Arthur Hilder


Court Lodge Hill, Ewhurst (Arthur Hilder card - early version)

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Grocer and draper at Ewhurst Green near Bodiam. Hilder issued real photographic cards of Ewhurst over a period of perhaps 10 or 15 years. The earliest, although labelled "Pub. by Hilder Ewhurst", were printed for him anonymously by the same firm (supposedly Bender and Co. of London Road, Croydon) that around 1910 produced sepia real photographic cards of a large number of places in Britain, all with handwritten captions in the same characteristic style of lettering. It was the firm's policy not to put its name on the cards but to credit them to either the local shopkeeper who agreed to sell them or the photographer who supplied the pictures. In Arthur Hilder's case it is probable that he took the photographs and also commissioned the cards to sell in his shop. A photograph of Ewhurst Church published in Sussex County Magazine in 1930 is credited to Hilder, which appears to confirm that he was a photographer.

Later versions of Hilder's real photographic cards of Ewhurst are known, which he may have commissioned from a different source. As before, the photographs lack borders and are dark sepia or black and white tinged with sepia. The captions are handwritten or stenciled using only capitals (the earlier versions have capitals solely at the start of words) and are marked "Hilder, Ewhurst" in their bottom right corners.

Arthur Hilder was born at Salehurst near Robertsbridge in about 1863 and was the son of Edmund and Susannah Hilder. By 1881 he had become a grocer's assistant at Ewhurst Green. In 1891, at the age of 27, he was still an assistant, but working in a grocery at Hurstpierpoint. In 1892 he married and returned to Ewhurst to set up in business on his own as a grocer and draper. The 1901 and 1911 censuses record that he and his wife, Annie (born at Ewhurst in about 1865) had two children: William Arthur Hilder, born in about 1894 and Annie Gertrude Hilder, born in about 1897. He was still in business in 1918, but retired by 1922.

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