Claud Hider - Photographer of Charmouth
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Click on Towns and Villages below to see a selection of views taken by Claud Hider c.1925
Axminster(2) Eype(6) Seatown(6) West Bay(17)
Beaminster(2) Lyme Regis(3) Shipton Gorge(2) West Coker(1)
Bexington(7) Mapperton(1) Stanton St. Gabriels(3) Wootton Fitzpaine(1)
Bothenhampton(5) Morcombelake(4) Stoke Abbott(1) Hardington(1)
Bridport(14) Netherbury(3) Swyre(3)  
Burton Bradstock(17) Powerstock(2) Symondsbury(1)  
Chideock(20) Punknoll(3) Toller(1)  
The life and work of Claud R. Hider (1889-1954)
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.
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 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 of 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.

Claud & Hider
Prior to moving to 42 South Street, Claud lived at 28Mill Street, Bridport from 1922 until 1923, when according to the Electoral Roll for Bridport he lived on his own with John Orchard at 28 South Mill lane.. It would seem that during this brief time he produced his earliest postcards which had a prefix of h & l and then a number for the specific card. These are very rare and have only found a few so far of what are often fine views for that year. He sometimes re-used the image and changed it from h & l to Hider. It was turning over a photo that at last I was able to find out more about where he was based before moving to South Street. From 28 South Mill Lane who moved to 35 South Street with his wife Edith and then in 1927 finally took o n his premises at 42 South Street where he was to remain until 1953. I think I have finally located who the L for Lawrence is. He is probably Henry Lawrence who was a photographer and produced postcards from his address at Richmond House, East Street in Crewkerne from 1919 until 1927.
A Postcard produced by Henry Lawrence of Crewkerne with a distictive stamp similar to that of Hider and Lawrence.
 
The premises on the right - Richmond House,No 10 east Street ,is where Henry Lawrence ran his Photographic Studio from in Crewkerne.
A Composite Postcard of Charmouth with 1922 images from the h & l series of views.
The earliest Postcard so far found by Claud Hider, with its date stamp 7th September 1922.It is a real photo no.19 A from the scarce H &L (Hider & Lawrence) series. The view is looking from Cains Folly showing the fields south of The Street. The tall building at the top is Sea Horse House in Higher Sea Lane, which was the first house built there in 1800.
 
The building on the extreme right was purchased by Claud Hider in 1922 and a shop front was placed on the left hand side.
shop

The shop shortly after it was opened 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 is being run today by his son Roger Pinn.
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 in 2015
The shop today has had its fascia removed revealing Herbert Pinns former sign. Sadly the shop is no longer a Photographers.
A label from the back of one of Claud Hider`s framed photographs
I have included some of the many images of postcards that Clude Hider published of Charmouth. I am also building up a number of pages on neighbouring towns and villages that he also photographed. Just click on the following headings to see those I have at present. If you can add to the number, please email me at: neil@freshford.com with any you may have to assist in the understanding of this important record of the Bridport area between the wars.

From the Bridport Times : January 29th 1954
Death of former Bridport Photographer - The late C.R.Hider
Well known in Bridport for 32 years until his retirement last February, Mr Claud Robert Hider died in Kingston - on - Thames Hospital, Surrey, on Sunday. He had been ill for a considerable time, and underwent two operations, the first at Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester, and the second at Kingston only three weeks ago. A native of Sittingbourne, Kent, Mr. Hider served with the Royal Fusiliers in France during the First World War. Later he went to Harrogate to learn the photography business before setting up on his own account in South Street, Bridport in 1921. When he retired in February of last year Mr Hider visited friends in all parts of the country.
Mr Hider, who lost his wife in January, 1948, leaves two sons, Mr James Hider and Mr Geoffrey Hider, who is employed by the Port of Bristol Authority. Both were educated at Beaminster Grammar School in the 1930's. Cremation is at Kingston on Thames today - Friday. 

I am fortunate that thanks to this web page on Claud, a grandson – Peter Hider, has contacted me and provided some additional information. He writes “that Claud 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”.
If there is any more information you can add to our knowledge of Claude Hider, please email me at: neil@freshford.com
hider photo
One of the many "Carte de Visites" that have survived that were produced by Robert Hider from his Gravesend and Sheerness premises at the end of the 19th century.On the back of the photograph is information about the firm as can be seen below.
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The obverse of one of Robert`s Photo cards.
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Another photograph of couple posed in Robert Hider`s Gravesend Studio.
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Robert Hider, father of Claude Hider is shown here as having Photographic Studios both in Sheerness and Gravesend in Kent.
The entry that appears in the 1932 Kelly`s Directory for Bridport for Hiders
We are very fortunate today in that Claud`s grandson - Peter Hider has kindly allowed the photographs below to be seen of the great photographer and his family.
Claud Hider
Claud Hider
Claud Hider with his grandson Robert Graham
Claud Hider
Claud Hider with David Hounsell (wife`s father)
Claud Hider`s daughter - Phylis
Claud Hider`s daughter - Phylis at his Studio in South Street.
Claud Hider`s son - Jim (James) Hider
Graham & Peter Hider- Claud`s Grandsons on West Beach in 1950
Claud Hider with members of his family. Photograph taken by his son Jim (James)
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.
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
The back of one his postcards showing his adress and phone number. On the front he would scratch the title and his number. There are at least 50 postcards that I have located of Charmouth so far by him and show some of them below:
The entrance to Charmouth Tunnel, showing clearly Claud Hider`s Model T Ford Car which he drove around the countryside in.


The junction of the Axminster Road, Street, Old Lyme Hill and Old Lyme Road. The sign is informing people not to use the coastal road as in 1926 it disappeared after a Landslip between Charmouth and Lyme Regis. The pretty thatched building house was to disappear to make way for a car park for the new commercial Inn directly opposite covered in ivy. This has since closed and been converted into housing.
The same view today
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The New Commercial Inn covered in Ivy, long since closed and divided into accomodation.
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The view today
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The view today
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This is an interesting Postcard as it shows Hider using one of his images (shown above) to be printed as an H & L(Hider & Lawrence) postcard.The cards shows a view of the top of The Street with the Claremont House on the left adjoining Foxley Farm House, now Badgers. In the distance is The Well Head, where Reginald Pavey, the famous historian lived.
The same view today
hider
A superb animated candid postcard by H & L (Hider & Lawrence) showing the shops on the opposite side of the Street, which included Longs Grocers, Childs Hardware Shop and Hutchins Shoe Shop.
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The View today
An H & L (Hider and Lawrence) photographic postcard looking down The Street with Miss Tarr`s Stationers Shop on the left.
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The same negative has been used here to produce a cheaper printed copy of the same view by H & L. (Hider & Lawrence)
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The view today
A view looking down the Street with The Royal Oak and war memorial on the right
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The same view today
A view looking down the Street with The Royal Oak and war memorial on the right
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The War Memorial erected after the First World War as shown in the Postcard by Hider & Lawrence (H&L).
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The same view today
The long building filling up the view is The Court , which is directly opposite the War Memorial.
The same view today
royal oak
The first image of The Royal Oak Inn is from the original negative. the picture below is of the postcard that Claud Hider produced from this, with a reduced border.
An H & L postcard of the Old Post Office with the former Lloyds Bank on the left.
The same view today
 
The view today
church
Interior of Charmouth Church
A photograph by Hider of the Chalice, dated 1575 which was later sold and replaced.
The Backlands Dairy with Nos. 1-3 Hillside to the left of the passageway.
The same view today
hider
The Coach and Horses on the right which was Charmouth main Hotel for many centuries. Gears Garage was based in their stables briefly in the 1920`s
The same view today
Billy Gear in one of his vehicles which he hired out from the former stables of the Coach and Horses. The young children are seen standing outside Marsh`s Butchers.
Another view with vehicles awaiting to be driven away.
Another view, this time vertical, probably taken on the same day by Claud Hider
The same view today
Another view of the 3 ivyclad buildings making up Hillside with Backlands Dairy in the distance.
The same view today
Charmouth Stores has been on this site since 1816 when it was a Post Office run by Josiah Bradbeer, alonside it can be seen the sign for the The Star Inn. OIpposite is a Modet T Ford Van, probaly owned by Dampiers who ran the shop from 1918.
The same view today
hider
A View showing the Limes that lained the property that is now Charmouth Lodge. on the other side of Barrs Lane was a piece of ground that was not developed as the present parade of shops that were built after Harry Pryer, the owner died in 1926. The narrow entrance of Lower Sea Lane can be seen by Gears Car Park sign.
The view today
It is difficult to take the same view today as since thies was taken in 1923 a number of shops have been built on either side of The Street. The tall building is Sunnyside (DevonsEdge) built by Frank Cole after a disaitrous fire in 1894. It faced on to Harry Pryers Stone masons Yard which occupoes Pear Tree Close. The figurehead is from a ship that was wrecked off Charmouth Beach and stood there for many years.
The same view today
The building on the left - Sunny side", now known as "Devons Edge" was run as a Bakers and tea room by the Cole Family with a Hotel on the upper floors. At this time the village had 2 Garges facing each other. Billy Gears Garage was to survive for many years and its offices are now part of the Fish and Chips shop.
The same view today
The famous Queens Armes was the building where Charles II stayed for one night in 1651 before trying to escape to France. But it had to be bandoned and he went on to Bridport and finally boared a boat at Shoreham.
The rear of The Queens Armes
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A Postcard of the newly discovered doorway which shows the initials of Thomas Chard, who was the Abbott of Forde Abbey who owned the village until 1539
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A postcard of the plaque that was found in the Queens Armes( Abbott`s House)
Cl
The same view today
george
A print taken from original negative, still kept by Roger Pinn of the bottom of the Street taken in the 1920`s. The negative would have been larger, and Claude has drawn the lines for the outline of the postcard. The title and his distinctive number were drawn on by hand.
Billy Gear and his workmen outside his first Garage which used the stabling of the George Inn which is behind them in this picture.
The same view today
bridge
A real photo postcard of the County Bridge as it enters The Street in Cjharmouth by H&L ( Hider & Lawrence)
bridge
The same image, but this time produced as a printed postcard by H &L( Hider & Lawrence)
The sign that can still be seen on the Bridge at Charmouth, although the original is now kept in the Pavey Room at the Elms.
A wagon passes the Old Toll House whose Ivy clad front can be seen on the left side.
The view today
A close up of Lower Sea lane. clearly showing Pear Close, then owned by Harry Pryer, who ran a Stone Masons Yard from it. after his death in 1926 it was developed into the shops we know today.
The old Village School, which was rebuilt at the bottom of Lower Sea Lane in recent years. Here you can see the children in the small playgound. The builing at the junction of The Street with a stone cross on it is Pryers Stone Masons Yard. At that time, the entrance to the lane was very narrow, and in 1958 a house was demolished to widen it.
The same view today
A view of "Tin Town" which was a row of shacks at the bottom of Lower Sea Lane.
Thalatta is the bungalow on the left which was built in 1923 for Grace Icombe. The houses in the distance are some of the earliest constructed in Higher Sea Lane.
The County Bridge, Charmouth
 
Newlands Corner, now the site of Newlands Caravan Site
The Village Playing Field with a game of Cricket
A View of the Playing Field used in The Charmouth Official Guide
The view of the rear of the Council Houses at the top of Higher Sea Lane
A view from Cairns Folly looking towards Lyme Regis
A view across 5 Acres field towards Sea Horse House, which is the large white building in the centre in Higher Sea Lane.
The River Char with a view looking towards Higher Sea Lane, with Hammonds Mead Hotel in the centre, pre 1923, as Thalatta was built in that year and is not shown
hider
The first of a panoramic set of four postcards produced by Claud Hider showing a prospect of Charmouth in 1923.
 
A photographic postcard by Hider & Lawrence pre 1922. In the centre can be seen a small builing that was the Battery used to store the ammunition by the Coastguards stationed on the beach by the Look Out, still standing today. In 1923 the Battery was demolished and on the site is the access to Thalattas drive which was buiklt in that year.
A similar view, but this time with Thalatta, shortly after it had been built in 1923.
A view of Lower Sea Lane
The companion to the above view
A view towards Golden Cap with a few of the houses that were built along Higher Sea Lane.
The Old Mill Weir, Charmouth
A View looking over the village towards Golden Cap. On the right can be seen the rear of Cranford House, built in 1903.
A view from Cains Folly looking down on Charmouth prior to 1926, when Pear Close was developed.
Catherstone Manor, at that time owned by the Bullen Family.
A postcard from H&L (Hider & Lawrence) showing one of the many bridges that were built across the River Char. Notice the line of shacks ,known as "Tin Town" by the locals along Lower Sea Lane, which have now gone.
Boy Scouts by the Bridge in 1930
An H & L postcard showing one of the many groups of Scots that would come to Charmouth in the summer.behind them are the beach tents operated by the Hunter family.On the horizon is smoke coing from the villages rubbish tip near the Old Lyme Road.
A line of beach huts can be seen along the Foreshore by the Old Cement Works.
A view of the coast looking towards Lyme Regis by H & L (Hider & Lawrence)
A view towards Lyme Regis from Stonebarrow
A view of the coast looking towards Lyme Regis by Hider
A Hider postcard of a busy day in the summer on Charmouth Beach.Notice the Beach Tents and fishing boats alonf the shore.
An H & L postcard of the same view without the description
An H & L postcard looking towards Golden Cap of Charmouth Beach.
Golden Cap from Charmouth Beach by Hider
A View from Stonebarrow looking towards Charmouth
The Beach looking East

A view towards Stonebarrow showing the numerous scouts tents

A view over Charmouth from Cain`s Folly
A view over Charmouth from Cain`s Folly
landslip1
Landfall in 1926
Landfall in 1926
landfall
Landfall in 1926
Landfall in 1926
Landfall in 1926
Landfall in 1926
Landfall in 1926
Landfall in 1926
The above series of postcards were produced by Claud Hider as an important record of the disappearance of the road linking Charmouth with Lyme Regis after a major Landslip in 1926.
No. 3 (Charmouth) Platoon, A Company 1st Battalion Dorset Home Guard - 20th August 1944. Photo by C.R.Hider
army
 
A total of seven Home Guard Battalions were raised in Dorset, principally covering the more populous and threatened coastal area of the County. The 1st Dorset (Bridport) Battalion was commanded by Lt. Col. Sir WP Colfox Bt MC.
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A Wedding Photograph from Claude Hider. c.1950
james hider postcard
A Postcard from 1950 of West Bay by James R. Hider, son of Claud, showing West Bay.
Photograph of West Bay by James Robert Hider, c,1950 Photograph of West Bay by Peter James Hider 1989
 
A Photograph of Claud`s former Shop in Bridport with his grandson, Peter James Hider taken in 1989  
Claud Hider`s Camera used to take his early classic images of Bridport and the surrounding area c.1922 (photo1).
Claud Hider`s Camera used to take his early classic images of Bridport and the surrounding area c.1922 (photo2)
Claud Hider`s Camera used to take his early classic images of Bridport and the surrounding area c.1922 (photo3). Marion & Co. was established in 1867. The website eralyphotography.co.uk has a wealth of information on the firm and its cameras. It would appear from this label that the camera originates from the years 1901-1921. The firm was eventually to become Ilford Ltd.
 
 
 
 
The following images are from "The Bridport Rural District Official Guide" for 1953. It contains a wealth of information on the area around Bridport and is especially detailed about Charmouth, with a number of adverts pertaining to the village. The photographer, Claud Hider of Bridport who had produced some of the finest postcards of Charmouth from 1922 was used to illustrate the booklet and must of been one of his last jobs as he was to die in the same year.
The Street in 1953, showing Thompsons, a General draper and Outfitter on the corner where the Post Office is today
The Street in 1953, showing Gear Garage on the right. The building on the corner of Lower sea Lane was Bragg`s General Store, where the Pharmacy is today.
A Meet outside the Coach and Horses, which has long since closed and is now appartments.
The Village Recreation Ground at the rear of The Street in 1953
A Montage of 6 views of Charmouth c.1923 produced by Claud Hider.
I hope in time to provide information and images from other publishers of Charmouth Postcards. Initally they are Hansford and Potts- click below:
Hansford Potts
Claud Hider produced a concertina style series of Charmouth mini views with a cover as above.