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Eric Fowell, Jan 2008
Arthur J. George - Photographer
1906-2004
Arthur George
Arthur in his studio
letterhead

Photo wallet
A wallet for photographs or negatives from 1953.
1953 Photo wallet

Arthur George was born on December 25th 1906 at Earls Barton and Castle Ashby railway station house. When he was 18 months old the George family moved to Irthlingborough station where his father Frederick became the stationmaster. He always spoke of a happy childhood, and attended the infant and junior schools at Irthlingborough.

He left school at 14 and had several jobs; Ingle’s Leather Warehouse in Rushden, in a boot factory, on a farm and in an insurance office. His first job in photography was with Webb & Goward of Market Harborough, developing roll films from local chemists and the surrounding villages. Arthur also worked in Wellingborough where he made wireless loud speakers.

A J in the 1990s
Arthur in the 1990's at the Railway Station
His father passed away suddenly on Christmas day 1924 aged 59. After a short stay with relatives, the family moved to Washbrook Road in Rushden in 1925. Soon after this Arthur went to work at Jeromes Photographers in London , but he called it a “sweat shop”, working long hours from 8am to 11pm on weekdays and 9am to 5pm on Sunday. His health suffered and he came home to unemployment.

in 1987
A J George in 1987 - Photo by Jean Fowell
for "We Serve The World" by Eric Fowell
So he decided to start his own photography business and went to a Kodak School of Photography on a two week course in 1933. He began with a notice in the window, and later a notice board in the front garden of the Washbrook Road house.

Although I knew of 'AJ' before, we met in the 1960’s on carnival day in Spencer Park. I was there with members of the Cactus & Succulent Society staging an exhibition of our plants and AJ took the next stall where he displayed his collection of gramophones and photographs and a few pictures of old Rushden. I also had pictures of Rushden and Higham Ferrers and Mike Gibson, Rushden Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, approached us to help him to stage a local photographic exhibition in the old Grammar School at Higham Ferrers. That was in 1961 and Mike had also asked Roy Sudborough to help us. The seed was set for both of us collecting and exchanging many photos. AJ was one of the many who took action to stop Rushden Hall being demolished and the founding of the Amenities Society. Arthur was a founder member of the Collectors’ Circle in 1979 and of the Rushden & District History Society in 1991. He was an active member of the Northamptonshire Film Archive Trust and the Rushden Historical Transport Society, of which he was a vice president.

Eric Fowell

Photo wallet
Another wallet from earlier times was sent to us by Mary Cruickshank.

This one, supplied from a photographic supplies company, was over stamped with Arthur's name and address and the slogan "Where the BEST SNAPS come from".

Photo wallet

Advert
1936

Civic Sunday

The Bandstand

St Peter’s Rogation Service

Prize Presentation – Impregnable Sports

Query Club Motor Cycle Races

Highfield Baptist Hall Opened

Ditchford ‘Lido’

Higham Ferrers Market Day

The Wedding of Miss F White & Mr J L Wilson

Little Irchester Rose Queen

Reggie Meen !

Health & Strength Rally - Kettering

Advert - 1936 Cine Review
& the list of pictures displayed
Arthur made up this board with pictures of events in 1936, mounted to look like a strip
of cine film, and the title to look like a projected picture.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 3rd March 1939, transcribed by Kay Collins

RECHABITES—About 100 juvenile-members of the "Morning Star" Tent, Rushden, and the "Progress" Tent, Higham Ferrers, were entertained to tea in the Queen-street schoolrooms on February 28. Bro. Barley, juvenile superintendent, was in the chair, and Sister Megan Capon extended a welcome to the District officers (Bros. J. Harris and R. G. Sherwood), and to the Higham Ferrers visitors. After tea the company were entertained by Bro. A. J. George's cinematograph, and Bro. R. Richards (conjuror), and there were addresses by the District officers and others. Sisters M. M. Stapleton, D.D.R., B.Knight and S. J. Shipman formed the ladies committee, and the secretary, Bro. J. H. Shipman, carried out the arrangements.


Arthur John George enrolled in the Local Defence Volunteers on 9th June 1940, and was discharged on 31st December 1945.

Some advertising for his commercial photography buisness
Nene Valley Coachworks Cox & Wright
A rack made by Cox & Wright
Shoetrade

In 1989/90 the Ritz Cinema was under threat of re-development as a retail/office complex.

After a campaign by Arthur George, and his petition signed by hundreds of people, the Ritz finally became Flutters Bingo in 1991.

In 1996 Arthur celebrated his 90th birthday, and he also wrote a history of early film.
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