Sidney Hellier


Parade & Pier at Hastings (undivided back, 1903 postmark)

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Stamp and postcard dealer, 48 Kings Road, Brighton. Hellier began trading in London in 1884 and was for many years based at 179 Regent Street. He moved to Brighton at about the turn of the century and became a pioneer Sussex postcard publisher. Collotype cards of Hastings and Brighton have been found with undivided backs postmarked 1902, which are labelled "S. Hellier 48 Kings Rd. Brighton & Duke St. London". The cards were printed by Willhelm Hoffman A. G. in Dresden. H. J. Smith of 80 Kings Road, Brighton, published some very similar cards of Brighton that were also printed by Hoffman in Dresden. Both the Hellier and Smith cards have pictures with wide basal borders. Hoffman's oval trademark and serial number is visible just under the pictures. The numbers on the Hellier and Smith cards are very similar, suggesting that they were all printed as part of the same batch.

Slightly later are some softly coloured views of Brighton with divided backs and wide basal borders that were "Phototyped and handpainted in Saxony". These cards lack the Hoffman trademark, but are very similar to the earlier cards.

Quite different is a collotype card that shows an artillery display on Brighton seafront celebrating the end of the Boer War (1902). Although printed in Brighton by Mezzotint, it is labelled on the undivided back "S. Hellier 48 Kings Rd. Brighton."

A real photographic studio portrait card of the immensely popular music hall comedian, Dan Leno (1860 - 1904), has a divided back and is labelled "Hellier's Permanent Photo Postcards. Brighton & London." It would be interesting to know what other studio portraits of stage celebrities Hellier issued.

By 1904 Hellier launched his series of "Hellier's Original & Exclusive Postcards". These coloured and uncoloured collotypes, again printed in Dresden, included views of Brighton (e.g. St Peters and the Kings Road), and also Rottingdean and Falmer (e.g. "Near Brighton. Falmer Village"). 1904, 1905 and 1906 postmarks have been noted. It is evident that Hellier must have supplied his cards to other retailers as well as selling them at his Kings Road shop.

Hellier also published real photographic cards of Brighton, for example "The Palace Pier at night", labelled "Hellier's Permanent Photo Postcards".

An envelope survives that Hellier probably intended using for wrapping up cards and other small purchases made by customers at his Kings Road shop. On the front of the envelope a fine drawing of the shop front is accompanied by advertising blurb. The picture postcards on display formed "the choicest if not the largest collection in the country. From 1d to 1/- each". Stamp collectors were offered "an immense selection of single stamps, sets and packets". The stock of stamps was "imported from almost every country and colony in the world". Also on sale were postcard albums, stamp albums and accessories, purses, card cases, framed views and other fancy goods.

It is not known when Hellier abandoned postcard publishing. He was still in business as a stamp dealer at the end of the First World War, but retired by 1922.

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