Brislington Community Museum

J C Lawrence Postcard saying 'See this exhibit'.

The only known postcard of Brislington by James Charles Lawrence cites his address as 22 Elmhurst Rd, Gosport, a coastal town in Hampshire.

He was baptised in the church of St Peter, Preston (now part of Brighton, East Sussex) in January 1875. He was the son of Louisa and James Lawrence, the family lived in the parish, and his father's occupation was hosier. The census of 1891 shows the 16-year old in the household (11 family members plus 5 live-in workers) of Henry Jenkins, a 52-year old photographer and hairdresser, in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. James' occupation is cited as photographer's assistant.

In the spring of 1896 his married Cecilia Byrne, a 20-year old spinster from Sandgate, Kent. The 1891 census shows her as the daughter of Mildred and John Byrne (at the time of the marriage he worked as an upholsterer). James, a bachelor, was also living in Sandgate (Victoria Terrace) and working as a photographer, while his father now worked as a draper.

The 1901 census shows the couple with two sons, both born in Sandgate, living in Wandsworth, London. He was employed as a photographer. A decade later in 1911 the census shows James with two more sons and a domestic servant living at 22 Elmhurst Road in Gosport (where the new children were born). He is self-employed and working from home as a photographer, and his eldest son - Louis James Lawrence (aged 14) is assisting his work. Cecilia is absent. In 1914, while living at the same address, James files for divorce, which is granted.

In the spring of 1917 he married Eleanor Willet. She was the daughter of Maria and Arthur Willett and was baptised in June 1887 when the family lived in Ashford, Middlesex, and her father was working as an artist. In the 1891 census her father's artworks included both oil and watercolour. In the 1901 census she was living with her grandmother in Ditchling, Sussex; and in the 1911 census she was a domestic servant living with the family of an architect in Sutton, Surrey. Between 1919 and 1926 the couple had five children.

While living at St Edward's Road in Gosport, in 1933, James died. The register of 1939 shows Eleanor living with two of their adult sons, still in Gosport. In 1972 the death of Eleanor Lawrence was registered in the district of Lewes, Sussex.

Brislington postcard

Trelawney Park - TRELAWNEY RD. BRISLINGTON. See exhibit in our museum.

Ken Taylor

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