Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history through photographs.
Before the days of popular indoor flash photography, no pictures exist of my family celebrating birthdays and Christmas. So weddings were the main opportunity for group photographs and each tells a unique story.
I had aspirations of grandeur - I always wanted to have a formal family photograph of three or four generations as epitomized in royal photographs. However it was not to be. Here is the nearest I come to that ambition - a photograph of my great grandmother's sister, Jane Riley, nee Rawcliffe of Fleetwood, Lancashire with her son, George, grandson Jack and great grandson, baby George. Jane was the second of eight Rawcliffe daughters, though three died in infancy. She and her sister Jennet married two brothers Thomas and Richard Riley. Jane died in 1926.
Other family photographs in their own way each tell a story. Below is one of my favourites. Taken in 1916 as my grandfather was going to war, it shows my grandmother Alice Danson, nee English, with their four children - Edith, Kathleen (my mother), Harry and baby Billy. Another daughter Peggy was born in 1922. Did Granddad take this photograph with him to Flanders? From there he sent to Alice and his children many embroidered cards which remain among my family treasures.
1929 - and the marriage of my Great Aunt Jennie Danson . Jennie was the baby of the fmaily - the only daughter born after eight sons, with the eldest of her many brothers - Robert giving her away (on the far left). The little bridesmaid at the front was my Aunt Peggy and on the right Jennie's eldest niece Annie, whose mother died of TB when she was a year old, and whose father died in the First World War.
The local newspaper report gave an over-the-top account of Jennie's dress:
" stylishly gowned in French grey georgette, veiling silk to tone. The bodice which was shaped to the figure was quite plain, with a spray of orange blossoms at the shoulder, while the skirt, which was ankle length, was composed entirely of five picot edged scalloped circular frills, and the long tight sleeves had circular picot edged frilled cuffs in harmony. Her hat was of georgette to tone with uneven pointed dropping brim, having an eye veil of silver lace and floral mount. She carried a bouquet of pink carnations with silver ribbon and horseshoe attached."
I have very few photograph of my father's family and this one is a rarity that only came to me recently through a distant connection of my cousin. It is 1930 and the wedding of my Uncle Fred Weston. My father (looking very serious) is on the left, holding that large hat with his younger brother brother Charles behind. I guess that one of the bridesmaids must surely be Madge the only daughter of the family. My grandmother Weston is in the cloche hat next to Fred, and is that behind her my grandfather with his face partially hidden? I just don't know.Onto 1938 and this is the only photograph where I can identify my paternal grandfather It was taken in the garden of my mother's home, after my parent's wedding with Mum's parents (William and Alice Danson) on the left and my father's parents on the right (Mary and Albert Weston) - unfortunately again not a particularly good image with grandfather Weston in the sun.
A happy family group of the Danson family - Edith, youngest daughter Peggy, my grandparents William and Alice, son Harry and my mother Kathleen, with youngest son Billy missing. The three sisters enjoyed fashion and made their own clothes on a treadle sewing machine (the house did not have electricity until the mid 1950's!
This photograph was a puzzle, as I never asked questions about it when I could have done. My guess as to the occasion rests on Uncle Harry wearing the carnation Was this his short-lived wartime wedding? Through snatches of conversation I picked up as a child, I became aware that he had at some time married and was divorced - all very hush, hush in those days, swept under the carpet and certainly never openly mentioned.
It was only after his death, I found the papers confirming a marriage on 11th June 1940 and divorce in 1947. The marriage date is significant as Uncle Harry was one of the thousands of troops evacuated from Dunkirk on the flotilla of small ships between 27th May and 4th June 1940. Yet here he was married some ten days later.
Another wartime picture of my grandmother, Alice Danson with her youngest daughter Peggy who served in the WAAF on a barrage balloon station, her son-in-law my father. serving in the RAF Code & Ciphers Division and, with his Italian born wife, youngest son Billy who served in the navy.
1946 and the families gather for a postwar winter wedding of my uncle Charles Weston. I am the shivering little bridesmaid holding up my giant posy. My father and mother (looking very elegant) stand behind me, with my grandmother Weston to her left. This marked a period of happiness for Charles after years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. .And finally another memorable family group as this is the only photograph I have of my mother with her three grandchildren together, taken in 1981.
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