Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Portraits on Life - Sepia Saturday

A studio photograph of a young lady and an image of her many years later as an artist  is the double photograph  of this week's Sepia Saturday prompt.        


A studio portrait of three sisters Amy, Edna and Lavinia  Dodds of Todmorden, West Yorkshire In the 1911 census Amy was aged 15 (a cotton weaver), Edna 12 (a fustian sewer)  and Lavinia  aged 9. 

The above photograph is  just one out of the fifty I inherited   from my great aunt,  Jenny Danson (left).    Jennie (1897-1986) was the only daughter and last child of James Danson and Maria Rawcliffe of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire,  born after eight surviving brothers. 

The photographs were taken at local studios at a guess  around 1917-1921Props were popular with the sitter perched on "rocks" or pedestals, or sitting in ornate chairs against muted  landscape backcloths.     Many of Jenny's photographs  featured young children (friends' offspring?) and  family groups with young men in uniform, looking apprehensive at the prospect of going to war.      Very fortunately Jenny had written   on the back in pencil her friends' names and I have tried to find more information on the names,  but with mixed success. 

Friendship Photographs

These two photographs of Annie Jolly are typical of the studio style at the time.
There were strong  concoctions  between the Jolly and Danson families. In the 1901 census, Annie  could well be the two  year old Charlotte Annie Jolly, living at Queen's Square, Poulton, daughter of Edward and Jane Jolly. Edward was a joiner, like Jenny's father. Also in the household was Jane's sister Sarah Haydon Lounds, a domestic servant, who married Jenny's  eldest   brother, John Danson.   By the 1911 census Annie Jolly was aged 12, living at Longfield Avenue, Poulton with her uncle Richard Jolly, and his wife Isabella. Jenny's brother William (my grandfather) lived on the same road with his wife and young family. 

Nellie Jolly  - I like this charming photograph, but I cannot  trace anything about Nellie.  I looked under Helen, Ellen etc. but only found an Ellen Jolly born in Poulton, but in 1853. 

Amy Dodd  - the eldest of the three sisters in the first photograph above and a friend of Jenny's youngest brother George, who worked on theW.H. Smith station bookstall at Todmorden and was killed on the Somme in 1916.  

Portraits of Confirmation  

Dorothy Chisholm was confirmed in St. Chad's Parish  Church, Poulton-le-Fylde.  She  was engaged to Jennie's widowed eldest brother, John, but he was killed in 1917 whilst in  army  training.    Dorothy never married, but the Danson family maintained contact with her throughout her life.  
 My husband;s great aunt Violet Hibbert, in a photograph
 taken at  Frank & Hamilton, Ocean Road, South Shields, County Durham. 
My husband's mother Ivy White, c.1923, again taken in south Shields.

And pets joined in studio  photographs too! 

My husband's grandmother Alice White, nee Armitage, 
with her granddaughter Maureen, plus the family pet.  

 My husband's aunt.  Patti White, with Beauty, 

Reflecting this week's prompt other theme  - Portraits Across the Years 


My grandmother Mary Barbara Matthews (1876-1958),  was the third child of John and Matilda Matthews of Wolverhampton in the English Midlands.   John was a  prominent member of the local Methodist church, conducting the choir.

My Nana -  Mary Barbara Weston, nee Matthews, later in life.

My mother, Kathleen Weston, nee Danson (1908-1989) of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.  She was apprenticed to a tailor at the age of 14 and was still busy sewing in her 80's.  

Mum still looking elegant in her 80's


  Sepia Saturday gives an opportunity for genealogy bloggers 
       to share their family history through photographs

 Click HERE to read how other bloggers have interpreted this week's prompt below

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Windows on Life - Sepia Saturday

Windows in the classical style plus a close up of a man at a window are the photographs for this week's Sepia Saturday prompt.

One  photograph on my collection immediately came to mind - 
my little granddaughter at the window of  her Wendy house.

 A more pensive look here.

 First trip on a tram - and looking out of the window.
at Beamish Open Air Museum in County Durham - 
one of our favourite day trip destinations.

On a more serious note  - outside the window a special photograph of my grandfather and grandmother  - William Danson and Alice English, taken c.1916 when Grandad was setting  out for war. I never knew my grandmother as she died when I was a baby and this is the only photograph I have of William and Alice together.  

Alice has featured  several times on my blog as she is my major brick wall.  I have never been able to trace her  birth certificate, c.1884  to find out the name of her mother and her early life remains a mystery which I doubt if I will now solve.



With an interest in architecture, Windows feature a lot in our holiday photographs.

Warsaw - a house with decorated walls - open windows here, but no one looking out

Where 16th century  French architecture meets the contemporary style of the famous glass Louvre Pyramid. Opened in 1989,  it evoked controversy on many grounds. It now provides the entrance to the Louvre Museum, and somehow I think it works. 

Against the backcloth of a classical building,  a cow "marches" on parade atop of a bus shelter in Warsaw.  The  lull scale  fibre  glass figures are  decorated  by local artists and represent different aspects of city life and culture 

  The "Cow Parades" have become a popular feature of public art  in cities across the world, adding colour and interest to the surroundings. 


  Sepia Saturday gives an opportunity for genealogy bloggers 
                                to share their family history through photographs

 Click HERE to read how other bloggers have interpreted the windows theme. 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Curly Headed Arthur Smith - A Photographer's Son

My cousin's  father was  Arthur  Stuart Ingram  Smith, seen left with his wife Elsie Oldham, and children Stuart, Gloria and Jacqueline. Arthur was the son of  Lily Beatrice Jones and  Edward Stewart Ingram Smith (1871-1923), at one time a photographer in Blackpool.   
Edward's fair looks were to pass down through generations of the family and not surprisingly young Arthur found himself the subject of many a portrait.  


Below is  Arthur not looking too happy, as he perches on the chair, clad in a dress, as was the custom  for very young boys.  The tartan reflects the family's pride  in their Scottish links  with an ancestral trail leading back to Unst,  the most northerly island in the Shetlands.

Arthur with his mop of unruly curly hair is looking here more  like a madcap boy, always into mischief. 

Back to perching on a  chair.

With his two sisters,Ella and Edith, with Arthur in a little Lord Fauntleroy outfit.


 A more thoughful-lookng Arthur, with even longer curly hair. 


The next photograph almost comes as a shock to see Arthur shorn of his curls, though still wearing the lace collar.  The  photograph I suspect was taken before his father Edward went off to war c.1916. with all. the family looking serious at the prospect of what lay ahead.   



On leaving school, Arthur  worked  for the post office, firstly as a delivery boy and then as a linesman.  He later went onto work in the family coal merchant business of his wife Elsie Oldham. 

During the war, Arthur served as a signalman,   was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940  and later served in Italy and Africa.  After the way, he returned to work at the G.P.O.

Arthur emerging from a manhole during his work as a linesman for the General Post Office. 

Arthur married  Elsie Oldham in 1932, with their  children inheriting  their father's fair looks.  


Postscript:  This profile of Arthur Smith is the fourth in a series of posts on the Smith family who hailed originally from  the island of Unst in the Shetlands  The middle name of Ingram, after the local minister there, was passed down the generations.  

The family left Unst between 1861 and 1871, moving onto the Scottish mainlandIn a number of moves and facing bankruptcy along the way, John Ingram Smith settled  in the famous  seaside resort of Blackpool in Lancashire where he became catering manager at the Winter Gardens. His grandson was Arthur Stuart Ingram  Smith. 

The Smiths of Unst,  Shetland 
John Ingram Smith - From Butler to Bankruptcy
The Sad Story of Edward Stewart Ingram Smith

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Seaside "Walkie" Snapshots: Sepia Saturday


This  week's Sepia Saturday photo prompt awoke my  memories of  seaside holidays and the photographers who plied  their trade along the promenades,  taking snapshots of people strolling by - hence the term  "walkies"  - as opposed to the current trend for   "selfies"! 

You paid money and either collected  the photographs later at  a kiosk, or could arrange for them to be posted home to you - just hoping they would arrive and this wasn't  what we now call a "scam".  We often did our best to dodge the photographers and not get caught by their hard sell. 

A double strip - at  Bournemouth on the south coast  - early 1950's, with  Dad carrying my brother, and mu aunt alongside.  This would be August yet my aunt was  wearing a warm coat - so much for a British summer!
Again Bournemouth, - Dad, brother   and myself (as usual with my eyes shut on a photograph),   wearing a dress. made by my mother - little blue and green flower print with a big white collar, and my hair in its usual pigtails fastened with ribbons.  We are all casually dressed for the summer,  but look at the older man behind - in his suit, collar and tie, waistcoat and trilby hat. 

        Two more Bournemouth photographs of Dad and my brother. 

A walk along Blackpool promenade with Mum and my paternal grandmother,  who of course  were wearing their hats.    I don't  look too happy, but I do like that little handbag I am carrying. My dressmaker mother made my coats,  with velvet trimmed collar and pockets.

And finally - a photograph in my husband's collection - but he has no idea who it is.  The only clue is a note on the back "Lots of Love from the four D's at Skegness!. I guess that it was taken late 1940's judging by the dress style of the older woman on the right and the fact both women were wearing hats.  A typical image of "Walkie" photograph.

                   Sepia Saturday gives an opportunity for genealogy bloggers 
                                to share their family history through photographs

 Click HERE to read memories from other bloggers