Sussex Place was a terrace of impressive large houses in Above Bar. Debenham and Smith at 1 Sussex Place was one of many high quality photography studios run by Edwin Debenham. In 1883 he formed a partnership with Walter Azemberg Smith at 1 Sussex Place.
Edwin Debenham was from a family of photographers. His father Samuel began work as a photographer in London in the late 1840s, and by the early 1860s had his own successful studio. In the early 1860s Edwin's older brother William set up a studio in Regents Street, and Edwin and younger brother Arthur worked for him. The 1861 census for Regents Park, London, listed William Debenham, photographer, brother Edwin (aged 16) photographic colourist, and Arthur apprentice colourist. In later years William took portraits for high profile sitters including Royalty and politicians.
Edwin and Arthur went into partnership for one year in 1867, and opened a studio in Ryde, on the Isle of Wight. When the partnership ended, Arthur stayed in the Isle of Wight and attracted the patronage of Royalty including King Edward VII and Tsar Nicholas II.
Carte de Visite in the name of E.Debenham
Cabinet card by Edwin Debenham.
Carte de visite 1880s
Edwin Debenham set up photography studios all over England, though mostly along the South coast. The nearest he lived to Southampton was Hodenhurst near Bournemouth. The Sussex Place studio was open from 1883 to the late 1890s, and during this time Debenham was also trading as Debenham and Gould in Bournemouth. Some examples of Southampton carte de visites carried the names Debenham and Gould. Gould may have been Chalkley Gould,(see entries for Debenham and Gould, and Chalkley Gould).
1884 Advertisement for E. Debenham in Stevens Directory. In the commercial section of the same directory the firm was listed as Debenham and Smith
In 1887 Edwin Debenham moved to Yorkshire to open studios in the North of England. Walter Azemberg Smith carried on trading as Debenham and Smith, at 108 Above Bar in the early 1900s, and then at 149 Above Bar until about 1918. Smith was an architect and surveyor from Norwich, and also a prize winning landscape painter. In the early 1860s he designed and managed the building of a studio for photographer John Sawyer in Ipswich. When the building was completed Smith went to work for the firm as a colourist. In 1865 he moved on to manage Sawyer's new studio, which Smith bought in 1867. Smith won prizes for photography, and his paintings and drawings which he exhibited at the studios. In 1883 he moved to Southampton to form the partnership with Debenham, and lived at Forest View, and worked in Southampton for the rest of his life.
Carte de visite
The 1911 census listed Smith as a widower, still living at Forest View. His occupation was recorded as Photographic Artist 'carried on by self at 149 Above Bar under the name of Debenham and Smith'. The entry also noted:- 'The above premises are used for business purposes only, no one sleeping on the premises'. The new studio was opposite a fashionable new Department Store. From 1898 numbers 136-150 Above Bar were the premises of the Tyrrell and Green Department Store. Tyrrell and Green was a high class store with a wealthy clientele, providing upmarket goods and services. As well as offering clothing and household goods, the store employed commissionaires, page boys, an Italian chef in the restaurant, and hairdressers.
Walter Smith died at Forest View in 1918.
Later Cabinet card produced after the move to the new Above Bar Studio, close to Tyrrell and Green's Department Store.
Carte de visite mounted in original album, in which photographs were moved around at some time, so the names do not correspond with the portraits.
Faded carte de visite, 2 gentlemen in bowler hats.