An interesting article on Maurice Miles by John Brown in the Streatham Society Newsletter https://www.streathamsociety.org.uk/.../summer_2017.pdf . https://www.streathamsociety.org.uk/newsletters.html Summer 2017
He was photographed by Victorian Photographers Wayland
MAURICE WH MILES
The recent discovery of a late Victorian photograph of a young boy apparently sitting amid ships rigging, creating the impression the picture was taken in the crow’s nest of a ship, has helped to reveal the fascinating story of his life. The legend under the photograph shows that it was taken by one of Streatham’s early photographers, David Wayland, who was born in 1851 and set up his studio in Streatham at 71 Streatham High Road in 1893.
Around 1905 David’s brother, Henry Robert Douglas Wayland, took over the business and relocated it to Regina House at 186 Streatham High Road, where it occupied an imposing corner premises at the southern junction of Becmead Avenue in a building now occupied by Lloyds Bank. Wayland was one of the first photographers in Streatham to have electric light installed in his studio and this caused some sensation in 1908 when it was considered a most innovative means of lighting.
The Wayland brothers were often commissioned to take photographs of the most eminent of Streatham’s inhabitants, including local VIPs such as the Mayor of Wandsworth. There were three brothers and, in addition to their Streatham studio, they operated studios at Sutton and Blackheath.
The photograph of the young boy in the rigging shows the skill with which Wayland would compose his subjects and he promoted his studio as one which specialised in taking photographs of children. As normal, the reverse of the card on which the photograph is mounted shows details of the Wayland Studio where it was taken, in addition to which someone has helpfully recorded the name of the boy featured in the picture together with his age and the year the picture was taken.
From these inscriptions we know the boy was Maurice WH Miles, who was 4 years and three months old when the picture was published in 1897. By a strange twist of fate we know quite a bit of information about Maurice as copies of his military records during the First World War are contained in the collection of Streatham military material held by Streatham Society member Colin Crocker and Andrew Hadden.
For many decades Colin and Andrew have been collecting material relating to the local history of Streatham, especially that relating to members of the armed forces. Some years ago they acquired a badge known as a World War One Silver War Badge, sometimes referred to as a Silver Wound Badge. This badge was awarded to injured members of the armed forces who were discharged due to their injuries. By wearing the badge the public would recognise the holder as an injured member of the armed forces who had served King and Country and would not challenge them for not having done their duty in joining the army or navy. The badge shows King George V’s cypher plus the words ‘For King and Empire - Services Rendered’. By a strange coincidence the badge had been awarded to Maurice Miles and when Andrew and Colin acquired it they also obtained copies of some of his war records from which we are able to piece together information about his life.
Maurice William Holt Miles was born in Streatham on 27th December 1892. He was the son of William Miles, a publican, later to become a newspaper manager, who lived at 15 Hopton Road, Streatham, with his wife Gertrude, his sister Clara, his daughter and two servants, a cook and nursery maid. Maurice was baptised at St. Anselm’s Church, Coventry Park, on 18th March 1893. He at tended Merchant Taylors School and at the time of the First World War he was training to be a surgeon at St. Thomas’s Hospital in London.
At the commencement of the war in 1914 he volunteered for service and went to France as a dresser in the Royal Army Medical Corps (R.A.M.C.). He later saw service with the Indian Medical Service, serving aboard the Hospital Ships Glengorm Castle, Guildford Castle and Sicilia. He also served in India, Egypt and the Dardanelles. It was while serving in the East that he contracted malaria and dysentery. He was subsequently invalided out of the army and resigned from the Indian Medical Service in March 1916 so that he could return to the UK to finish his medical studies.
While serving on the Indian Hospital Ship, the Guildford Castle, during an incident in which the ship sank, Maurice had received an injury to his foot and when he was at Blackpool training as a Lieutenant in the R.A.M.C., septic poisoning infected his big toe. He was sent to Manchester Hospital for treatment and was later admitted to St. Thomas’s Hospital in London where part of his toe was amputated. Maurice continued his medical training and qualified as a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons in January 1917. The following month he was appointed to the Royal Army Medical Corps Special Reserve.
In May 1917, whilst serving at Blackpool, he reported sick with pyrexia and possible tuberculosis. Sadly his weakened condition led him to resign his com- mission on 17th August 1918 through ill health and he returned to his family home then at 11 Pinfold Road, Streatham. It was there, a few months later, where he died on 25th November 1918, after having succumbed to an attack of influenza and pneumonia which his weakened condition did not enable him to withstand.
Because Maurice did not die on active service he is not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. However, his name is recorded on the Streatham Roll of Honour and on St. Leonard’s Church War Memorial.
In addition to having all this information about Maurice there is another fascinating twist to the tale to reveal. As well as the original photograph of Maurice already referred to, in the collection of old cabinet photographs and cartes de viste (CDVs) held by myself, Kevin Kelly, Colin Crocker and Andrew Hadden, and from copies obtained from the internet by Dave Clark, there is another picture of Maurice taken at the Wayland Studios in Streatham in 1894 when he was one year old. We know this to be so for these details are recorded on the reverse of the second picture in the same handwriting as that used on the first picture.
But the surprises do not end there; for also in our collections are copies of three other photographs of a young boy taken at the Wayland Studio who has an uncanny likeness to Maurice and appear to have been taken at some time between the two other photographs, possibly when he was around 3 years of age. Al- though none of these photographs have any inscription on the reverse, the likeness of the young boy featured on them is so similar to that of Maurice as to leave little doubt it could possibly be the same boy.
John W Brown.
Freedom of the City of London papers and University of London OTC record below