The Studio of Alfred J. C. Wright

The studio of Alfred J. C. Wright at 18 Kensington Place was operated by a married couple , Alfred and Hannah Wright. Alfred and Hannah Wright were active as photographers in Brighton from 1889 to 1913.

ABOVE ] The trade card of Alfred Wright, Photographer of 18 Kensington Place, Brighton. (c.1890).


Alfred Joseph Charles Wright ( 1854 - 1922 )

Alfred Joseph Charles Wright was born in the Hollingbury district of Brighton in Sussex on 8th June, 1854. His father Nathaniel Wright, who was born around 1829, was originally from Oxfordshire and worked as a cabinet maker. Alfred's mother, Mrs Rosetta Wright, was born in Hammersmith, London, around 1834 and in the 1881 census return, Rosetta Wright's occupation is recorded as " Monthly Nurse". When the 1881 census was taken, Rosetta Wright describes herself as a widow, aged 46. However, it appears that Nathaniel Wright was still alive at the time of the 1881 census. Nathaniel Wright was lodging in Aylesbury in 1881 and he, too, informed the census enumerator that his spouse was dead. It seems the couple separated some time before 1861.

Although born in Sussex, Alfred was living with his mother Rosetta in London by the time the 1861 census was carried out. In the 1861 census return, Rosetta Wright is recorded as a married servant, aged 36, living in Clapham with six year old Alfred.

Alfred Joseph Charles Wright married Hannah Dudley on 12th May,1873. [The marriage of Alfred Wright to Hannah Dudley is recorded in the marriage register for Kensington in the June Quarter of 1873 ].

The couple's first son, Dudley Albertus Wright was born in Epsom, Surrey on 28th August, 1874. By the time their second son, Arthur William Wright was born in 1876, Alfred and Hannah were living in Brighton.


Hannah Wright ( 1854 - 1932 )

Hannah Dudley ( later Mrs Hannah Wright ) was the daughter of Joseph Dudley and Elizabeth Fuller.

Hannah's father Joseph Dudley was born in Wootton, Bedfordshire in 1815. (Joseph's baptism was recorded at Wootton on 22nd December 1815) . Joseph Dudley worked as an agricultural labourer in Bedfordshire for most of his adult life. Hannah's mother Elizabeth Fuller was born in 1818 ( Elizabeth's baptism took place in Wootton on 11th January 1818). Elizabeth Fuller married Joseph Dudley in Wootton on 13th October 1834.

Hannah Dudley was the youngest of 10 children. Hannah was born in the village of Wootton Pillinge, Bedfordshire on 13th July 1854 and was baptised on 6th August 1854 in nearby Wootton. Wootton Pillinge was, from 1848, a railway halt roughly halfway between Wootton and Marston Moretaine. Her mother Mrs Elizabeth Dudley (nee Fuller) is recorded as a railway gatekeeper in the 1881 Census and possibly operated the gates near Wootton Pillinge Railway Halt.

As the youngest daughter of an agricultural labourer, Hannah probably went to London to go into service. This would explain how she ended up marrying Alfred Wright in the Borough of Kensington.


[ BELOW] Alfred Wright's rubber stamped trade plate which appears on the back of the cabinet portrait below.[BRIGHTON HISTORY CENTRE]

[ ABOVE] A portrait of a young man. A cabinet size photograph taken at Alfred Wright's studio at 18 Kensington Place.The larger cabinet size portrait cost two shillings for the first copy. Six further copies could be had for six shillings. A dozen cabinet size duplicates would cost ten shillings. [PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE BRIGHTON HISTORY CENTRE]

A portrait of Alfred Joseph Charles Wright, the proprietor of the studio at 18 Kensington Place, Brighton .

A portrait of Hannah Wright, the wife of Alfred Wright. Hannah was listed as the photographer at the Kensington Place studio in 1891.

Alfred and Hannah Wright in Brighton

By 1876, Alfred and Hannah Wright were living in Brighton

In the 1881 Census, Alfred J C Wright , a Brewer's Scalder, aged 26 ( born, Brighton ) is shown living at 35 Montreal Road , Brighton with his wife Hannah aged 26 ( born Wootton Pillinge, Bedfordshire ) and four children - Dudley aged 6, Arthur aged 5, Nellie aged 3 and Alfred aged 2. Also living with the family at Montreal Road was Alfred's widowed mother, Rosetta Wright.

Photographic Career

By 1889, Alfred Wright had opened a photographic studio at 115 Islingword Road. Alfred Wright was still employed by a Brighton brewery, so it is likely that his wife took most of the photographs at the beginning. When the 1891 Census was taken, Alfred gives his occupation as "Cellarman", yet his wife Hannah is entered on the return as "Photographer [ Neither Employer nor Employed ]", which suggests she ran the photographic studio when her husband was at work.

By 1890, Alfred Wright and his family were living at 18, Kensington Place in the North Laine area of Brighton. A trade directory of 1890 lists Alfred J.C. Wright, Photographer, at 18, Kensington Place. As we know from the 1891 Census return, it was Hannah Wright who was taking most of the photographs at the Kensington Place studio.

[ ABOVE] A portrait of a young woman.. A carte-de-visite portrait taken at Alfred Wright's studio at 18 Kensington Place, Brighton (c1894) Wright charged one shilling for a single carte-de-visite and four shillings for a dozen copies of the original cdv portrait. A customer would be charged 2/6d for half a dozen copies of the original.

The Dudley Family

Joseph Dudley, Hannah's father, was born in Wootton, Bedfordshire in 1815. Joseph Dudley worked as an agricultural labourer in Bedfordshire for most of his adult life. In 1834, at the age of 19, Joseph Dudley married sixteen year old Elizabeth Fuller. The couple had at least ten children -

Anna [?] ( born c1835 ),William ( born 1836 ), Betsy ( born 1838 ), George ( born 1840 ), Jesse ( born c1842 )
Caroline ( born 1845)
, Samuel , (born 1847), Thomas, (  born c1849 ), Lucy, (born 1852) and finally, the youngest,     .Hannah Dudley ( born 13th July, 1854). All ten children were born in or near Wootton in Bedfordshire.

Elizabeth Dudley's sons worked on the land, like their father. In 1881, William Dudley was working as a shepherd and his brother Thomas was employed as an agricultural labourer. However, unlike their parents, not all the Dudley offspring wanted to spend the rest of their days in the village of Wootton. William Dudley emigrated to Australia, where his descendants live to this day. Jesse Dudley decided to make a new life in the United States and eventually settled in the American state of New York where he raised a family.

Hannah Dudley's move away from Wootton was on a more modest scale. While still in her teens, Hannah Dudley left rural Bedfordshire for what she hoped would be a more promising future in London. It was a journey that would eventually lead to marriage and a career in photography.

The Wright Family

Very little is known about Alfred Wright's family background. Alfred's father, Nathaniel Wright , was born in Oxfordshire either in 1826 or 1829. In the 1851 census, Nathaniel Wright is shown living with his wife Rosetta at 37 North Gardens, Brighton. Nathaniel Wright gives his occupation as "Cabinet Maker- Journeyman " and his age is entered as 25. By 1861, Nathaniel and Rosetta had separated. At the time of the 1861 census, Nathaniel Wright was living in Westminster and still earning a living as a cabinet maker. He informed the census enumerator that he was unmarried. In 1881, Nathaniel Wright, who in the census return gave his age as fifty-two, was employed as a cabinet maker and lodging at a house in Aylesbury.

[ ABOVE ] A Portrait of Alfred Wright's father, Nathaniel Wright. He was born in Oxfordshire around 1829 and worked as a cabinet maker for most of his working life.


[ ABOVE ] A Portrait of Mrs Elizabeth Dudley ( nee Fuller ), Hannah Dudley's mother.Elizabeth Fuller was born in Wootton, Bedfordshire in January,1818. She married in 1834 at the age of sixteen and went on to have at least ten children. This photograph was taken in the Wright's Brighton studio towards the end of Mrs Elizabeth Dudley's life..


[ ABOVE ] This is thought to be a portrait of Hannah's father. Joseph Dudley ( born 1815 Wootton, Bedfordshire).




Alfred Joseph Charles Wright ( 1854 - 1922 )




Hannah Wright ( 1854 - 1932 )

[ ABOVE ] A Portrait of Mrs Hannah Wright ( nee Dudley) taken in 1892. Although the name of the studio at 18 Kensington Place carried the name of her husband it seems Hannah was the main operator at the photographic studio in the early years of the business



[ABOVE] A photograph of Mrs Hannah Wright with nine of her ten children in a group portrait taken by Alfred Wright in 1892.

The boys standing at the back, from left to right, are Sidney (born c1882),Dudley (born 1874) Arthur (born c1876) and Alfred (born c1879). Seated in the middle row, from left to right, are Florence ( born 1883) Mrs Hannah Wright (born 1854), and Nellie (born c1878). At the front, from left to right, are Margaret (born c1887) holding palm frond, Edwin (born c1889) between his mother's knees and Frances (born 1890) seated on Nellie's lap.The last member of the family (not in photo) was Stefan, born on 17th November 1894.


In the 1891 Census, Alfred and Hannah Wright are shown living at 18 Kensington Place, Brighton.

Details of the 1891 Census :

1891 Census : 18 Kensington Place, Brighton

Alfred Wright (Head) Cellarman [ Employed ] age 36 ( born Brighton ) * In the 1881 Census, recorded as born Hollingbury.
Hannah Wright (wife) Photographer [ Neither Employer nor Employed ] age 36 ( born Wootton, Bedfordshire )
Dudley Wright ( son) Errand Boy [ Employed ] age 16 ( born Epsom, Surrey )
Arthur Wright ( son) Errand Boy [ Employed ] age 15 ( born Brighton ) Nellie Wright (daughter) Scholar age 13 ( born Brighton )
Alfred Wright ( son) Scholar age 12 ( born Brighton ) ** In 1881 Census , shown as born Hammersmith
Sydney Wright ( son) Scholar age 9 ( born Brighton )
Margaret Wright (daughter) Scholar age 4 ( born Brighton )
Edwin Wright ( son) age 2 ( born Brighton )
Frances Wright (daughter) age 8 months ( born Brighton )

Rosetta Wright (Mother) widow age 57 ( born Hammersmith , London ) ***

++ NOTE : Florence Wright (born 9th March 1883), the couple's sixth child, was not residing at 18 Kensington Place, Brighton on the night of the census

**The 1881 Census states that their son Alfred was born in Hammersmith around 1879. The 1891 Census also gives Alfred Wright's mother's place of birth as Hammersmith, London

The Studio at Kensington Place

[ ABOVE ] A portrait of Alfred J.C. Wright. Alfred used his own portrait to experiment with this novel scroll effect on this cabinet portrait .

ABOVE ] Jeanette Holm, a grandaughter of photographer Alfred . Wright, stands outside 18 Kensington Place, Brighton, where the Wright family lived for over 20 years. Alfred Wright's photographic studio was located in the back garden of the house.This photograph was taken in 1988..[ PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF .JEANETTE HOLM .]

[ ABOVE ] A portrait of Hannah Wright taken at the Kensington Place studio. The distinctive painted backdrop with its exotic flowers and plants featured in the background of a number of photographic portraits made at Wright's studio.

Alfred J. C. Wright was working as a Brewer's Scalder in 1881, but from around 1890 the couple operated a photographic studio in Kensington Place, Brighton.

Unlike most of Brighton's professional photographic studios, which were located in busy shopping parades , 18 Kensington Place was situated in a quiet residential street. According to Jeanette Holm, Alfred and Hannah's grandaughter, the photographic studio itself was at "the bottom of the back garden".

Hannah worked as a photographer, while her husband was employed as a cellarman at a local brewery. [ According to a member of the Wright family, Alfred Wright was employed at the "Smither's Brewery in the Kemptown area of East Brighton" ] In the 1891 Census, Hannah Wright is described as a self-employed photographer by the census enumerator.

In the 1890s, Alfred Wright was employed at Smither's Brewery, but before 1901 he took up photography as a full-time profession.

In the 1901 Census for 18 Kensington Place, Alfred J C Wright is recorded as "Photographer ( own account ) " aged 46. No occupation is given for his wife Hannah. Her age is given as 46 and her place of birth as Marston, Bedfordshire.

Alfred's mother, Mrs Rosetta Wright died in Brighton in 1902.

Alfred and Hannah Wright were still running the photographic studio at 18 Kensington Place in 1913.


[ ABOVE ] A portrait of a family member, believed to be a niece of Hannah and Alfred, taken at Wright's studio in Kensington Place, Brighton. Notice the exotic plant life painted on the studio backdrop.



A photographic portrait of a member of the Dudley Family. The young woman is believed to be Caroline Jane Dudley,who was born in 1875 and was the daughter of Thomas Dudley ( born c1849 Wootton, Bedfordshire), one of Hannah's brothers.


[ LEFT & ABOVE] Alfred Wright's rubber stamped trade plate which appears on the back of both his cabinet portraits [ABOVE] and his cartes- -de-visite [ LEFT ]


Alfred and Hannah Wright in Old Age

[ABOVE] Hannah Wright photographed in 1922 at the rear of 18 Kensington Place, Brighton. [ PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF .JEANETTE HOLM .]

[ABOVE] Hannah Wright standing in front of her husband Alfred's grave in Brighton cemetery. [ PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF .JEANETTE HOLM .]


[ABOVE ] A portrait of Alfred Wright, holding his pet cat, standing outside his home at 18 Kensington Place. This photograph was taken in 1922, the year of Alfred's death. [ PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF .JEANETTE HOLM .]

When the photographic studio at Kensington Place closed around 1913, Alfred Wright returned to work in the brewery. In 1917, when Alfred's daughter Florence married for the second time, his occupation is shown on his daughter's marriage certificate as "Brewer's Foreman".

The 1918 and 1919 electoral registers show Alfred Wright and Hannah still living at 18 Kensington Place, Brighton

A Brighton street directory indicates that Alfred and Hannah Wright were still living at 18 Kensington Place at the beginning of 1922..

Alfred Joseph Charles Wright died in Brighton on 2nd October, 1922. Hannah Wright passed away ten years later on 12th October, 1932.

The descendants of Alfred and Hannah Wright

1.Dudley Albertus Wright, Alfred and Hannah's eldest son was born in Epsom on 28th August 1874. Dudley served in the French Foreign Legion and went on to become a valet for the famous French singer Maurice Chevalier. Dudley Wright settled in France, married and had four children - Elizabeth Emma (born 1896), Alfred Joseph (born 1898), Dudley Joseph ( born 1901) and Marguerite (born c1905). Dudley Albertus Wright died in 1952 at St. James's Hospital in Devizes, Wiltshire. A daughter of his son Alfred Joseph Wright, Hugette, was living in the Paris area in 2005. Dudley's great grand-daughter Laurence Wright, who still lives in France, has retained the Wright surname in honour of her great grandfather and her Brighton ancestors.

2.Arthur William Wright was born in Brighton in 1876

3. Nellie Rosetta Wright was born in Brighton on 18th August, 1878. She died on 11th June,1957, aged 78.

4. Alfred Wright junior was born in Brighton in 1879 and died in his teens sometime in the 1890s.

5. Sydney Wright was born in Brighton in 1882.

6. Florence Mildred Wright was born in Brighton on 9th March 1883. In December 1909, Florence married Frederick H. Souch (1880-1917). Her first husband, Frederick Souch, was a veteran of the South African War and he joined the Army again when the First World War began in 1914. Frederick Souch served in France during the First World War and died from his wounds on 10th August 1917, after being injured by an exploding shell. Florence and Frederick Souch had three children - Rosalie ( born 6th October, 1910, Frederick junior (born June,1911, Brighton ) and Maisie ( born 2nd September,1913, Brighton ). Florence Souch (nee Wright ) married her second husband Samuel George Deanes (1877-1963) in Brighton on 29th November 1917. Soon after their marriage, Florence and Samuel Deanes moved to Dudley, West Midlands, where their first child, Alfred Joseph Charles Deanes ( also known as "Donald" ) was born on 10th September, 1918. After a few years, Samuel and Florence moved South, eventually settling in Staines. The couple had a total of six children - Alfred ( born Dudley, 1918), Florence (born Kensington,1921), Margaret and Joyce ( both born Staines, 10th January 1923), Dudley ( born Staines,1924) and Arthur ( born Staines 1926 - died 1927). Alfred Joseph Charles Deanes emigrated to Canada in 1949, where his descendants still live to this day. Florence died in Hayes, Middlesex on 3rd February, 1956, aged 72.

7. Margaret Wright was was born in Brighton on 21st November 1887. Margaret later married Arthur Chellingsworth. She died on 26th June, 1973 aged 85.

8. Edwin Wright was born in Brighton in 1889.

9. Frances Wright was born in Brighton on 4th August, 1890. She died on 21st March,1969, aged 78. Frances was the mother of Jeanette Holm.

10. Stefan Edody Wright, Alfred and Hannah's youngest son, was born in Brighton on 17th November 1894. At the age of seventeen Stefan set off for America, arriving in New York on 24th March 1912. Stefan settled in the United States and lived the rest of his life in America. He died on 18th October, 1975 in Albion, New York.


Thanks to the following for supplying photographs and information on the Wright / Dudley Family :

Cris Van Hal of Chatham, Ontario, Canada. Cris is married to to Beth ( Elizabeth Anne nee Deanes ), a great grandaughter of Hannah Wright. Beth Van Hal's grandmother was Florence Mildred Wright ( born on 9th March 1883 )

Jeanette Holm of Brandon, Manitoba. Jeanette Holm is the daughter of Alfred and Hannah Wright's youngest daughter Frances.

Maxine Jones and her daughter Claire Hall of Wales. Maxine Jones is the great grandaughter of Thomas Dudley ( born 1849 in Wootton ), Mrs Hannah Wright's older brother.

Laurence Wright of France, Dudley Wright's great grand-daughter.

Eric Monahan, genealogist of Paignton, Devon, and second cousin three times removed of Hannah Dudley.

Brighton Local History Centre.

The Genealogy Depot website.


Website last updated: 2nd April, 2006

This website is dedicated to the memory of Arthur T. Gill (1915-1987), Sussex Photohistorian


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