Sussex Postcards.Info.]

[ABOVE] A group portrait showing the photographer Edward Bex ("Edward Edwards") and members of the Bex family. The veteran photographer Edward Bex (c1847-1928), the bearded figure in the grey check suit, is seated at the front. Charles Edward Bex (born 1875, St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex), a professional photographer and partner in the firm of Edwards & Son of Worthing, stands on the right, sporting a magnificent moustache. Edward Bex's youngest son, Percy William Bex (born 1882, Lambeth, London) is seated on the right with his arms folded. The lady standing behind Edward Bex is probably Mrs Harriet Bex, Edward Bex's second wife. According to the 1911 census return, Mrs Harriet Bex was born in South Kensington, London  around 1855 and she had been married to Edward Bex since about 1908.

[PHOTO: Courtesy of Mrs Sheila Stapley]

 
The Family Photograph Album of Mrs Georgina Parker (formerly Georgina Bex), eldest daughter of the Worthing Photographer Edward Bex

[ABOVE]  Georgina Bex (born 1870, Hastings, Sussex), the eldest daughter of Eliza and Edward Bex (aka Edward Edwards). This cabinet portrait, which is inscribed "Georgina Parker, aged 23", dates from 1893, two years before Georgina Bex married  William Parker (born 1867, West Tarring, Sussex), a market gardener from Heene.

 

 

[ABOVE]  Mrs Georgina Parker (formerly Bex) photographed with one of her daughters, probably Evelyn Mary Parker (born 1897, Worthing).

William Parker (born 1867, West Tarring, Sussex)

[ABOVE]  William and Georgina Parker photographed with their two children Evelyn Mary Parker (born 1897, Worthing) sitting on the left of the picture and Florence Jane Parker (born 1898, Worthing) who is held by her mother.

 Mrs Georgina Parker, formerly Georgina Bex (born 1870)
 

Charles Edward Bex and the firm of "Edwards & Son"

 

[ABOVE] A postcard portrait of a woman photographed at the studio of Edwards & Son at 20 New Street, Worthing. (c1910).

[ABOVE] The trade plate of Edwards & Son, rubber-stamped on the back of a postcard portrait produced at Edward Bex's Excelsior studio in New Street, Worthing. (c1910).

[ABOVE] The location of Charles Edward Bex's business premises at 150 Tarring Road, Worthing.

[ABOVE] The photographer Edward Bex (aka Edward Edwards) photographed around 1910 when he was in his early sixties. [ABOVE] Charles Edward  Bex (born 1875, St Leonards, Sussex), the eldest son of the Worthing photographer Edward Bex.

[PHOTOS: Courtesy of Mrs Sheila Stapley]

Charles Edward Bex (1875-1941)

Edward Bex's eldest son, Charles Edward Bex was born in 1875 at the Sussex seaside resort of St. Leonards-on Sea, near Hastings. Charles Bex's birth appears to have been registered under the name of "Edward Charles Bex" but throughout his life, probably to distinguish himself from his father, Edward Bex junior was generally known as Charles Bex. By the time the 1891 census was carried out on 5th April 1891, sixteen year old Charles Bex was working alongside his father as a "Photographer's Assistant" at the Edward Edwards' studio in Worthing. When the 1901 census return was completed, Charles Bex was recorded as "Charles E. Bex", while his father, who worked professionally under the name of "Edward Edwards" was listed as Edward Bex. On the 1901 census, Charles E. Bex is described as a twenty-six year old "Photographer's Assistant".

Around 1904, Charles Edward Bex was brought into the family business and from this date the studio at 20 New Street, Worthing went under the name of Edwards & Son. As Edward Bex senior approached retirement age, Charles Edward Bex played a more active role in the family business. When the 1911 census was taken, it was Charles Edward Bex, described on the census return as a thirty-six year old photographer, who was occupying the studio at 20 New Street, Worthing.

Charles Edward Bex continued to produce photographic portraits at the Excelsior Studio until around 1919, when he sold the studio at 20 New Street to the husband and wife team of Mr. & Mrs. W. G. Lawson, who described themselves as "Outdoor Photography Experts". The Lawsons kept the studio name of  "Edwards", so from 1920, Charles Edward Bex worked as a photographer under his own name. Between 1920 and his death in 1941, Charles Edward Bex produced "real photo" view postcards from his business premises at 150 Tarring Road, Worthing.

Charles Edward Bex died at Worthing on 13th February, 1941, at the age of sixty-five. A death notice in the Worthing Gazette provided a summary of Charles Edward  Bex's photographic career :

"... Mr Bex was a photographer in Worthing for nearly half a century, first in New Street where he was in business with his father and since the War at 150 Tarring Road, where he specialized in portraiture work and the production of picture postcards of local views and incidents."
 

To view a selection of carte-de-visite portraits photographed by Edward Bex at his Excelsior Studio in New Street, Worthing, click on the link below:

Portraits from Edward Edwards' Excelsior Studio, Worthing

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS & SOURCES

I am indebted to Geoffrey Godden for his research on Edward Edwards (Edward Bex) and his photographic activities in Worthing. Collecting Picture Postcards by Geoffrey Godden (Phillimore 1996) covers much more than the title of the book suggests. In Collecting Picture Postcards, Geoffrey Godden provides an interesting and well informed account of the work of a number of Worthing photographers and picture postcard publishers active in Victorian and Edwardian times, including Edward Bex (Edward Edwards) and his son Edward Charles Bex, Walter Gardiner and his wife Annie Gardiner and the Worthing Portrait Company. As usual, I am very grateful to Rendel Williams and his excellent Sussex Postcards.Info. website, for providing additional information on Edward Bex and Charles Bex and for allowing me to use the picture of Edward Bex's Excelsior Studio in New Street, Worthing.

I am very grateful to Mrs Sheila Stapley and her family for providing the photographs of members of the Bex family. A number of the photographs featured on this webpage come from Mrs Stapley's personal collection. Shelia Stapley is the grand-daughter of Georgina Bex, the eldest child of Edward Bex (the photographer "Edward Edwards"). Mrs Stapley's daughter Mrs Anne Hoile and her husband Graham Hoile have been very helpful in providing scans of the images in Mrs Stapley's photograph collection and were instrumental in putting me in contact with Mrs Stapley. The information provided by Mrs Sheila Stapley has proved to be invaluable. I would also like to thank Mrs Susan Rosser, Mrs Stapley's other daughter, who has kindly scanned some of the Bex family photographs.

Two books by Rob Blann on the subject of Worthing's lifeboat service during Victorian and Edwardian times contain a wealth of information and a fine collection of Worthing photographs. The two books by Rob Blann are "A Town's Pride: Victorian Lifeboatmen & their Community" (Rob Blann, 1990) and "Edwardian Worthing: Eventful Era in a Lifeboat Town" (Rob Blann, 1991).

"Historic Worthing : The Untold Story" by Chris Hare (The Windrush Press, 1991) is an extremely informative and entertaining history of Worthing.

 
Rendel Williams has made a study of the picture postcards produced by Edward Bex and Charles Edward Bex (trading as Edwards & Son). To see further examples of the range of picture postcards produced by Edwards & Son of New Street, Worthing and Charles Edward Bex of Tarring Road, Worthing, please visit the relevant webpages on Rendel Williams' Sussex Postcards.Info. website, via the following links:

Picture Postcards by Edward Edwards & Son of Worthing

Picture Postcards by Charles Edward Bex of Worthing

 

Click here to return to Home Page