Mystery photos of Brighton and Hove

Photo:Was this taken in the old Le Carbone factory?

Was this taken in the old Le Carbone factory?

From the private collection of Dennis Parrett

A First World War soldier?

By Dennis Parrett

Does anybody know where this picture might have been taken or what it related to?

One suggestion is that it is in the old village of Portslade, probably at Le Carbone factory, which may have been used by the military in the 1st world war. Le Carbone(GB) Ltd, a French company who came over here around the 1890's.

Can anyone help identify it please?

This page was added on 17/04/2007.
Comments about this page

It is probably earlier than WWI. According to the excellent website about local photographers (www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk), Eugene de Fontaine (real name: William Kessler) had premises at 43a Ship Street, Brighton in the mid 1890s and was at 21 Carlton Terrace, Portslade in 1901. The small print places it at the latter. As the photo is in a format called carte de visite, which was intended to be cheap enough for the masses, it is likely that it was taken at or near the studio. The pouch suggests he was a messenger.

By David Fisher (25/04/2007)

The soldier shown here appears to be wearing the 'undress' uniform of a British Army infantry private dating from probably about 1895-1899. There is a version of the glengarry forage cap on his head (phased out in 1902). His jacket here is scarlet worn with black trousers; very striking but a less fancy version compared to 'full dress'. The distinctive white pouch would have been for ammunition rather than messages, I think. I would need more close-up detail of the collar and belt insignia to have a chance of identifying his regiment. The rifle in his hands is the Lee-Metford, adopted by the British army from 1888. This design of rifle was replaced by the Lee-Enfield from 1895. (Replacement of the Lee-Metford took several years to achieve, and it was still in service in some units in 1899, so this picture could be somewhere between 1888 and 1899; and no later than 1902 going by his headgear.)

By Graham Russel (02/12/2008)

Uniform trousers were dark blue.

By Graham Russel (02/12/2008)

Thank you for the information. From the possible dating I may have identified one member of my family. It would be useful to know about the regiment though and there is a close up at:
http://www.photohistory-sussex.co.uk/KesslerFontaine.htm
This is the Sussex photographic website and there is a history of the photographer which is interesting. If you can help identify the regiment. I would be grateful if you can help further.

By Dennis Parrett (08/12/2008)

Not surprisingly, the close up shows it's the locals: the Royal Sussex Regiment. The belt buckle is just the standard British Army 'other ranks' one. But the collar badge is unique. It consists of a Maltese cross overlaying a feather - the Roussillon plume. On the centre of the Maltese cross is superimposed the round central part of the Garter Star, i.e., a St George's Cross surrounded by the Garter, and around this is a wreath of laurels. This is clearly visible as the rounded 'bump' in the middle of the collar badge.
N.B. The collar and cuffs ('facings') of the uniform really ought to be blue, I think, as a Royal Regiment; not sure why they don't quite look dark enough here, but the distinctive badge does makes it certain it's the Royal Sussex Regiment. See for example: http://www.royalsussex.org.uk/RSLHG_regimental_badges.htm (collar badge section)

By Graham Russel (06/01/2009)

Very many thanks Graham. I will post a note if I identify anybody for certain but did you also see the December 1918 Royal Sussex Regiment Christmas Card that I recently posted? It may not in any way be connected of course.

By Dennis Parrett (30/01/2009)

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