Deane, Wiles & Millar


Royal Pavilion (1923 postmark)

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Brighton photographers and retailers of photographic materials, briefly at 15 Little East Street, then 26 Market Street, and from mid 1929 onwards at 4 Madeira Drive and 9 Regent Court (also called Regent Row) where they had a "photographic works".

The partnership of Deane, Miller and Wiles was renamed Deane, Wiles and Millar by 1929, presumably because Wiles was playing a greater role than Miller. No explanation is available as to why Miller changed the spelling of his name to Millar. Pike's 1929 Directory locates the partners at 26 Market Street, where they shared the same premises as the Brighton Camera Exchange, which they appear to have acquired or may even have founded. However, several cards that Deane, Wiles and Millar published showing the opening of the New Aquarium by Prince George on June 12, 1929 are labelled "9 Regent Court" on the back, so evidently the Camera Exchange had closed its doors by this date.

One of the earliest cards that Deane, Miller and Wiles produced shows the members of Brighton Police Football Club in 1921, but the three partners seem not to have bothered much with postcard production until after 1930 (see entry for Arthur Harry Deane). In 1926 Brighton Borough Council embarked on a massive ten-year programme of urban renewal, widening roads, such as the narrow, congested West Street, and clearing areas of severely run-down housing. With commendable foresight, they commissioned Deane, Miller and Wiles to make a detailed photographic record of all the buildings and streets that were scheduled for redevelopment. The resulting prints provide a fascinating glimpse of narrow alleyways, mean streets and damp, decaying houses in the unfashionable neighbourhoods of interwar Brighton, which sharply contrasted with the glitzy seafront and smart Steine.

Deane, Wiles and Millar published many real photographic cards during the 1930s, including views of Saltdean and Rottingdean. One of their most striking cards shows "Huge waves dashing over Black Rock, Brighton" and is dated November 1931. Cards of the construction of the Undercliff Walk east of Brighton must date from c. 1932; others showing the completed walkway must be 1933 or later. A real photographic card of Southwick records the visit of Prince George in March 1933. Later in the same year Deane, Wiles and Millar published a card of the Sussex County Cricket Team. Also at about this date they issued portrait cards of individual cricketers, such as Arthur Gilligan and Kumar Duleepsinhji. In 1936 the trio published some real photographic cards of an infantry camp at Falmer.

Unlike their 1920s predecessors, the 1930s cards generally have no borders. Relatively few are initialled on the front, and the initials are DWM, not DMW as on the earlier cards. Some cards both with and without initials are labelled on the back "Deane, Wiles & Millar, 9 Regent Court, Brighton". Other cards are anonymous, but the neatly lettered captions in blocky capitals helps to identify them. The highest number noted to date is 401, a view of Black Rock bathing pool (opened August 1936, closed 1978).

Deane, Wiles and Millar cards are prized by collectors because they are not only of good quality but also provide a valuable record of the Brighton area in the 1930s when postcard production generally was in sharp decline. However, it is important to be wary when dating individual pictures. One captionless DWM card shows Rottingdean Pier in about 1901. The Pier was dismantled by 1910, but the card was on sale without explanation in 1931!

Deane, Wiles and Millar were still in business at 9 Regent Court in 1947, but then Wiles retired. Deane and Millar continued their partnership, but moved from Regent Court to 92 North Street by 1951 and then by 1960 to 13 Dyke Road. There is no evidence that they published any postcards after the war. Production may have been transferred to the Lansdowne Publishing Co. of London. It is known, for example, that Deane, Wiles and Millar's card Number 450 of the Devil's Dyke at Brighton was re-issued by Lansdowne as their card LP 310.

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