Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Unknown Family

I haven't done a Sepia Saturday prompt for an age but hopefully I'll get back in the swing of things this week with the theme of the unknown and nameless family.  Those enigmatic photographs whose stories and people we do not know like this one
in the Gardner family album. My father was always prompted his mother in law to write the names in the albums whenever she got books out. Happily she did, under duress, write on some of the photographs but even she did not know all the faces.  I have chosen this photograph because it is the only one in the book which is from Burnley, a place which I have no knowledge of any of the family coming from.  I would guess this is a Grandmother with her granddaughters, a memento perhaps because they do not live nearby.  Apart from Grandmother's fine Victorian posture they look a relaxed group and I think there is affection in the portrait, one girl resting are arm on her Grannie's shoulder.  
The photographer's details are on the back "all negatives are kept", wouldn't that be a thing to find, all neatly catalogued.  Dream on.  I had a look to see what Healey Wood Road looked like and it turned out to be a typical Lancashire terraced house street but I also found someone who was doing some research on David Brooks and discovered, through them,  that the Brooks families lived at 11, 14 and 18 Healey Wood Road for a number of censuses, David Brooks appearing on the 1891 census as a photographer.  This ties in nicely with the back of this card because as can be seen bottom left it is a Marion & Co*  design. These designs for the back of carte de visite and cabinet cards from 1870 onwards were sold to photographers all over England. This particular design and the number on the bottom right dates the card to between 1892-4 so although I still don't know who the family is I do know the dates the photograph was taken. If we go back to the Brooks family their daughters in 1881 were cotton weavers which as Burnley was at the heart of  cotton mills country (at one time having 99,000 power looms) would have been very common but by 1891 the daughter of the family were dressmakers.  I wonder what the girls in the photo went on to do. 

Source:-
  
   

15 comments:

Kathy Hart said...

I, too, often wonder about 'all those negatives' that are 'kept.' I even visited one of the addresses on the back of one of my cabinet photos when I was in Cornwall last year. The pub that now stands there didn't have any negatives :)

tony said...

Interestingly .I live quite near Burnley & my brother lives in the town.Quite strange to think I may well have bumped into relatives of these folk.

Alex Daw said...

Such a beautiful photo. How frustrating not to know who they are...

Bob Scotney said...

A fine old photo for the 'hunt the negative' game as well as name the unknown.

Alan Burnett said...

Yes, as with Tony, Burnley is just up the road from me. And Great Aunt Eliza Beanland was living in Burnley around the time this photo must have been taken - what do they say about six degrees of separation.

Little Nell said...

It's a lovely photo and you've already found out more than I ever would; well done. I too wondered in my post about what the children went on to do.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

What a neat photo, they look happy and relaxed.

Welcome back!

Kathy M.

Postcardy said...

That is an interesting cap that the woman is wearing.

Kathy Morales said...

A wonderful old photograph and interesting headwear. I hope you find out who they were.

Karen S. said...

Welcome back! Wouldn't it be fun to know their ending stories!

Boobook said...

It's a lovely photo.

Brett Payne said...

I suspect the portrait is a little earlier than suggested, perhaps from the late 1880s, judging by the clothing.

barbara and nancy said...

I love to see the gorgeous artwork on the back of these vintage photos.
Nancy

Dave said...

Old photos are fascinating Joy, specially of people. The one you show, being of people unknown leaves a lot for the imagination, with thoughts of who they may be , as you suggested. Thanks for showing them - Dave

Wendy said...

It's nice to see a relaxed pose in a studio photo. Such a pleasant change from those stuffy poses that seem to be more common.