The Drawing Room at
Bedwell Park H.561
The Old Rectory, Essendon
family tree on Ancestry shows that Leonard Dunckley was born in
Bethnal Green, London on 10 March 1882, the son of William
Dunclkey (1843-??, bricklayer) and Sarah Stradling (1850-1889).
In 1901 he was an assistant drug sundriesman living with, and
working for, his brother-in-law, Henry Walker, (druggist
sundriesman) in Islington. He married Rose Ellen Draper
(1878-1970) at Chrischurch, Norwood, Lambeth on 24 April 1907
ands described himself as sub-postmaster of Sunset Cottage,
Essendon. Their first child, Marjorie Rose Sarah Dunckley was
born at Hatfield, Hertfordshire on 7 August 1909. A son Leonard
Samuel Seymour Dunckley was born at Essendon on 11 February 1911
and the census shows him to be a sub postmaster at the village
post office at Essendon, Hatfield. Further children were born at
Essendon in 1913, 1915 and 1918. Leonard died on 31 December
1953 at Essendon Villas, Essendon, his wife surviving him and
dying in Hatfield in 1970.
In 1914 Leonard Dunckley was described as the
sub-postmaster at Essendon. Letters were received from Hatfield
at 8 am & 4.30 pm; dispatched at 9.25 & 11.40am & 6.40 pm to
Hatfield. Sundays, arrive at 8.25 am; dispatched at 9.20 am.
There was also a letter box at Bedwell Park. Between 1922 and
1937 the Hertfordshire trade directory lists him as a stationer
& post office.
Most village post offices sold post cards (and other
stationery) but the majority were printed cards (often coloured)
with their name added to the back - as the examples below - and it
is often unclear who the actual photographer was. However the four
cards shown above are real photographs with "Dunckley, Essendon"
written on the negative - suggesting that Leonard was the
photographer. As he had previously worked as an assistant drug
sundriesman he would almost certainly
been involved in selling photographic materials to chemists shops
and this strengthens the
case for him being a competent amateur photographer who produced the
real photographic cards he sold in his post office.