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The Life of Claud Hider (1888-1954)
Click on Towns and Villages below to see views taken by Claud Hider c.1925. Numbers of images in brackets.
Axminster
2
Little Bredy
1
Netherbury
3
Symondsbury
2
Beaminster
3
Litton Cheney
2
Powerstock
2
Toller
2
Bexington
7
Long Bredy
1
Punknoll
4
Walditch
1
Bridport
28
Loders
1
Seatown
8
West Coker
1
Burton Bradstock
22
Lyme Regis
9
Shipton Gorge
4
West Bay
43
Chideock
28
Mapperton
1
Stanton St. Gabriels
3
Whitchurch
1
Chard 1 Bothenhampton 7 Monkton Wyld 1    
Eype 8 Martingstown 1 Stoke Abbott 5 Wootton Fitzpaine 4
Hardington
1
Morcombelake
6
Swyre
6
Uploders
1

total - 292 post cards by Claud Hider excluding nearly 100 post cards of Charmouth so far!

Click here for seperate section on Charmouth
The Life of Claud Hider (1888-1954)
I have been collecting postcards of Charmouth for a number of years and accumulated several hundred from different sources at varying prices. I have then tried to get them in some kind of order. They seem to fall into two categories, those along The Street and views of the Coast. It is very frustrating going through boxes of cards seeing identical views from "The George Inn" looking up and "Charmouth House" looking down The Street. Similarly there are numerous postcards looking across to Golden Cap or the other way towards Lyme Regis. Most of these were printed by the larger publishers, as they were popular with the visitors. But occasionally I was to find more exiting images from the past that showed animated close-ups of buildings. I was to see after awhile these had the name Hider inscribed on the front.Initially I thought he must have been from Charmouth as he seemed to know the village well and often recorded the inhabitants in the scenes. But I soon realised that he had produced a number for neighbouring Chideock and Seatown. Finally I could see his output centred on Bridport and West Bay with many of the neighbouring villages. My collection has grown and I now have about 100 postcards by him of this and surrounding towns and villages. 
Hider was one of a number of photographers who supplemented their livings by producing small quantities of photographic cards of their neighbourhood. During the first three decades of the 20th century there had been a golden age of postcards with many hundreds of millions bought every year and often collected in albums, some of which have survived to this day. Before the telephone, they were used as a way of sending a message, as the postal service was cheap, regular and reliable. Often on the back of a card you would read that someone was inviting a friend for tea the same day and would expect them to receive it in time for them to come. As well as the large firms, such as Tuck, Valentines and Frith, there were smaller publishers who would sell real photographic cards. These had a glossy finish, the photograph having been developed directly onto a piece of card with a postcard back. Many village photographers were able to produce their own postcards. It was their local knowledge that allowed them to capture the kind of scenes that are so eagerly sought after today. Claud Hider was the most prolific of these in the Bridport area. He could produce small quantities, often no more than ten or twenty of each card that would be sold in his shop or other outlets. The location would be handwritten on the negative and thus appear in white on finished card with a reference number. Though only 4inches by 6 inches, when scanned and enlarged their quality is so good that even at poster size they are very sharp.
Hider has provided a unique and comprehensive record of Charmouth almost 100 years ago that I have only now been able to piece together. He had covered most of the village with his camera and there are few areas that he had missed out and even these may still turn up in time. I have placed my own collection below, but if you can add to it, please contact me at neil@freshford.com.  laude Robert Hider is something of an enigma to collectors of postcards and lovers of local history as thanks to him we have such a marvellous record of Bridport and the villagers around. He is particularly relevant to Charmouth as he seems to have recorded the village from as early as 1922, sometimes returning to the same building or view after many years. He would often photograph a significant event such as the 1926 Landslip, which closed the Lyme Regis to Charmouth Rad for which he produced a series of postcards.Thanks to the Ancestry website I now know a little more of his life. He was born in Gravesend in Kent to Robert and Clara Hider in 1888. His father appears as a professional Photographer in Directories of the time, and no doubt Claud learnt his trade from him. Robert Hider had photographic studios at 22 Banks Town in Sheerness and also 183 Parrock`s Street in Gravesend. His Cartes de Visite, which were the size of visiting cards showing Victorian sitters in his studios from these times come regularly on to the market and I have shown some below. These were very popular and by the 1860s every small town had its professional photographers and it has been estimated that up to 400 million cartes de visite were produced each year. Topographical views occasionally come to light, and I am fortunate to own some of Charmouth dating back to 1870 produced by William Barrett of Bridport.They provide some of the earliest images of towns and villages in the area. 
The 1901 Census shows that the family were living in Chatham in Kent, which would have been near the two studios. By 1911, the next Census shows Claud, aged 23 boarding with Charles Speight, a photographer in Kettering in Northamptonshire and working as a darkroom assistant. Three years later he marries Edith Wilkin in Kettering. Later they have moved back to Kent and their first child is born to them in Maidstone in 1916.They then move on to Bridport in Dorset, where two further children are born in 1922 and 1925. My earliest postcard is dated September 1922 when he teams up with another photographer named Lawrence (H&L) and record Charmouth from Cains Folly, shown below. This must be one of a series as another view of Charmouth shows the former Battery at the bottom of Higher Sea Lane that was demolished in 1922. The following year Claud shows the same view with the newly built Thalatta, where I live, as part of a panoramic view spread over 4 cards. I am also fortunate that at the same time he took a close up of the house, which I treasure. The first directory entry for Claude is in Kelly’s of 1927, He would travel around the area in his Model T Ford open top car, which often appears in his images, photographing all that he felt was saleable and produce small quantities for resale probably through his shop at 42 South Street in Bridport. He had a wonderful eye for taking superb studies o f the views, often with people in, which was unusual at the time. The fact that they are real photographs and not printed allows us today to enlarge them and almost relive the village as it was between the wars. He appears to have run his business until at least 1952 and a directory for that year shows him still using the 149 Bridport number. His wife, Edith sadly died in 1948 and Claud is shown as passing on in 1954, aged 65 at Kingston On Thames. He left a magnificent legacy in all the many hundreds of photographic postcards that have survived to reveal a long lost era in our village history. I wondered what became of his old shop at 42 South Street and was astonished to find that it is still a photographers after all those years, now called "Pinns Photographic Studio". I was very fortunate that the present owner, Roger Pinn allowed me to make copies of some of the old photographs he had of the shop as it was.The first shows it as a house on the extreme right,where William Brownson, a plumber and decorator lived for many years.It was bought by Claud Hider in 1921 when he would have been aged 33. He was to place a shop front on the left hand side as is seen in the next photograph shortly after he opened.

Robert and Tina Hider, grandchildren of Claud have provided further information about Clauds earlier life.
"Claud was one of eleven children born to Robert Israel Hider. Claud's brother Harry Percival Hider was another photographer.he would have worked with Charles Speight at the iconic 'Speights Corner building in Kettering. In 1911 aged 23 he was in lodgings with another photographer, Henry Augustus White, Claud was shown as a Darkroom Assistant". 
They have also forwarded a newscutting of Claud`s horrific injuries in action during the First World War, which is shown above.


Claud Hider was one of a number of photographers thoughout England who supplemented their livings by producing small quantities of photographic cards of their neighbourhood. During the first three decades of the 20th century there had been a golden age of postcards with many hundreds of millions bought every year and often collected in albums, some of which have survived to this day. Before the telephone, they were used as a way of sending a message, as the postal service was cheap, regular and reliable. Often on the back of a card you would read that someone was inviting a friend for tea the same day and would expect them to receive it in time for them to come. As well as the large firms, such as Tuck, Valentines and Frith, there were smaller firms who would sell real photographic cards. These had a glossy finish, the photograph having been developed directly onto a piece of card with a postcard back. Many village photographers were able to produce their own postcards. It was their local knowledge that allowed them to capture the kind of scenes that are so eagerly sought after today.
This is a real photographic postcard of 1922, full of detail, in contrast to a published card below of the same view.
hider
A printed postcard from H & L (Hider and Lawrence).
george
Claud would take his photos on a large plate camera and paint on the negative its Title and number and take a section of it to fit the 4inches by 6 inches format of a postcard. This can clearly be seen in the markings on the photo above.
Roger Pinn kindly photographed Claud Hider`s original camera, which has come down to him. It was used to take his early classic images of Bridport and the surrounding area from 1922. The camera has a label on the back showing it was made by Marion & Co. who were established in 1867 and were eventually to become the famous firm - Ilford.It would appear from this label that the camera originates from the years 1901-1921.
Hider postcards rarely come up for sale and command a premium due to their popularity and quality as a unique record of a place or event nearly a century ago. He concentrated on the towns and villages around Bridport where he was based and seems to have been especailly fond of Charmouth for which he producred nearly 100 different views. The neighbouring village of Chideock, Morecombelake and Seatown were also very popular.
bridport
He was the most prolific of the photographers in the Bridport area and would produce small quantities, often no more than ten or twenty of each card that would be sold in his shop or other outlets. The location would be handwritten on the negative and thus appear in white on finished card with a reference number. Though only 4 inches by 6 inches, when scanned and enlarged their quality is so good that even at poster size they are very sharp.
He has provided a unique and comprehensive record of Charmouth and the surrounding area almost 100 years ago that we have only now been able to piece together. He had covered most of the village with his camera and there are few areas that he had missed out and even these may still turn up in time.
Background
Claude Robert Hider is something of an enigma to collectors of postcards and lovers of local history as thanks to him we have such a marvellous record of Bridport and the villagers around. He is particularly relevant to Charmouth as he seems to have recorded the village from as early as 1922, sometimes returning to the same building or view after many years. He would often photograph a significant event such as the 1926 Landslip, which closed the Lyme Regis to Charmouth Road for which he produced a series of postcards.
Thanks to the Ancestry website and his grandchildren we now know a little more of his life.
He was born in Gravesend in Kent to Robert and Clara Hider in 1888. His father appears as a professional Photographer in Directories of the time, and no doubt Claud learnt his trade from him. Robert Hider had photographic studios at 22 Banks Town in Sheerness and also 183 Parrock`s Street in Gravesend. His Cartes de Visite, which were the size of visiting cards showing Victorian sitters in his studios from these times come regularly on to the market and we have shown some here.
Gravesend
An early Carte de Visite with Robert Hider in partnership with James Kirkwood at Gravesend
hider photo
A Studio Portrait by Robert Hider
hider
 
hider
These were very popular and by the 1860s every small town had its professional photographers and it has been estimated that up to 400 million cartes de visite were produced each year. Topographical views occasionally come to light, and I am fortunate to own some of Charmouth dating back to 1870 produced by William Barrett of Bridport. They provide some of the earliest images of towns and villages in the area.
This is an example of a Cartes de Visite of Charmouth from 1870 which measures 2 1/2 by 4 inches, compared to the postcard above, size 4 by 6 inches from 1923.
The 1901 Census shows that the family were living in Chatham in Kent, which would have been near the two studios. By 1911, the next Census shows Claud, aged 23 boarding with a photographer in Kettering in Northamptonshire and working as a darkroom assistant. Three years later he marries Edith Wilkin in Kettering.He then served with the Royal Fusiliers in France during the First World War and their first child is born to them in Maidstone in 1916.They then move on to Bridport in 1921, where two further children are born in 1922 and 1925.
Claud Hider
We are fortunate that thanks to this web page on Claud, a grandson – Peter Hider, has contacted us and provided some additional information. He writes “that Claud was from a family of ten siblings and had 2 brothers who were also photographers. His son, Jim (Peter’s father), was a reconnaissance photographer in Mosquitoes in the RAF during World War 2. He personally spent summer holidays collecting holidaymaker’s films, developing & printing during the evening and returning the prints the next day, mostly from Seatown from the Anchor’s kiosk”. He has also kindly scanned a number of photographs of the great photographer and his family which can be seen here.
Claud and his family move and open a photographic studio at 42 South Street, where William Brownson, a plumber and decorator had lived for many years. He was to place a shop front on the left hand side as is seen in the next photograph.
shop
The original shop at 42 South Street, Bridport with a window full of photographic equipment and a dispenser to the right of the door where Kodak Film could be purchased.
shop
The second shows the studio after it had been knocked through to create a double fronted window. Roger believes that this took place in 1936 as when the alterations were made inside the shop a partition wall was knocked down and a newspaper bearing this date was found within the wall.
shop
The third photograph shows the shop in 1953 the year Herbert J Pinn took the studios over from Claud Hider. This was the coronation year of Queen Elizabeth II and a patriotic display can be seen in the window with the banner " God save the Queen". Herbert ran it until the late 1970's and it is continued today by his son- Roger Pinn.
A Photograph of Claud`s former Shop in Bridport with his grandson, Peter James Hider taken in 1989
A photograph taken in the 1970`s showing Herbert Pinn`s Camera shop to the right.
Pinns Photographic Studios which occupies the same premises as Claude Hider at 42 South Street, Bridport today
This label on the back of an old picture reveals that Claud also provided frames for the photographs that he took.
Claud photographing Charmouth fisherman. Tom Hunter by a Beach Hut next to the Heritage Centre c.1923
Claud Hider with his grandson Robert Graham
Claud Hider
Claud Hider`s daughter in law - Phylis at his Studio in South Street.
Claud Hider`s son - Jim (James) Hider
Claud Hider with David Hounsell (wife`s father)
Claud Hider`s daughter in law- Phylis
Claud Hider with members of his family. Photograph taken by his son Jim (James)
Claud Hider is seen here in the middle of the back row and his son, James Hider is in the middle of the bottom row
A photograph taken in 1945 with James Hider, last on the bottom row, who was a reconnaissance photographer in Mosquitoes in the RAF during World War 2.
james hider postcard
A Postcard from 1950 of West Bay by James R. Hider, son of Claud, showing West Bay.
Graham & Peter Hider - Claud`s Grandsons on West Beach in 1950
This photograph brings the family up to date with a recent photograph of the wedding of Geraldine Hider with her brothers and sister, all grandchildren of Claud Hider.
A Selection of Postcards produced by Claud Hider in the Bridport Area
Although the talk concentates on Claud Hiders output of Charmouth Postcards he also covered most of the Villages around Bridport and we will give a taster of how some of these places looked in the 1920`s in the following examples. If you wish to see the full selection of over photos, please visit my website - freshford.com.
Axminster - Hunters Lodge is seen on the right of the photograph with workmen erecting a new sign. In the centre stands an Automobile Association Patrol Man near his Sentry Box ready to assist motorists.
Beaminster - Fleet Street
Bexington -Pool
Bothenhampton
Bridport - Allington
burton bradstock
Burton Bradstock
Burton Bradstock - same view with cyclists
Chideock
eype
Eype
Lyme Regis
Morcombelake
netherbury
Netherbury
powerstock
Powerstock
Puncknell
Seatown
Shipton Gorge
morcombelake
Stanton St. Gabriels. Morcombelake
stoke abbot
Stoke Abbott
swyre
Swyre
Symondsbury
Toller - Railway Station
West Bay
Wootton Fitzpaine