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Albert Mahomet was born in 1858 to a lascar merchant seaman father and English mother in Poplar, East London. Mahomet was a photographer, teacher and Methodist preacher. He left documentation of his life and of the life of the poor in London's East End in his book From Street Arab to Pastor.
Mahomet grew up in poverty for much of his childhood. After being abandoned by his father who had died while on a ship returning to India, his family fell into yet deeper poverty. His mother took to drink and was arrested for brawling in the street. Subsequently, he was placed in the Limehouse Workhouse, but was later sent to Norfolk and then Thursford Union Workhouse. Under the Poor Law, the authorities of the child's mother’s place of origin were responsible for them.
Albert was eventually saved from the workhouse by his uncle, William Jenkerson, and taken to live in Wells. In Wells he worked first as a domestic servant then for a doctor who later dismissed him for trading in the surgery. He then worked for a farmer called Samuel Gooch. Gooch was Superintendent of the Wesleyan Sunday school. It may be that Gooch’s influence contributed to the changing course of Albert’s life in the following years.
Becoming a pastor and photography work
As a young man, Mahomet moved to Lincoln, where he worked for a blacksmith, as well as a Methodist Sunday school teacher, a lay preacher and a temperance campaigner. He went on to tour the country as a preacher, and it was during this period that he met a fellow-evangelist Christian, Paulina Gill, whom he married in December 1881.
In around 1890 Albert returned to Norfolk and spent about three years acting as pastor to the Yarmouth fishing community. In 1893 he and his wife Paulina moved back to Wells, where he continued to preach, but where he became interested in photography. He opened a studio in Wells on Freeman Street and possibly several other places. His output included both portraits and local scenes. His memoir was written in the early part of his time in Wells, but he did not write of his photography work.