James Smythe was one of a succession of photographers who worked from 180 High Street. In the 1830s printer and lithographer Thomas Skelton was at 180. By 1843 number 180 was C and J Rayner's library, reading rooms and news room. John Goddard and the Photographic Institution advertised at the library and reading rooms at 180 in 1847, followed by Mr G Marks, Daguerreotype Artist, in 1849. The next photographer known to work from 180 was 'Professor' Leslie in 1851, followed by James Smythe in 1859, James Russell in the early 1860s, and then John Need in the later 1860s.
1859 Advertisement in Forbes and Bennett's Directory
Smythe's 1859 advertisement for 'the best and cheapest portraits' gave a little information about the studio at 180 High Street. The advertisement stated that photographs were taken in a glass gallery, which suggests that there was some kind of glass house similar to the 'commodious' structure at 11 Prospect Place advertised by Mr Sharpe in the late 1860s. The advertisement also gave a clue to where 180 High St was in relation to the Bargate : six doors down. Even numbers were on the western side of the High Street, so 180 was roughly where the supermarket, gym and Solent University art studios are situated today. (2016)
In 1859 Smythe worked at 180 High Street and lived in Orchard Street. The 1861 Forbes and Bennett Southampton Directory listed James Smythe, photographer, at 180 High street, while the census of that year recorded James Smythe, widower and photographer living in Waterloo, Hampshire.
In March 1864 James Smythe died in Alton, Hampshire, aged 40 years.