Edward Sweetland, photographer

Stop number YELLOW 5: Now walk down the grassy slope behind T White's headstone and at the marker for section A stop and read the story below. The private grave of Edward Sweetland is near here but there is no headstone to mark the exact spot.
Sweetland plot
Sweetland plot
Read the story below and when you are ready to move on click on the dot/circle for A Bliss.

Sweetland ad Sweetland's shop
Sweetland ad Sweetland's shop (SWOP RHW01418)
Edward Sweetland 1867- 1932

I am Edward Sweetland and I became a photographer after a brief career in teaching. I was influenced by the work of Josiah Pring Starling who also had a photographic studio in Wycombe, but after a brief business partnership I decided to go it alone.

I married Annie Mary Loosley, or Nina as we call her, in 1902. She was a widow who had returned to her Bucks roots from Australia. And, as her name suggests, she was the daughter of William Robert Loosley, part of the well known Wycombe partnership of Hull, Loosley and Pearce. So I gained a wife and a step-daughter and soon we had our son.

I like to think that I was good at what I did and, as a result, my business grew and grew. I’d lived in various Wycombe locations before my marriage but now I wanted to have a permanent base. In 1904 I purchased the White House and my studio was, from then on, in the High Street. This is where my mother, myself, Nina and our children all lived together, my father passing away in 1912.

My father had been a soldier in the army for over twenty years. I think this is what made me realise the value of portrait photography, it provided a truly personal memento to give to a loved one when you were apart. And during the war there was a great deal of separation between those who were serving King and Country and those who were left behind. I was kept very busy and my name spread far and wide for when a soldier took his sweetheart’s likeness with him to the Front my business address was on the back! I had proof of just how far my name had travelled when a soldier sent a photograph of a Wycombe lass to the South Bucks Free press saying that he had found it on the battlefield and wished to return it to its owner. He knew that she must come from Wycombe because it had Sweetland written on the back.

When these men come into my studio to have their photograph taken I often wonder if I’ll ever see them again. I recognise some of their names later in the casualty lists and I remember them being so young, so proud, so full of life. But I’m a staunch Baptist and a strong believer in the Almighty and that everything he does is done for a reason.

In the 1920s my family will move to 5, Rectory Avenue but my studio will remain at the White House, with my son Clarence following in my footsteps. I am grateful for a world that is now at peace after the horrors of the 1914-18 war. Fortunately I will not live to see the turmoil of a second one.

(I am buried in Wycombe Cemetery but there is no headstone.)

Edward Sweetland, researched by Sally Scagell and performed by Robin Scagell
Edward Sweetland, researched by Sally Scagell and performed by Robin Scagell

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