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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Sepia Saturday - A Tale of Two Ediths.

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

A picture of two little girls could only prompt  me to feature the photographs of my mother, Kathleen  and aunt Edith Danson - born one year and one week apart in 1907 and 1908, daughters of William Danson and Alice English of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashireplus on my cousin's side,  the tale of Edith Nancy Oldham  in New Zealand.

Playing in the garden - The Danson Sisters 
Edith (seated on the wicker chair) and  Kathleen, c.1914

Edith and Kathleen, 1916.

 How on earth did they keep those big bows in their short, straight hair.  I strongly suspect that this photograph (part of a larger family group)  was taken for my grandfather going to war in 1916.   
Aunt Edith was the eldest,  born on 2nd September 1907. I think of her as one of line of "Feisty Danson Females" and she was fond of regaling me with stories of the family and her life in teaching. She was the only one in the family to win a scholarship to Fleetwood Grammar School, riding the four miles on her bike in all weathers. She became a teacher at Burn Naze School in Thornton (a poor area of town the time), kept home for her father and brother, travelled widely, even to Russia in Iron Curtain days, and married for the first time at the aged 73. You can tell from her photographs that she was someone who enjoyed life.   Aunt Edith, was, of course, my godmother and took on the role with great gusto at all stages of my life. 

Her sister Kathleen (my mother) was born 8th September 1908 and was the more reserved sister. She was apprenticed as a tailoress at the age of 14, and  I have been proud to give tributes to her in other postings such as  Happiness is Stitching.


Below a happy picture from my cousin's collection.  The two girls in their knitted dresses  are Dorothy Lilla Oldham (1915-1989) and Edith Nancy Oldham  (1920-2012),  daughters of James William Oldham. and Edith Keymer. 

James' parents Alfred Oldham and Sarah Cross emigrated to  New Zealand in 1906, where they ran a wholesale tobacconists and stationery business on Karangahape Road,  Auckland. 

After the death of James William, the whole family moved to Sydney Australia and  most of their descendants still live in the area. Dorothy Lilla married Desmond Stacey and had seven children, the eldest son, Peter, born in Fiji.  Edith Nancy married William Sawyer and had five children

The Oldham Sisters - Dorothy Lilia and Edith Nancy, c.1922

Click HERE to see more family photos
 from fellow Sepia Saturday bloggers.



  1. Charming pictures of two little girls. Edith and Kathleen look very solemn in the picture taken before their father went to war.

  2. Those two in the knitted outfits look so jolly I had to smile.

  3. Lovely pen portraits to accompany the charming photos. I have to admire the two knitted dresses as well!

  4. Love the photos and the knitted dresses. And the bonnets in the first photo. Gusto is a great thing to have in a godmother. I envy you the experience of having her swooping in and out of your life and I'm sure being a role model.

  5. It seems like all little girls of the time wore big bows, but I never thought about how the kept them on. Maybe with a barrette?

  6. Your Aunt Edith and your mother were just lovely little girls -- those big bows were pretty popular!

  7. Wonderful photos of your Mom & aunt & little girls of your extended family. Those round-faced little girls in the knit dresses almost look like dolls except for the older one's rather droll expression. Your Mom in that first photo looks a lot like your daughter when she was young, & also bears a marked resemblance to your granddaughter! :)

  8. wonderful pictures and memories. Knitted dresses were popular again when I grew up in the 1950s.

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  10. The secret to the bows was an elastic band around a section of the hair, then the ribbon threaded through the elastc - at least in my house as a child.

  11. Having a sister and being the mother of 2 girls, I always enjoy stories and photos of sisters. These did not disappoint.

  12. Your grandmother must have enjoyed dressing her girls similarly, as did the mother of two little unidentified sisters I've blogged about this week. Very sweet photos.

  13. Aunt Edith sounds like a lot of fun.

  14. Lovely photos! But the last one I would have guessed were Norwegian girls without your description.

  15. I love the picture of the girls with the big bows, it so reminds me of similar pictures taken at a similar time of my mother.


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