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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Sepia Saturday - Men Minus Ties

Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history and memories through photographs.
This week's prompt invites us to look at men in ties and braces. 

Well,  most of the men in my photographs are dressed very formally for weddings or military service. So  instead I have focussed on more casual wear  both for work and leisure - with men  minus their ties!


This photograph was in the collection of my Uncle Fred Weston who grew up in Broseley, Shropshire, across the river from its more famous neighbour - Ironbridge, birthplace of England's Industrial Revolution.
Here is Tommy Rodgers, a well known local character, who was a   a coracle maker.   When the famous  Iron Bridge was opened in 1779,  locals objected to paying the tolls, so they used their coracles to cross the river instead;  also  to fish and to poach. Tommy Roger was well known as a poacher and the local newspaper regularly reported his appearance in court on poaching charges. He also helped to build the new police cells and court room in Ironbridge in 1862 - only to be one of the first people to appear there.  

More working men's garb, with my grandfather William Danson of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire sitting in the front of this group of workers.  Granddad was described as a labourer on his wedding certificate of 1907.  At one stage he worked in the local auction mart, and then at the ICI chemical works at Thornton, near Fleetwood.  

This could be work or leisure, but here is my husband's father John Robert Donaldson taking a break from his work as a sign writer and decorator.

A lace cravat, rather than a tie, worn by one of the many costumed city guides in Vienna  -
 - catching up on his information?

My father John Weston (left) with his younger brother Charles, adopting a casual pose of men around town.  I have told the story of Dad's first drive before on my blog, , but it is so entertaining, I could not resits featuring it again.  Dad was a commercial traveller  and in the 1930's got a new job with instructions to pick up a car at Derby and drive 90 miles north  to a position in Blackpool.  He had never driven before and here is his tale of his first  hair- raising journey, told in his own words.

""I had never driven a car before.  On Boxing Day, I went to the British School of Motoring and said I wanted some urgent lessons.  When I told the instructor I was driving to Blackpool the next day, he nearly had a fit.  I collected my car - a four door Morris saloon which I was expected to buy on hire  purchase at 18 shillings per week.  It was a traumatic journey with me being  a complete novice, having had no proper tuition.  There was no heating, no radio of course to help pass the time, and the windscreen wipers kept seizing up.  I had also been told that the tyres were awful for punctures.  Still I made it, as darkness fell - just as well, as I wasn't too sure about the lights!"
Thirty years on and now  driving with a caravan in tow, Dad take on a  more casual look, besides his older brother Fred who has kept to his tie, despite the obvious warm weather.  
My husband is the little boy in his school coat and cap, on the pillion of his father's motor bike.  No concerns then about health and safety and the  wearing of crash helmets!   But notice that his father's jacket is pin striped and he has a handkerchief tucked  in his top pocket. 
 I must admit I took this photograph rather surreptitiously in a cafe bar in Munch Square, in Bavaria, Germany.  The two men looked so genial sitting there with their huge beer tankards, casually dressed and enjoying a convivial drink.   Combined with the sign,  this seemed such a good photograph to take to typify the Bavarian scene. 
Click HERE to read how other bloggers featured ties and braces

Copyright © 2013 · Susan Donaldson. All Rights Reserved


  1. A great collection of photos. I particularly like old working men photos. They worked so hard for a living.

  2. Poor Tommy Rodgers. Some guys never get a break. That's too funny about his helping to build the jail & then being it's first occupant. Another interesting note: Neil's father was a sign painter. My maternal grandfather painted signs and advertisements and did a little house painting on the side!

  3. fabulous photos! I love vintage photos, and this is a good array of the hard workers of the past.

  4. My favorite picture is the one with the coracle. I don't think that kind of boat has been used here.

  5. Yes, what wonderful photos. I spent an age looking at each one of them. And so many of them were so familiar : same poses, same clothes, same backgrounds as so many in my family albums.

  6. The coracle picture is amazing. It was one of the first things I remember learning about at primary school; we had to draw it in our notebooks, but I've never seen a photo before.

  7. The coracle is amazing -- I've never seen (nor heard of) one here in the USA. Looks like a giant basket; the fact that it's so easily portaged is clever! See? keep learning such wonderful things from Sepians! And the Tommy Rodgers story is very funny...

  8. Loved the background stories, especially that of Tommy Rodgers.

  9. Is that a Triumph motorbike? I'm going to have to show that to my husband. Great photo. Imagine being that little on the back of a motorcycle.

    That last photo could be Alan Burnett and one of his cronies!

    1. Thanks, Kat, for your comment. My husband tells me it was, not a Triumph, but a 500cc Rudge Sports Special.

  10. Love that picture of the motor bike reminded me of my dad and his motor bikes he had an old BSA and he also later had a little Honda that he used to let me ride as a teenager of about 14! Oh how things have changed

  11. Great photos. I had heard of coracles but never actually seen one. It makes Tommy look like a tortoise doesn't it? So many lovely photos. Loved the caravan one.

  12. Yes Great pictures and stories. I think I have seen the German picture previously.

    I can't imagine learning to drive one day and then driving such a distance the next! In Australia, Learners needs to have 120 driving hours before they can even go for their licence.

  13. What a delightful post, and besides men at work, wow they sure know how to play too. That trailer is so cute too!

  14. I enjoyed your post and liked to read about your Dad's first drive again.

  15. I had never heard of a coracle before - another lesson from the sepias!
    Tommy's story is great

  16. Clever twist! (Love the story of your dad's first driving experience. Brave man!)

  17. Fun pictures! Thanks for the post. I am new at this whole Genealogy stuff and loving it!
    Dani Oldroyd


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