Payne Jennings Company

I’ve just purchased five GWR photograph panels featuring standard double black & white photographs in each panel of views in their territory. They were still in their original GWR frames. They would date c1905 based on examples I already have here. They are in their usual grey mounts with white margins with black location titles on the mounts. Considering they are about 117 years old, they are in very good shape!

Up until now I have always believed all these early black and white photographs were solely produced by the Photochrom Company for the GWR, during and after Photochrom were producing the beautiful colour-tinted photos for the GWR and other companies from 1895. I have four complete GWR company issued files “Views of the GWR” with all the hundreds of Photochrom 8 x 6 inch black and white images with dates issued between 1905-23 – a fascinating archive to research when I have the time!

Two of the purchased panels (4 views) were shown in my Photochrom file but, to my surprise, the other three panels contained views produced by the photographic company, Payne Jennings. How do I know? Simple -= they have “Permanent Photographs by PAYNE JENNINGS – Photo Works, Ashtead, Surrey” printed centrally on the mount, under the titles!

Titles of these are… “ROSS ON THE WYE” & “THE GREAT DOWARD – SYMOND’S YAT”, “ROCKS AT NEWQUAY” & “THE DEVIL’S CHIMNEY, NEAR CHELTENHAM” and  “FISHING BOATS, ILFRACOMBE” & “THE BAY, ILFRACOMBE”

Payne Jennings were one of the early leading publishers of photograph views for the railways and particularly for the Great Eastern Railway who used the photos in their carriages and stations and in their guide books, too. The person behind the company was an expert photographer, John Payne Jennings…

John Payne Jennings, 1 April 1843 – 25 March 1926
Professional free-lance photographer, Photographic Publisher; Member of the Royal Photographic Society – RPS from 1878 to at least 1887. John lived at Gayton House, Park Road, Ashtead, Surrey from 1890 and previously: 1877 Dublin; 1878 & 1879 6, Rosendale Road, West Dulwich; 1882 Elm Grove, Rosendale Road, West Dulwich; 1887 10, Champion Grove, Denmark Hill, S.E.

He was an excellent photographer and a photographic pioneer and entrepreneur capturing particularly the pictorial attractions of East Anglia. The greater part of his work was done in the district of the Norfolk Broads, and he published two collections of reproductions, one entitled “Photo Pictures in East Anglia” and the other “Sun Pictures of the Norfolk Broads.” The latter, (in which he gives his address as ‘The Studio, Ashtead, Surrey’) was reprinted at least 3 times, and was first published about 1890. It contains 99 excellent photographs, any of which could be mistaken for a painting. Another example is “Summer Holidays in North East England” for the North Eastern Railway Company. This book contains over 140 of his photographs. He also performed commissions for the London Brighton and South Coast Railway amongst others. He also produced photographs to accompany the works of famous poets such as The Works of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1889). John became a considerable owner of property and land, including the entire Greville Park Estate. His property Gayton House at the southern end of Greville Park Avenue, a large Edwardian mansion, still stands today, though now split into three residential units. He died in 1926.

Hope this information is helpful to any GWR & GER aficionados!

Kind regards,
Greg