The George Woods Collection of photographs held by East Sussex Libraries is a fantastic thing – and you can see it for yourself on Flickr.
Many of the photos are very posed – with men dressed in oilies on what are clearly dry, fair-weather days and girls in summer frocks – but they do present an interesting perspective on the gear that was in use. And some of the photos are clearly not posed at all…
George Woods was born the son of a draper in St. Albans, Hertfordshire in 1852, but after his father died became a successful stock market investor – which provided him with time to work on his photography.
During the late 1880s and early 1890s photographed Hastings beach and in the local countryside. He left the photos to his daughter Ethel, who donated most of his prints to Hastings Museum in the early 1960s shortly before she passed away. Woods’ glass plate negatives were acquired by local solicitor and historian, John E Ray, and were acquired by Hastings Library following Mr Ray’s death.