George Chapman was born in St Leonards-on-Sea in 1880, the son of Catherine Lacey and Walter Chapman, a milkman of Gensing Road, Hastings.
George began his working life as a railway porter, but at the time of the 1901 census he was recorded as a prisoner in H. M. Prison, Lewes. On the census return, he is described as a married man of twenty-one. There is a record that George Chapman had married in Hastings in 1900, but this, his first marriage, didn’t last very long.
Around 1909, George set up home with a twenty-three year old woman from Guestling, named Edith (Morris?) and the couple had a daughter, Georgina May Chapman, born in Northiam, Sussex in 1910.
When the census was taken on 2nd April 1911, George Chapman, his wife Edith and their one year old daughter were living at Portland Cottage, Portland Place, Hastings. On the census return, thirty-one year old George Chapman is described as a “Journeyman Photographer“. A second child, a son named Victor George Chapman, was born in the Hastings district during the 2nd Quarter of 1911.
Around 1913, George Chapman took over a photographic studio at 63 Station Road, Bexhill, previously occupied by Percy Henry Hilson (born 1883, Dalston, London). The 1913 edition of Kelly’s Directory of Sussex records George Chapman as a photographer at 63 Station Road, Bexhill.
Early in May 1916, George Chapman was involved in an altercation with two photographers named H. J. Cherrington and Arthur Nash. Chapman took the two men to court accusing them of assault. George alleged that Arthur Nash, a former employee of Chapman’s, had struck him across the face with a stick. Cherrington and Nash made the counter accusation that Chapman had assaulted them. The evidence was considered by the magistrates as being “very contradictory” so the case was dismissed and all three photographers had to pay their own costs.
George Chapman was recorded as a professional photographer, at 63, Station Road, Bexhill, in the local trade directories, published between 1911 and 1918. The 1922 edition of Kelly’s Directory of Sussex lists Mrs Edith Chapman (George Chapman’s wife) as a ‘Photographer‘ at 63 Station Road, Bexhill.
By the early 1930s, George and Edith Chapman were based at 95, London Road, Bexhill. It appears that the couple worked together dealing in furniture and producing photographic cards. Mrs E. Chapman, George’s wife, is listed as a “Photographer” at 95, London Road, Bexhill in the Trades Section of Kelly’s Directory of Sussex published in 1938.
George Chapman died in Bexhill-on-Sea during the 4th Quarter of 1954, aged 74.