.jump-link{ display:none }

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Sepia Saturday - Bobs, Waves and Rolls

Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history and memories  through photographs.

This week's main theme was Aprons.  My mother  was a great apron wearer and maker - from the wrap-around overall for wash day, and the pocket apron for carrying dusters and polish  up and down stairs to the butcher's apron style for baking to the dainty frilled waist pinny for serving tea. She made them all herself and was a stalwart sewer for any local fete or Christmas fair. But I have no photographs of her in her work-a-day wear.  

 So, looking at the lady on the left here,  I have focussed instead on hairstyles of the 1920's. 30's and 40's
The impact on the First World War on the changing role of  women saw an abandonment of the  traditional long hair styles of the Victorian period to the new short styles of the bob, finger-wave, Marvel wave, shingle and Eton crop, with their popularity continuing well into the 1930's.
 An elegant unidentified portrait in my husband's collection -
thought to be a relation of his great aunt Annette.  
My great aunt Jennie Danson  who sacrificed her long plait for the new look.

My mother Kathleen Danson -Jennie's niece,
though there was only 11 years difference in their ages.  

My mother again - with more waves this time

My mother's second cousins Elsie Oldham - "Elise" c. 1920's

I have told the story of Elsie before on my blog,  but it fits this theme so beautifully I could not help but repeat it.

Bobbing, Shingling, Marcel Waving and Perming", was the promise of my mother's second cousin Elsie Oldham in  this lovely evocative 1920's advertising  blotter.

Perhaps the French adaptation of her name to Elise was regarded as more appropriate for a hairdresser.   The business was conducted from the rather less glamorous setting of her home (below) with the large adverts  in the windows and on the pole outside  


The Oldham home in Blackpool, Lancashire
with the adverts in the window & on the garden pole.

In the 1930''s and 1940's  a  softer look crept in, with curls and waves all the rage, and during the war the "roll" was the defining style.  This was the age of trying to emulate  Hollywood glamour, despite the realities  of life during the  depression and war. 

My mother again - Kathleen Danson

My aunt - Edith Danson

Another new look for my mother who seems to have adopted an Austrian style, with what looks like  braids over  her head.  She was always very proud of her distinctive widow's peak.

Some typical 1940's looks from my mother and Aunt Peggy
My aunt Peggy Danson 

Copyright © 2013 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Click HERE to see how other Sepia Saturday bloggers
have taken up this week's theme


  1. Your examples are far more stylish than the ladies in the prompt. I rather like that bob and I’m sure it’s one I woud have adopted myself.

  2. What a beautiful lineup. Thanks for the hairy trip through the decades.

  3. Those photos certainly remind you of the implements used to produce those beautiful hair styles - the rollers and those metal butterflies which set the crimped waves in place.

  4. Interesting take on the theme! I remember my Mom having those metal crimp clips to set waves in place. I don't recall her having a hair roll for those glamorous 40's styles, but I used a circular chignon roll in my teens & early 20's because ponytails didn't seem quite right for the working girl back then. Eventually, though, I had my hair cut in the 60's bubble style.

  5. As a male I have to be careful about what I say about ladies hair. The Danson family resemblance is noticeable in your photos.

  6. Elsie's style is almost the same as the picture on the blotter. That also seems to be the only style similar to some of today's styles.

  7. The agonies we all went through for "good" hair! What a laugh...

  8. A beautiful medley of hair styles. I know that celebrities from cinema and theater influenced fashion, but it would be interesting to compare how the different national stars changed the popularity of hair styles.

  9. These hairstyles remind me of women in The Great Gatsby. Your mom and aunt look like twins in their younger photos. I should head down Google lane for 'Marvel lane, shingle and Eton crop.' Very interesting.


  10. That was really interesting and actually very useful in terms of recognising some of the hairstyles in my own collection of old photos.

  11. It seems almost criminal not to have photos of your mother in her aprons, something she was KNOWN for, something so characteristic of her. But I have maybe 2 pictures of my mother sewing and she sewed all the time. I guess it just became an ordinary part of the day like making the bed or reading the paper that her sewing didn't seem "special" enough to record in a photograph.

  12. My mother and grandmother made and wore aprons - almost all the time. but I too did not have any photos of them in aprons.
    A very interesting spin on the topic

  13. Interesting record of hairstyles through the years.

  14. Love the hairstyles. You had a truly stylish family!!!


Thank you for your comment which will appear on screen after moderation.