AJ West’s obituary in the Hampshire Telegraph and Post on January 22 1937 says:
Pioneer of the cinema, master of photography and a keen student of life, Mr Alfred West of 18 Wimbledon Park Road, Southsea, has passed away in a Southsea nursing home in his 80th year.
His claim to be “ the grandfather of the films “ is one that cannot be challenged. There must be many people in Portsmouth who still remember the advent of the first films introduced by Mr West, which caused a furore then, and for a long time afterwards.
Maritime photography was Mr West’s profession and study. He was quick to perceive the possibilities of the new method by which successive phases of motion could be reproduced to gave (sic) a natural impression of actual life and movement.
Arduously and patiently, he applied his beliefs to his favourite subjects of yacht racing and the navy, with results that became famous in “ Our Navy,” his first moving picture. Pre-War ships were depicted therein, commencing with scenes of the cruise of H.M.S. Crescent under the command of H.R.H. the Duke of York who later became King George V.
The original exhibitions of his animated pictures at Portsmouth speedily drew requests from numerous quarters for similar shows, and for a long period the exposition was shown all over the country, and uninterruptedly at the Regent Street Polytechnic, London for some years.
Queen Victoria heard of it, and took a great interest in this new discovery in which her grandson was featured and, with other personages, she witnessed the Exposition at Osborne House.
Mr West’s work in popularising the films, especially from a patriotic point of view, continued unabated to the outbreak of War, when he returned from a trip to Australia. he then found that the enterprise had grown to such dimensions as to be unwieldy for his supervision, and sold his interests.
After the War, Mr West bought a little farm in the Isle of Wight where he cultivated violets, having always had a flair for horticulture. His violets were sought after to a great extent.
In 1931, he paid another visit to Australia, where he stayed at his son’s farm in the West of the Continent. On his return he contributed many informative and interesting articles to the Hampshire Telegraph and Post about his travelling experiences. A keen observation and sense of description made them most readable and attractive.. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and had visited the West Indies and other parts of the globe at various times.
Mr. West was a native of Gosport, and for many years carried on the photographic business started by his father. His name still continues in the business carried on in Palmerston Road, Southsea, though he sold it before the War.
One of his technical claims to fame in the photographic world was the invention of the instantaneous shutter, which enabled objects to be photographed in full motion. He claimed to have been the first to take a picture of a yacht in full sail, over 50 years ago, and he had many interesting memories of old America’s Cup challenge races.
Returning from the Island when his wife died in 1931, Mr West had lived in retirement in Southsea, where he was a member of the Waverley Bowling Club. He is survived by two sons, one in Australia and one at Selsey, and one daughter, Mrs Clover of Fareham.