Worthing (Ta-Tu)

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Professional Photographers in Worthing (T )

 Francis Tate - Charles Tidy - George W. Tuft

Francis Tate (1852-1920)

Francis Tate was born in Lancing, Sussex, on 13th July 1852, the son of Maria Blowers and George Tate, a gardener from Lancing. George Tate (1814-1902), a native of Lancing, had married Maria Blowers (1809-1891) from Yarmouth, Norfolk on 20th September 1840. A daughter named Charlotte was born about 1847 and her brother Francis arrived five years later.

On 6th April 1874, Francis Tate married Jemima Parker (born 1853, Worthing) at Lancing. Jemima Parker was the daughter of Julia and William Parker, a shoemaker of Worthing. Francis and Jemima Tate settled in London, where Francis worked as a stone mason. Francis and Jemima Tate later adopted a young boy named Harry, who had been born in the Kilburn district of London in 1877. At the time of the 1881 census, Francis Tate was living in London with his wife Jemima and their adopted three year old son, Harry. In the 1881 census return, Francis Tate is described as a twenty-eight year old "Stone Mason" from Sussex.

By the end of 1881, Francis Tate had returned to Sussex and was operating a stone works in Worthing. A local trade directory, published in 1882, lists Francis Tate as a "monumental mason" at North Street, Worthing. Francis Tate's North Street Stoneworks became a highly successful business and was to remain in the Tate family for the next ninety years.

On 4th November 1891, Jemima Tate, Francis Tate's first wife, died of pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 38. The following year, Francis Tate married Catherine Tucker Judd. [Marriage registered in the St Pancras district of London during the 4th Quarter of 1892. Francis Tate's second wife Catherine Tucker Judd was born in Paddington, London, on 12th May 1862.

Francis and Catherine Tate's first child, Chrystobelle Dorothy Tate, was born in Worthing on 5th October 1893. A son named Francis George Charles Tate arrived some five years later on 12th November 1898. A second son, Martin Leslie Tate, was born on 4th September 1900, but sadly he died on 24th June 1901 at the age of nine months.

The 1901 census records Francis Tate and his family at 22 North Street, Worthing. Francis Tate, the head of the household, is entered on the census return as a "Stone Mason (Employer)", aged 48, working "at home". Mrs Catherine Tate, Francis's thirty-eight year old wife, is listed with her three children - Chrystobelle, aged 7, two year old Francis, and her baby son Martin, who was just six months' old and only had three months more to live. Also residing at 22 North Street, Worthing was Harry Tate, Francis Tate's adopted son from his first marriage. Harry Tate is entered on the census return as an "adopted son" and is described as a twenty-three year old "Stone Mason's Assistant".

Francis and Catherine's fourth child Morrison Herbert Cornwall Tate was born during the second quarter of 1905. Morrison Tate died in 1929 at the age of twenty-four.

Harry Tate, Francis Tate's adopted son, married Harriett Hollands in 1908. Harry Tate and his wife Harriett settled in West Tarring. Harry Tate lived with his family at 'Melbourne', 1 Highfield Road, West Tarring from 1908 until 1942, the year he passed away. Harry Tate died at his home in West Tarring on 1st November 1942.


[ABOVE ] A portrait of  Francis Tate, photographer, master stonemason and sculptor. [Photograph courtesy of Ray George]

[ABOVE] Francis Tate listed as a professional photographer in Kelly's 1899 Directory of Sussex.


[ABOVE ] A portrait of Charlotte Tate (born c1847, Lancing), a sister of  Worthing stonemason and photographer Francis Tate. Charlotte Tate was a school mistress by profession and worked as a teacher in Sussex for many years. Miss Tate was in charge of the infants at Lancing School from 1872 until her retirement in 1912. This portrait of Charlotte was taken at Walter Gardiner's Broadway Studio in Worthing around 1905. Charlotte Tate died in 1923 at the age of 76. [Photograph courtesy of Ray George]

[ABOVE ] Francis Tate, pictured with his first wife Jemima and their adopted son Harry. A group portrait by Stuart & Co., Connaught House, 53 Chapel Road, Worthing. (c1886). Mrs Jemima Tate, who was Francis Tate's first wife, died on 4th November 1891 of pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of 38. [Photograph courtesy of Ray George]


Francis Tate, Photographer

Francis Tate is listed as a "landscape and monumental photographer" in local trade directories between 1892 and 1899. However, there is evidence that Francis Tate was taking photographs in Worthing in the mid 1880s. A photograph of a group of workers employed at Tate's Stone Works, including Francis Tate's young son Harry, was taken by Francis Tate around 1885 (see below). This group portrait was probably taken by Francis Tate for his own interest and pleasure and not for commercial purposes.

In the late 1880s, Francis Tate took a number of posed photographs featuring his adopted son Harry Tate (born 1877). (see below, right)

Francis Tate is not listed as a professional photographer in Worthing until around 1892. Long's Worthing Directory, published in 1892, includes two advertisements for "Francis Tate, Architectural and Monumental Mason" of Stone Yard, North Street, Worthing. The second, full-page advertisement for Tate's Stone Yard in Long's 1892 Directory mentions the fact that Francis Tate also offers "Architectural, Monumental and Landscape Photography".

Although the majority of Francis Tate's photographs were of buildings and monuments, he did occasionally produce group portraits. A photograph taken by Francis Tate in 1893, shows a group of doctors and nurses assembled in the grounds of Richmond House, a temporary fever hospital set up during the Worthing typhoid epidemic. Another group portrait from this period shows a large group of forty men, believed to be members of the Findon Cricket Club. (see below, left)

Francis Tate was listed as a "landscape and monumental photographer" in Kelly's Sussex directories up until 1899.


[ABOVE] A group portrait by Francis Tate showing the medical staff who were based at Richmond House, Worthing, during the typhoid epidemic of 1893. Richmond House in Tennyson Road was used as a temporary fever hospital throughout the epidemic. The two doctors standing to the left of the group of nurses, have been identified as Dr. Parker and Dr. Edward Opie. [West Sussex County Council Library Service]


[ABOVE ] A group photograph of a village cricket team taken by Worthing stonemason Francis Tate. The cricketers are believed to be members of the Findon Cricket Club. [Photograph courtesy of Ray George]

[ABOVE ] A carefully composed photograph of three boys taken by Worthing stonemason Francis Tate. The two boys seated on the right listen attentively to a story recounted by the boy holding a cricket bat. The boy in the centre wearing the straw hat is Harry Tate, the photographer's adopted son. [Photograph courtesy of Ray George]

Francis Tate - Stone Mason

[ABOVE ] A photograph taken by Worthing stonemason Francis Tate depicting some of the men and boys employed at Tate's Stoneworks (c1885). The boy on the right of the picture (seated on the wheelbarrow with the painted inscription "TATE'S STONEWORKS, - NORTH ST") is the employer's adopted son Harry Tate, who was born in London in 1877. [Photograph courtesy of Ray George]

[ABOVE] Harry Tate, Francis Tate's adopted son, pictured at work in his father's stone yard in North Street, Worthing (c1885). Harry Tate is shown carving a cross on a memorial gravestone. The provision of cemetery headstones was a speciality of Francis Tate's Stone Works. In 1910, Francis Tate fashioned a marble headstone for the grave of Mrs Cora Crippen (aka Belle Elmore) the victim of the notorious wife murderer Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen. Harry Tate trained as a stone mason under his father, Francis Tate. In 1908, Harry Tate married and settled in West Tarring. From 1908 until 1942, Harry Tate lived at 'Melbourne', Highdown Avenue, Highfield Road, West Tarring, near Worthing. [Photograph courtesy of Ray George]

[ABOVE ] An advertisement for Francis Tate, Architectural and Monumental Mason of Stone Yard, North Street, Worthing, which appeared in Long's Worthing Directory of 1892.

The stoneworks in North Street, Worthing were established in 1864. In the 1860s, the proprietor of the stone yard in North Street was Alfred Ovett, a monumental mason. Alfred Ovett was still working as a stone mason in Worthing's North Street at the time of the 1881 census, but died six days after the census return was completed. When the 1881 census was taken, Francis Tate was employed as a stone mason in London. After Alfred Ovett's death, Francis Tate returned to Sussex and purchased Ovett's stoneworks in North Street, Worthing. Kelly's Directory of Kent, Surrey and Sussex, published in 1882, records Francis Tate as a "stone and marble, monumental and general mason" with business premises at "The Stone Yard, North Street". Kelly's Sussex Directory of 1884 also lists Francis Tate as a monumental mason in North Street, Worthing. Subsequent entries in local trade directories describe Francis Tate variously as a monumental mason, sculptor and general stone mason who worked in granite, marble, slate and stone. Around 1890, Francis Tate added a marble works to his stone yard in North Street, Worthing. Tate called this addition to his stone-working business, The Carrara Marble Works, named after the world famous white marble quarried in the Massa-Carrara region of Italy, north-west of Florence. ( Carrara marble has been used to make monuments and statuary since ancient times. The Pantheon and Trajan's Column was made from this marble. The Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo carved his giant figure of David from Carrara marble. London's famous Marble Arch is a monument constructed from white Carrara marble ).

Over a period of ninety years, Francis Tate's Stone Yard and Carrara Marble Works in North Street produced a large number of memorials and cemetery monuments. In the 1890s, Tate's Stone Yard was engaged mainly in the production of graveyard memorials in the form of head-stones, crosses, stone tablets and tombs. An 1892 advertisement for Tate's Stone Yard declared that Francis Tate's work could "be seen in almost every Churchyard within a radius of twelve miles of Worthing". An invoice issued in 1895 gives the cost of one of Tate's cemetery memorials as 34 11s 6d.

After 1918, Francis Tate's company produced a number of memorials to commemorate those who had lost their lives during the First World War. In 1919, Francis Tate & Co. produced the Angmering War Memorial, a monument made from Portland stone. The following year, Tate's Stone Yard provided an inscribed pedestal of Portland stone for the life-size bronze figure which surmounted the Worthing War Memorial. Francis Tate charged 194 6s 0d. for the production and erection of the memorial cross at Angmering and was paid 400 for his work on the Worthing War Memorial.


[ABOVE] The unveiling of the Worthing War Memorial on 11th April 1921. Francis Tate's company provided the Portland stone pedestal for the Worthing War Memorial.


 Francis Tate - Worthing Councillor

In 1902, the Borough of Worthing was enlarged to embrace Broadwater and West Tarring. Elections were held for the First Council of Greater Worthing in 1903 and Francis Tate was elected as one of the thirty-two members of the Worthing corporation. (The corporation consisted of 8 aldermen and 24 councillors representing seven wards). Francis Tate was elected to represent Worthing's Park Ward and he was listed as the councillor for this ward between 1903 and 1911, the year he was due to retire from the corporation.

Francis Tate & Co. and Francis Tate Marbleworks of Worthing

Francis Tate's firm of stone masons were in business at North Street, Worthing for over 90 years. (An advertisement for Tate's Stone Yard published in 1892, claimed that the business had been "established 26 years" and later advertisements for Francis Tate's stoneworks carried a sign saying "Established 1864", but although it is true that the business premises in North Street had been used as a stone mason's yard since the mid 1860s, it did not carry the name of Francis Tate until after the death of Alfred Ovett in 1881, the year Francis Tate acquired the business ). The firm of Messrs. Francis Tate & Co., "monumental & general stone and marble masons and tile and granite merchants" continued at 22 North Street well into the 20th century*.

Francis Tate died in 1921 at the age of sixty-eight. The Francis Tate Stoneworks eventually passed to Francis George Tate, a son from Francis Tate's second marriage. Francis George Tate sold the stoneworks when he retired in 1973. The name of Francis Tate lives on in the company name of Francis Tate Marbleworks Ltd., a business specialising in the supply and installation of quality stone kitchen worktops. The firm known as Francis Tate Marbleworks was still supplying stone work-surfaces in Worthing's North Street in 2007.

* The records of Messrs. Francis Tate & Co., monumental and general stone and marble masons of 22 North Street, Worthing, covering the years between 1897 and 1973, are currently held by the West Sussex Record Office in Chichester [Document reference : Add Mss 22,168-22,212]

[ABOVE] A portrait of Councillor Francis Tate, master stonemason, sculptor and photographer. This portrait is a detail from a printed broadsheet celebrating the formation of the First Council of Greater Worthing in 1903. (see below).


[ABOVE] A detail from a printed portrait gallery featuring thirty-one elected members of  The First Council of Greater Worthing in 1903. Councillor Francis Tate (at the extreme right on the top row) was a master stonemason by trade, but also operated as a professional photographer in Worthing between 1892 and 1899. Councillor Walter Gardiner, another Worthing photographer engaged in local politics, can be seen in the middle of the bottom row in this detail from the portrait gallery.



I am indebted to Ray George, a great grandson of Francis Tate, who has kindly provided photographs and information relating to Francis Tate's family. Ray George's grandfather was Harry Tate, the adopted son of Francis Tate.


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