Sunday 10 March 2013

Little and Large

What a pair these two dogs make! It is unclear whether this St Bernard was photographed next to this little West Highland White terrier puppy, because they belonged to the same owner, or simply because when paired together they made an interesting subject.

The photographers of this image were William Henry Wheeler and George P. Day of 106 High Street, Oxford, England.

In 1865 Wheeler and Day purchased the photographic business of Edward Bracher which resided at 26 High Street and moved it to 106 High Street. In Jackson's Oxford Journal for 28th of October 1865, Wheeler and Day advertise their new "large and commodious Photographic Gallery".

There is an engraving of the shop on the reverse of the photograph.

In 1871 Wheeler and Day separated as business partners, but Willian Henry Wheeler continued the business at the same premises. A very similar engraving as on the back of the CDV appears on Wheelers bill-head c1872, shown below.  Taking into account this information we can date "Little and Large" to between 1865 and 1871.

Reproduced by permission of Oxfordshire County Council, Reference Number: HT14020

A short Family History for William Henry Wheeler, born about 1831

Here is Wheeler in the 1871 census, listed as a Bookseller. Business much have been thriving as he is listed as "employing 4 men, 2 apprentices and 2 boys". At this time William and his wife Ellen, also employed two servants (one who was aged just 13) who would have cared for their then two year old daughter Frances, and 5 month old daughter Lucy. (Click on the image for a larger view)

Source Information: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1871. Kew, Surrey, England

By 1891 Henry and Ellen had had another four children together (two son's and two daughters), they had also increased their household staff to six servants and one waiter. Their daughter Frances was also now working as an assistant to her father at 106 High Street. (Click on the image for a larger view)

Source Information: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891. Kew, Surrey, England

William continued to work until his death aged 87 in 1918 and the business was closed shorty after.

 Source Information: Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. London, England © Crown copyright.

106 High Street is now the Oxford University Bookshop, and the shop front has changed little since Wheeler & Day set up business there 148 years ago as you can see in the image below.


1 comment:

  1. Very Interesting, concise and yet full of information to give the reader a taste of life at 106 High Street, Oxford.