Sussex life through George’s very old lens

Farm worker George Harding, of Lower Beeding, was over 80-years-old in 1934

Farm worker George Harding, of Lower Beeding, was over 80-years-old in 1934

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They say a picture speaks 1,000 words – but when that picture was taken by a truly talented photographer it speaks 10,000 words.

One such photographer was George Garland, of Petworth. George died in 1978 and left behind a treasure trove of photographs capturing a way of life in Sussex that has long since faded into sepia memory.

Flooding at Pulborough in 1936

Flooding at Pulborough in 1936

A book – Proud Petworth and Beyond – containing 150 of his pictures from 1922-1936 was published in 1982.

George was born in 1900 and lived and worked in Petworth, with his work between 1930 and 1936 counted among his best.

There was always a market for his agricultural pictures and dozens of his pictures were published in ‘Farmer and Stockbreeder’.

A report in the County Times in 1982 stated: “Many national newspapers used his photographs in weekly farming features and Sussex local newspapers – more numerous than they are now – would pay the princely sum of five shillings for using one of his photographs.”

Flooding at Pulborough in 1936

Flooding at Pulborough in 1936

The nationals, on the other hand, paid him 17 shillings and sixpence.

George described himself as a press photographer, though he was never actually employed as a newspaper photographer to handle ‘hard’ news or deadlines.

A sleepy, idyllic place such as Petworth was hardly the ideal centre for that kind of work!

The business of printing his photographs was left to his wife and his assistant, Charles White. George, it appears, preferred to be out and about capturing his pictures.

Granny and Granddad Clarke gathering holly near their Petworth home at Christmas 1934

Granny and Granddad Clarke gathering holly near their Petworth home at Christmas 1934

The County Times reported: “He was somewhat impatient of the mechanics of his craft and left much of the printing to his tiny staff.

“His wife was a most methodical person and a highly skilled printer. She also kept detailed scrapbooks of all pictures sold to and published by the press.”

Mr and Mrs Garland on the newly built South Grove council estate, in Petworth, until the mid-1950s, when they moved to the High Street.

While George’s main income came from his photographs, he was able to supplement that by writing articles of local interest for a Sussex newspaper under the pen name ‘Nomad’.

Hikers at Houghton in 1930

Hikers at Houghton in 1930

He was paid one penny per line for his efforts.

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Storrington beagles at Byworth in January 1935

Storrington beagles at Byworth in January 1935

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