Sidmouth residents help in PHD student's Arthur quest

PUBLISHED: 16:18 07 August 2009 | UPDATED: 09:52 18 June 2010

SIDMOUTH residents have come up trumps for an academic seeking to shed light shed light on the history of the man who brought film to the town a century ago.

SIDMOUTH residents have come up trumps for an academic seeking to shed light

shed light on the history of the man who "brought film to the town" a century ago.

The Herald reported last month how Exeter University PHD student Rosalind Leveridge has spent hours in the town's museum and library researching the arrival of film in Sidmouth as part of a three-year project, with a particular interest in Arhur Ellis who had a photographic studio here from 1899.

Since then the Herald has been inundated with interest in her bid, with residents uncovering a host of old Ellis photographs.

Newlands Road resident Niel Dowding, 62, was snapped as a tot by Mr Ellis in 1947. Neil's family photo album boasts a series of photographs of his mother and brother taken by Ellis. Elis' wife and her pet dog also feature in several photos.

Neil said: "We knew him as 'Affie' Ellis. My grandmother was their contact person in the town when they went off travelling. She said he was an exceptionally nice man."

Andrew Davey, who lives in Oxford but has strong ties in Sidmouth, has a treasure trove of photographs of family members taken by Ellis, including one of his grandmother Lucy Davy (pictured).

Andrew's grandparents ran a fishmongers shop, H T Davy & Sons, in Sidmouth for years. The shop is now the Silver King Chinese takeaway is now.

He said: "The article in last week's Herald features Derek Marchant - his father Jack and my grandmother Lucy were brother and sister. There were 15 brothers and sisters in total. Two are still living - Cecil Marchant who lives in Brewery Lane in Sidmouth, and Gladys Pope who lives in Exeter."

Surrey pensioner Douglas Weybridge left Sidmouth in the 1940's but contacted the newsdesk after reading about the story on the Herald's website.

Ellis took his mother and father's wedding photo in the town.


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