Fowlers Troop & the Deptford Jack in the Green

The Deptford Jack in the Green goes out in South East London, and sometimes the City, every May Day.

Thankfull Sturdee

Thankfull Sturdee took the photographs of the original Fowlers Troop and the Deptford Jack in the Green. He was born in 1852 at 209 Evelyn Street; his father was a tailor, then a stationer.  The family had a long connection with Deptford.  Thankfull Sturdee married Catherine Sarah Bland in 1883 when he was living at 27 Albyn Road, St. John's, London SE8. The 1901 Census noted: Thankfull Sturdee, age 48, born in Deptford, civil parish Deptford, occupation photographer.  

In 1903 they were living at 16 Bolden Street, not far from Albyn Road, but by 1910 they had moved to Brockley, London SE4. They lived first at 157 Malpas Road, then from 1912 at 151 Manor Road, renumbered in 1917 to 26 Geoffrey Road, until his death in 1934. There is a commemorative plaque at the Bolden Street house; this is a Lewisham maroon plaque.

In 1911 he joined the Daily Mirror as a press photographer until he retired in 1923, although he continued going in to the office. Outside work, he was interested in Deptford's history and took photos and did research some of which he published in his book Reminiscences of old Deptford in 1895.  He sold his negatives and two series of prints with his own notes to the Deptford Borough Library, now part of Lewisham Library, in 1928. The collection includes his picture An old May Day custom - Jack in the Green and other Deptford pictures including A prize bull at the Foreign Cattle Market, Deptford 1895.  Lewisham have now put some of the pictures online, see Lewisham Borough photos.  

You can see materials relating to Thankfull Sturdee, including prints of his photos, at the Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre.

Contact us: S.J.Crofts(@)googlemail.com

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Page updated: 21/11/17