Arthur George Wheller


Ashdown Forest (1928 postmark)

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Photographer. Wheller was born in Beckenham in Kent in about 1869. The 1911 census locates him at 81A Mersham Road, Thornton Heath near Croydon, and describes him as an outdoor photographer. Aged 42, he was unmarried. Later, he settled at 11 Clinton Terrace at Dormansland in Surrey.

Wheller published a series of real photographic cards of Ashdown Forest and Forest Row with sepia tinted photographs that lack borders. The captions are handwritten in neat, even-sized blocky capitals and are followed by a number in parentheses. At the time of writing the earliest postmark that has been reported is 1919, but some cards may have gone on sale before the First World War.

Most cards are anonymous, but they are easy to recognise and there can be no doubt that Wheller was their publisher. A version of "Witch (sic) Cross (38)" has been found with his name and Dormansland address stamped on the back in purple ink. Some other cards have been noted that are similarly marked. However, "Fete and Carnival, Forest Row, August 31, 1921" and "War Memorial Forest Row (2)", have printed labels on the back with his name "A. G. Wheller" , followed by "The Square, Forest Row" as his address. It is uncertain whether Wheller moved to Forest Row after the War or merely opened a branch shop there. His card "Ashdown Forest (15)" though anonymous is reproduced in a contemporary guidebook (G. G. Jackson and P. Rowe, The Sussex Highlands, 1927, Homeland Handbooks, London), where it is credited to Wheller. The same book reproduces other Wheller views that have not been seen as postcards.

Wheller's cards seem to have remained on sale until the late 1920s. He died in Surrey in 1941, aged 72.

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