John Henry Blomfield (1850-1928)
John H. Blomfield was born in New Romney, where his father served as parish priest. Coming to Hastings at the age of twelve, he attended the University School. Marrying Mary E. G. Hoffman (c1862-) in 1882 they had five children as of the time of the 1891 census and were living at 43 Cornwallis Gardens As an adult, he was described as retiring, but had a keen interest in painting and chess. He passed away at his then home, 124 Old London Road.
In 1867, Henry Blomfield's two eldest sons, William Knibb Blomfield and John formed a business partnership and purchased the photographic studio of Ayles & Bonniwell at Trinity House, 44 Robertson Street. Their predecessors at the Trinity House studio, Charles C. Ayles and William C. Bonniwell had built up a successful photography business over the previous decade and had attracted customers from the upper classes of society in Hastings & St Leonards. William and John Blomfield had spent an amount of money-making alterations and improvements to the studio including re-naming it the Royal Studio, which was in a prime position in the fashionable shopping parade of Robertson Street ( later referred to as the "'Regent Street' of Hastings" ).
At the end of 1870, William Blomfield and John Blomfield vacated the studio at 44 Robertson Street, letting it out to the photographer Edmund James Eyres (c1833-1910). The Blomfield brothers continued to work as photographers, but used the family home at 6 Shornden Villas in Bohemia Road as their base. Without their well-equipped studio in Trinity House, the Blomfields concentrated more on outdoor work. Messrs Blomfield now styled themselves as "Landscape & Portrait Photographers" and they were more likely to make a journey to the homes of their customers or carry out outdoor commissions than produce formal portraits in a studio setting.
When the 1871 census was taken, William K. Blomfield was recorded as an "Artist Photographer" residing at 6 Shornden Villas with his mother and seven of his siblings. William's younger brother John Henry Blomfield was "on the road" in his new role as a travelling photographer. During the 1871 census, John Blomfield was working some 7 miles away in the village of Sedlescombe, lodging at the house of George Beney, a local grocer. In the census return John Blomfield is described as a "Photographic Artist", aged 20.
In 1872, Edmund James Eyres left 44 Robertson Street and moved into a studio at 21 White Rock. John Henry Blomfield returned to the Trinity House studio and ran the business under the name of John Blomfield & Co. His brother William Blomfield was in poor health and so he retired from the business and eventually travelled back to Jamaica, the island of his birth.
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References & Notes
- UK Census Records (England, Scotland, Wales): FreeCEN - UK Census Records (England, Scotland, Wales), accessdate: 24 January 2020