"Harwood & Co" & the Brighton View Co

There is a detailed genealogy and history on the Sussex Postcard Web site relating to Francis Gerald Harwood stationer and postcard publisher, of Brighton and the key sections are as follows:


Kelly's 1905 Sussex Directory lists Harwood & Co., wholesale stationers, at 100 Centurion Road in Brighton. Centurion Road is just down the hill from Buckingham Road. The 1909 Electoral Register confirms that the business, described as a "shop", belonged to Francis Harwood, and states that he lived with his parents at 57 Buckingham Road. By 1911 the business may have closed. The census of that year describes him as a "stationer (traveller)".

Around 1906 Harwood appears to have founded or co-founded the Brighton View Co., which in its early years probably operated from the Centurion Road premises. Later, however, it was based at 3a Clarence Street only a short walk south from Buckingham Road.

While at Centurion Road, Harwood published some high quality halftone coloured cards of Brighton, which he called the "Centurion Series". These were on sale by summer 1908 and were printed in Britain by an unnamed supplier. The cards are easily recognised because the pictures are impressed and have unusually wide margins. The captions are printed in red. Davidson Bros. of East London produced similarly impressed but monochrome cards of Brighton in their Arcadia Series, and they may well have printed the Centurion cards for Harwood.

Another publishing venture was a set of 6 colour-printed comic cards entitled "Pa's holiday in Brighton", which were printed in Saxony for the London View Co., apparently using chromo-lithography. The cards are labelled on the back "The London View Co. Ltd." or more commonly "Printed by the London View Co. Ltd. for F. G. Harwood & Co., Brighton  ... ... No postmarks have been found on the Harwood comic cards, but the London View Co. was in existence from only 1905 to 1908. In addition to the Harwood cards the London firm produced at least two other comic cards showing "Pa" holidaying at Hastings, no doubt intended, as at Brighton, for distribution by a local retailer.

... ... ...

Francis did not inherit his father's longevity. He died of cancer in the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton on November 16, 1927, aged only 49. ... ... Shortly after Harwood's death, the Brighton View Company ceased trading, presumably because Harwood's partner, Alfred Thomas Foster, decided it was not worth continuing.



There is also a detailed history of the Brighton View Company



The above suggest that Francis Harwood, the artist "F S," The Brighton View Co, and the London View Co were all linked together in Brighton in about 1906.


QUESTION - "How many other "View Co" existed in England in 1906?

A search for topographical postcards published by a "View Co" and currently being sold on Ebay (title only) produced the following result:


Brighton View Co - Patcham Camp (2), Seaford (1), Southbourne (1)


Bournemouth View Co - Dorchester (1), Poole (1), Romsey (1), Group photo (1)


London View Company  - Boston, Lincolnshire (1), Brighton (2), Crawley (1), Croydon (1), Eastbourne (1), Hastings (9), Leamington (2), Leatherhead (1), London (1), Marlow (1), Margate (2), Ramsgate (2), St Margarets, Sussex (1), Sussex Coast (1), Watford (1), Winchelsea (1)


Surrey View Co - Croydon (2), Redhill (1)

All the cards above appear to be pre-WW1. Further searched (completed sales, title & description) failed to reveal any further "View Co." Most of the London View Co (Ltd) cards were south of London - Watford is known to have links with a Watford photographer and Leamington may be in the same position.


Many of the card lacked precise date information, but apart from the London View Co and the Brighton View Co there was no evidence that any of the others were operating as early as 1905-7.


It therefore seems likely that the London View Co (cards known from 1905) and the Brighton View Co  (cards known from 1906) were the first "View Co" to start anywhere in England - and the other two at Bournmouth and in Surrey might well be satellite companies.


QUESTION: Check Dates on Google


Bournemouth View Co - many postcard images online - earliest pictures seem to be from 1911


Surrey View Co - card images online - very few dated - earliest noted 1915


Brighton, The Aquarium - 25 April 1908


Brighton, Palace Pier


Brighton, View from West Pier

Brighton, A Rough Sea


Old Steine Gardens and Fountain


Brighton Beach

Very similar glazed cards were published by Bernard Watkins (who also had contact with the London View Co.) so may have had similar origins, although these were printed in Britain, while the Watkins cards were printed in Germany.

F G Harwood & Co., Brighton

College Road, Brighton

F G Harwood & Co., Brighton

30 August,  1907

Brighton View Company

For more examples see the Brighton page.

Blackpool cards published by "B V C" are probably by a Blackpool View Company

Brunswick Place, Hove Brighton View Company

3b Church Street, Brighton

Not posted

Kings Road, Brighton BVC

July 1910