Henry Charles Brain was born in Lewisham, London in c.1873 to parents Henry and Anne. By 1881 the family was living in Forster Road, Bevois Town, after which they moved to a large house called Berrywood on Cobbett Road, Bitterne Park. As a young man Henry Brain worked as a bricklayer for the building firm run by his father and brothers, George and Albert. In his spare time, however, he was a keen photographer and produced a series of commercially published postcards featuring views of Southampton.

Brain photographs and postcards are very rare, but fortuitously two albums of his photographs came to the attention of local historians in 1999. They had been salvaged from Brain’s house in Steuart Road, Bitterne Park when it was demolished by a landmine in 1941. The photographs were undated but seemingly taken between 1890 and 1910, and most were previously unpublished. Many of them are featured in the Bitterne Local History Society publication Henry Brain: A Victorian and Edwardian Photographer.

Brain died in 1950 and was buried in Bitterne churchyard.

Henry Charles Brain

Image Unavailable

Photograph, c.1905

Newspaper clippings (available at the Local Studies Library):

"Henry Brain … " (Southern Daily Echo 02/11/2001)
Describes some of Brain's photographs, including those of the Common, and of soldiers stationed there in the First World War, Northam Bridge, trams, railway pictures and the Floating Bridge. Discusses the lost pictures.

"Building a legacy" (The Daily Echo 02/02/2002)
Article including images of Maple Road, the Common and Shirley Road.

Further reading:

Henry Brain: A Victorian and Edwardian Photographer, by Jim Brown. (HS/d)


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