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Friday, 28 February 2014

Sepia Saturday - Five Generations in the Back Yard

Each week Sepia Saturday, provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs. 
A stark image of fences, sheds and back yards is this week's prompt. and here are five generations of my family taken in their varied back yards. 

There is an anecdote  here connected with "back yard". Many years ago I spent a year working in the USA and was invited to visit a work colleague, who commented that we would sit in the "back yard".  I wasn't too sure about that prospect!   For to me (born in the north of England),  it conjured up  a "Coronation Street" picture of back-to-back terraced houses with a small paved or cobbled   back yard for storing the dustbins and bikes - very utilitarian.  I was wrong,  of course,  with my interpretation, for Instead I found that this American "back yard"  was a large garden with a beautiful lawn and flower beds - so much for transatlantic misunderstandings!   

My first photograph was taken in a typical English back yard where my grandparents William Danson and Alice English posed for a photograph before he set off for war in  1916.   They lived in a terraced house on Bull Street, just off the Square, in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire,  The houses were demolished in the 1960's and replaced by a shopping centre. 

William Danson  and Alice English - my grandparents , 1916.

Bull Street, Poulton-le-Fylde, where my Danson grandparents lived until 1926.

Playing in the back garden - 
my aunt  Edith (seated) & mother Kathleen Danson, c.1914

My mother in the back garden of her first married home, c.1938

My first photo with my Dad  in the back garden of home. 1944 

The same back garden - this time with my mother and pet kitten, c.1946

The other side of England at  South Shields, County Durham  - 
my husband with his grandparents Matthew Iley White & Alice Armitage, c.1939.

Another back garden in South Shields, 
My husband this time on the shoulder of his Uncle Matty 
with his father Jim alongside  in a very natty pullover, c.1940

Onto 1965  and  the back garden of our home in Edinburgh .  
 Posing for a family photograph  before I headed off for my year in the USA.  
My aunt Edith with Mum on the grass (50 years from the earlier  photograph above), with  Dad -  plus my brother oblivious to it all!
Me - enjoying the sun in Nantucket, Massachusetts, 1966. 

Onto 1981 and the back garden of our home in Hawick in the Scottish Borders.  It is summer and this is my first attempt (and virtually the last)  at cooking on a barbecue, but my efforts fell foul of the weather - hence the umbrella. Did I really need that watering can there as a health & safty measure?   I hunted all over  for  this photograph for a recent prompt but found it last week in the loft, so am pleased to put it to good use here! 

1998  - a lovely family group of three generations, taken after my brother's (second) wedding - and yes he did wear that red shirt for the occasion. 
Dad in the middle, with my niece and daughter seated.

my little granddaughter enjoying her back garden.

Happy family photographs that make me smile!

Click HERE to see more blogger tales of fences, sheds and back yards

Copyright © 2014 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved


  1. I can see why thes pictures would bring a smile to your face; there is so much to enjoy here. You’ve given us a wonderful range of garden and backyard photos from sepia to recent times.

  2. I love the photo of you barbecuing with an umbrella. It looks like you had a fairly large yard and garden there.

  3. Wonderful pictures! I especially like the one of your Mom & Aunt Edith as little girls in the garden. The Nantucket shot of you in the chaise lounge isn't too shabby, either! I love the look of those Nantucket houses. And, of course, the snap of you holding an umbrella over the BBQ is priceless! :)))

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    1. Great family memories, and the old photograph of your aunt and mother is very sweet, but I'd be surprised if they were allowed to play in those pretty long dresses after their photo was taken. Were you looking for that BBQ shot for the apron prompt?

      6 March 2014 02:09

  5. First of all, yes, you needed that watering can for the BBQ. We keep a spray bottle of water handy not for emergencies but to control the flames in order to control the heat for proper BBQ-ing.
    And second, I'm laughing at your understanding of "backyard" because my understanding of "garden" is the reverse. I keep hearing "garden" used broadly to mean any plot of ground behind the house or around the house. However, to me a garden is a special designated spot for vegetables or for flowers.

  6. Fun to see all kinds of "backyards" and "gardens" but most especially that your family gatherings shared smiles too.

  7. They are great photos but the umbrella and watering can barbecue photo is absolutely priceless. It seems more an Australian photo than a British one !

  8. Such a change in backyards with time and place.

  9. Sad that you haven't had much success with barbecues - they are so easy nowadays with the convenient gas barbecues, and little to clean up afterwards.

  10. Fun to see the back gardens over time

  11. They made me smile too, especially the barbeque in the rain!

  12. I've always thought of a back yard as being a place without grass, garden (flowers/vegetable) with a hard surface (not a patio). Now I'm confused by the different interpretation. What your marvelous photos have shown are gardens to me.

  13. Boy, "backyard" and "garden" certainly are different terms in different countries -- makes me think of my late mother, who, one morning in London, was horrified to learn she'd be "knocked up" at 7:30 in the morning!

  14. I grew up with a 'big backyard' - about 3000 acres, so can't imagine those little English 'backyards'. I love the BBQ with the umbrella - must show my BBQ-mad husband that one!

  15. What fun photos you've shared. It's especially a treat seeing all these various styles, with gardens too. I like you and your umbrella too!

  16. Great collection --and sense of history. I particularly liked the first one of your grandparents -- just delightful..

  17. What a glamorous photo of yourself in 1966 on that outdoor chair! That's just awesome!

  18. Thank you to everyone for their kind comments. This was a great post to pull together and I am glad I found the "barbecue" photo to add to the fun - yes Jo - it was originally destined for the "apron" prompt, but I could not find it then.

  19. What a blessing to have family photos from so many generations back!

  20. A great collection for the theme. It's interesting to see the way family generations chose the same position of pose for the camera.

  21. I must say, coming from the vast expanses of western America, the typical English back yards seemed awfully claustrophobic when I first saw them!

  22. Old photos are great fun aren't they? I find myself enjoying them more and more, and now the backgrounds are just as interesting as the subject. I enjoyed visiting the back yards of the various generations.


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