George Albert Wiles


Horticultural Society's charabanc outing, July 1921

To home page
To directory of publishers
To gallery

Photographer, Brighton. George Wiles was born on April 2, 1877 at the family home at 20 St. Andrews Road in Hastings, and was the younger brother of Thomas Wiles. William Wiles, his father, is described on the birth certificate as an ironmonger. His mother was Eliza (Elizabeth) Margaret Wiles, née Ansell.

At the time of the 1901 census George Wiles was working as a grocer's assistant, but still living with his parents at their home, which was at 7 Adelaide Villas in Battle Road, Hastings. Within a few years he became a commercial traveller and moved to Hove. On Boxing Day, 1905, he married Jane Manwaring Harmer at Hove Parish Church. She came from Southsea in Hampshire and was the daughter of Thomas Harmer, a gardener. Wiles gave his address as 38 George Street, Hove, and described his father as a toy merchant.

Further research is needed to establish where Wiles and his wife went to live immediately after their marriage. The 1911 census locates them at 15 Newtown Road in Hove and records that they had two daughters: Violet, aged 4, and Mabel, aged 2, both born in Southsea in Hampshire. Perhaps Jane went home to her parents to have her children or perhaps she and her husband settled in Southsea for a few years.

By 1914, Wiles began publishing postcards, and these give his address as 10 Stanford Road in Brighton. He had only recently moved to Stanford Road, and was still living there in 1915, but then moved on. Pike's 1918 Directory locates him (as G.A. Wales!) at 25 Prestonville Road, where he remained until at least 1933. By 1935 Wiles and his wife had moved to 51 Craignair Avenue, Patcham. He is still listed at this address in a 1949 Directory.

Amongst the earliest cards that Wiles produced are some black and white real photographic cards without borders showing wounded soldiers arriving in September 1914 at the Second Eastern General Military Hospital in Dyke Road, formerly the Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School. The School had opened in September 1913, only to be requisitioned after a few months by the military authorities for use as a hospital. Wiles published an extensive series of postcards showing the various wards and their inmates. He also photographed the King and Queen leaving the Dyke Road hospital after their visit on January 9, 1915, and the hospital wards decorated for Christmas 1915.

Other early Wiles cards show a R. A. M. C. running race from Lewes to Brighton on June 26, 1915, R. A. M. C. personnel departing on foreign service from the Dyke Road Hospital on August 21, 1915, and army personnel in training at Portslade in 1915 (one card shows soldiers building a temporary bridge across the Canal). Wiles collaborated with his brother, Thomas Wiles, to record Earl Haig's visit to Brighton on November 30, 1920. The resulting cards are labelled "Wiles Bros". However, he reverted to working on his own account when he recorded the Dedications of the Indian Chattri at Patcham in February 1921 and the Indian Memorial Gateway at Brighton Pavilion in October of the same year. Also in October, Wiles photographed the War Memorial of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway after its unveiling at Brighton Station. In 1922 he issued one or more real photographic cards of the Temperance Pageant in the Dome at Brighton, which was held on March 1, and in 1924 he produced a real photographic card of the newly built Church Hall in Aldrington.

Some four or more black and white real photographic cards labelled "Photo by G.A. Wiles. Published by Embling & Bird, Brighton".show the interior of the Regent Theatre in Queens Road, Brighton, which opened in July 1921. Embling & Bird were stationers at 2 York Place.

Wiles published only a limited number of real photographic cards as an independent producer, preferring to work in partnership. By 1922 he had joined two other Brighton photographers, Deane and Martin, to carry out commercial photography in the local area. The trio traded under the name of Deane, Martin & Wiles, and as part of their work issued many real photographic cards of Brighton and district. By 1926 Martin left the partnership and was replaced by another photographer called Miller. The new partnership at first styled itself Deane, Miller & Wiles, but later changed its name to Deane, Wiles & Millar. It continued to publish large numbers of real photographic cards of Brighton and district up to the Second World War. Deane, Wiles & Millar were still in business in 1947, though they had probably given up issuing cards. Wiles died at Brighton in 1955.

To directory of publishers
To gallery

Design: Lucid Design