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Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Girls All Together - Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday encourages bloggers to record their family history through photographs.

This week's theme prompted this story of my Great Aunt Jennie Danson who worked in Poulton Post Office, Lancashire.

This photograph was in the collection left by my Great Aunt Jennie.  According to her daughter, it was a group   of Jennie's work colleagues at Poulton Post Office. Certainly they seem to be dressed in a uniform of  the same skirts and blouses.     Jennie had written the names on the reverse  (how we wish all our ancestors would do that!) -  Gerty Roskell, Jennie Danson, Annie Jolly, Margaret Porter, Madge O' Rourke, Edith Jackson.
My great aunt Jennie Danson (1897- 1986) was, by all accounts, quite a feisty character. She was the only daughter and last child of James Danson and Maria Rawcliffe  born on 24th December 1897, after eight surviving brothers - George then aged 3, Frank 5, Albert 7, Tom 9, William 12 (my grandfather), Robert 16, John 18 and Harry 20 - a large family in a small terraced house. Her father died when when was eight years old, and two brothers John and George died in the First World War.

The oldest photograph below  c. 1909 of Jennie shows her to be around 12 years old, pictured with her widowed mother and her niece Annie Maria, daughter of brother John.

On leaving school, Jennie went to work in the local post office.  Her daughter Pam recalls a story that during the First World War, a telegram came through  for Mrs Maria Danson. Fearing the worst, Jenny was allowed to run home with it. Fortunately it was good news to say that Frank was in hospital in Malta but was doing well.  

I  love this photo below of Jennie with the "modern" hairstyle of the 1920's.  She was determined to lead her own life, much to the dismay of her five unmarried brothers who were used to her running the home after the death of their mother (Maria) in 1919. Jennie married Beadnell (Bill) Stemp in 1929 and died in 1985 aged 88 years old.

Jenny left  to her daughters a legacy of memories of her mother Maria, tangible family artifacts such as her mother’s tea set and jewellery, a large collection of photographs  and other family memorabilia, much relating to her two youngest brothers Frank and George.  
Copyright © 2012 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Click here to find other bloggers' stories on this week's theme.


  1. A legacy of memories, a box full of treasures, loved ones memories to be cherished always! Lovely post!

  2. Well done to her for not letting anything get in the way of true love.

  3. I just love that top photo—the way they are all inclined to their right, gives it such a warmth and bond.
    Your Great Aunt Jennie, was quite an indomitable character.

  4. How nice to be left with all those memories - photos, jewelry and other treasures. Such an interesting post. I almost feel like I know Jennie. That first photo is an absolutely classic.

  5. You string together words and images perfectly. Even after just a few short paragraphs, I feel I know a little of Jennie and her world.

  6. The first picture does not seem to be taken near the post office. So it must have been during an outing of some kind. And how nice that she left so many tangible things to her children. It almost seems she did that on purpose!

  7. I like Aunt Jennie! Putting up with a house full of brothers could not have been easy. I'm glad for you that she preserved so much of your family treasures.

  8. What a beautiful story and pictures. Imagine having all those older brothers watching out for you!! I particularly like seeing pictures of working women from the early 1900's so enjoyed your first photo. Thanks for sharing!

  9. These photos are family treasure for sure. I always regret that there are not and may not have ever been similar pictures of our family. Jennie would have had to be a strong woman to have so many brothers to care for.

  10. I love the waves and the way the light accentuates them in the last photo. It's good that she was able to escape from her five unmarried brothers.

  11. So nice of Jennie to put the names of the people on the back of the photograph and also for you to include them in your post. Imagine the joy and surprise should someone find their own relative's image!

  12. Feistiness must have been necessary with all those older brothers! What a great post - and I love her waves in the last picture.

  13. I love that last photo too. Thanks for sharing these great memories.

  14. What a lovely tribute to Jennie! I'm glad she decided to follow her heart and get married, despite her brothers' wishes for her to stay and care for them and the house. I wonder. Did these brothers ever get married themselves?

  15. Thank you all for your encouraging comments. I am so pleased that I managed to convey my great aunt Jennie's character and proud that I have the photographs which bring her so much "alive". My favourite the last 1920's portrait.

    To Jana - yes all the brothers eventually married - quite late on in life when they realised they needed the help and support of a good woman!!

  16. I especially love the last phot with the waves in her hair....the entire post about Jennie was interesting to hear about her personality. The first one of the group of workers makes me wonder if it was the end of a long day, the way they all put their heads upon the shoulder in front of them.

  17. My kids are always fussing about things I put away for them. Little do they know one day they will say thank you QMM. You have a treasure trove of memories. Quite a woman there for sure. I have a photos of my mom with the same hairdo.

  18. A evocative photo of all the girls; no photo of course being complete in those times without a chair! She would have to be feisty with all those brothers to cope with, a wonderful tribute to your aunt, with great photos.

  19. Quite a journey women had back then.
    Makes me think of my own maternal grandma,
    from the hotel business of her parents to the convent,
    only to relinquish her vows to marry grandpa and raise a family, for better and for worse.
    But she did live a long life...
    I love that last picture.
    Feisty, you say?!?

  20. A beautiful choice for the theme. She and her mates have a remarkable similarity to a postcard I featured in September, 6 young girls all leaning into each other. If you missed it, check it out.

    1. Many thanks, Micke, for your kind comments, and also the reference to your earlier posting. It wasw great fun and as you say very similar in the posing of the girls.


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