IOW Photographers - Nicholls, Arthur


Photographer Arthur Nicholls
Active Period c1875 - c1897
Lifespan Born:  c1841  Norwich, Norfolk Died:  1909  Gosport, Hants
Studio Addresses 5 Marine Terrace, Sandown
71 High Street, Sandown
Associates Horace W Nicholls, Stanley Hugh Nicholls & Gilbert Edward Nicholls (sons)
Mabel E Nicholls (daughter)
Trade History None found in Kelly's Directories 1875, 1898, 1899
Evidence Found
1880 - estimated date of photos below
Examples of
Trade Cards,
Adverts, etc
Nicholls.jpg (7636 bytes)Nicholls2.jpg (7665 bytes)
Examples of Arthur Nicholls' photo backs c1880
Family History Arthur Nicholls was born in Norwich c1841, the son of a local builder John Nicholls and his wife Sophia (possibly nee Bullen). However, the family moved to London sometime before 1847, where the 1851 census records them living at 3 St Andrews Terrace, Westminster. The family comprised John Nicholls (a 39 year old joiner from Norwich), his wife Sophia (also 39 from Grimstone, Norfolk), and their children John (17), Charles (12), Arthur (10), Henry (4), Frederick (2) and Emily (6 mths). The older children had been born in Norwich, and the three youngest in Westminster.

The whereabouts of the family at the time of the 1861 census has not yet been established but, by the time of the 1871 census, son Arthur Nicholls had married a Charlotte Johnson from Cambridge and they had three children. The 1871 census records the family living at 24 Little St Mary's Lane, East Barnwell, Cambridge, and comprised Arthur (described as a 29 year old artist & photographer), his wife Charlotte M (also 29), and their children Horace W (4), Ernest F (2) and Gertrude E (11 mths); all children having been born in Cambridge. The couple were to have two more children at Cambridge, Mabel E (c1873) and Herbert A (c1875), before moving to the IOW.

The family settled in Sandown and, at the time of the 1881 census, was living at 5 Marine Terrace (along the High Street) and had acquired two more children - Gilbert Edward (c1877) and Stanley Hugh (c1878). In the 1881 census, Arthur is recorded as being a photographer, as was his eldest son Horace (then 14), no doubt engaged as an assistant to his father. At some point while on the IOW, Arthur also had a studio at 71 High Street, and it is believed one of his studios may have doubled as a sweet shop.

By the time of the 1891 census, the family had moved to Cyprus Villa, Pellmont Road, Sandown, and had gained two further children, Harold Edgar (c1881) and Frank Percival (c1883), The 1891 census records Arthur as being a portrait painter & photographer (employer), and his children Mabel and Gilbert as employed photographers. Arthur's two eldest children, Horace and Ernest were absent; Horace being found boarding in New Windsor, Berks and employed as a photographers assistant, and his brother boarding elsewhere in the same town and employed as a grocer's assistant.

For some unknown reason, Arthur and his family left the Island sometime after 1891 and moved to Reading, Berks where he continued his photographic work. The 1901 census records the family living at 11 Jesse Terrace, Reading, with 59 year old Arthur working as an artist sculptor on his own account at home. Living with Arthur was his wife Charlotte and three of their unmarried children, Gertrude (30), Gilbert (24) and Harold (19) - Gilbert working as a picture frame maker. Later still, Arthur and Charlotte moved to Southsea where they ran a sweet shop. After Charlotte died, Arthur moved to Gosport and lived there until his death in 1909.

Meanwhile, the 1901 census shows that Arthur's son Horace had returned to the IOW and was living at 1 Fitzroy Street, Sandown. The census records him as being a 34 year old photographic frame maker (employer), and living with him was his wife Florence (34 and from Windsor) and their two children, George (6) and Gertrude (4) - both having been born in South Africa. Sadly, George was killed in WW1 (see below).

Horace W Nicholls became a somewhat celebrated photographer himself, and examples of his work (some thought to be of Sandown) are to be found in Gail Buckland's book "The Golden Summer". Another of Arthur's sons, Stanley Hugh Nicholls, emigrated to South Africa where he continued his photographic career. Children Mabel and Gilbert also became photographers, so one can safely assume that Arthur Nicholls created a true family business!

My thanks to Alan Nicholls (Marlow, Bucks) and Bob Nicholls (South Australia) - both great-grandsons of Arthur Nicholls - for help with the above history.

Further Notes   -  IW County Press, 28 March 1917
An obituary for George A Nicholls, eldest son of Horace Nicholls, who was killed in action at the Western Front on Easter Monday 1917. The article states that Horace Nicholls was a well known press photographer and native of Sandown.

My thanks to Ann Barrett for finding this article.


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