Monday, 29 January 2018

Photographs from the past

I always enjoy a good rummage in dusty old boxes in junk/antique shops to see what I can unearth. I had a good look a few weeks ago in my local antique shop and I found these beauties. I spent quite some time deciding which to have. I couldn't afford to buy them all and I do find abandoned photos touching. I don't like to think that no one cares about the people photographed any longer and I always think that I need to rescue them. That is coupled with the fact that I love seeing fashions worn by real people in the past. So here are the choices I made:

Edith Dolan 1940's
One fantastic thing about these photos is that most of them had names written on the back and I do like to be able to put a name to a face. Many of them also had date stamps which is so very useful, especially for the starts and ends of decades where the fashions of one are merging into the new fashions the next and clothes alone aren't always enough to go on.

Isn't she just perfect?! Amazing hair, the arches on her eyebrows, glimmering pearl studs, puff sleeved jumper. I think the jumper is a hand knit and it looks to have dark thin stripes knitted in from the bust down. I think I have a similar pattern. I would love to know more about her.

Winnie Gibson and Douglas 1940's
Winnie's hat stopped me in my tracks and she went into the 'must keep' pile straight away. It is pretty amazing and so very big! Her dress is worth a good look too with those big round buttons on the shoulders and the diagonal stripes that cross at the bust. I wish I could see the rest of it. Douglas looks rather jolly and very smart in his uniform. I hope they came through the war unscathed and were happy together.

Ethel Booth 1920's
Ethel Booth 1920's
I couldn't leave Ethel behind for two reasons. One is that I found two photos of her and I wanted to keep them together. The other is her gorgeous 1920's day wear. I particularly like the first dress, the second is very pretty but a bit floaty for me. The first however, is one that I can imagine wearing. It appears to be a leaf print with a central white bib in the front and a long, pointed collar. Lovely shoes too.

I think Ethel is older in the second photo. Her face has slightly changed shape, her eyes are more defined like she may have some make up on and she has waved her hair. Her floral print dress has pointy, plain cuffs and collar. The floral fabric appears to be see through with a slip underneath, I think the slip is lace trimmed. Great shoes again. I can't quite see what she is holding but I think it is a beaded purse and so that is what it shall be.

Elsie Godard 26th October 1930
Bob and Elsie Godard 6th April 1931
I think Elsie Godard is such a glamorous beauty and I was so pleased to find two photos of her. I just love the top one; the casually knotted pearls, the big fur collar, the sparkle from the ring, the waved hair and that beret. It looks to be tweed, possibly with a bow at the back. I want it.

It is a bonus to get to see whole of her coat in the second photo; I'm sure it is the same one. I would like to know why they are in their outdoor clothes. Are they pretending that they lived in or visited the thatched cottage on the painted backdrop? Elsie looks more set for town than country to me though. Elsie still has her pearls on and I'm wondering if that is a dress clip on her cloche? Her shoes are marvellous too, with white edged bow shaped cut outs on the front.

Bob appears to be in a rather nice three piece wool suit, I can just about see his waistcoat. I like his big turn ups on his trousers. Nice tartan scarf too. I would like to know more about them.

Hilda and I 1920's
On the back of this photo it looks like the writer (I), on the left,  has written that they were 15 and a half and that Hilda is 17. I found out who was who as the next few photos are clearly labelled as Hilda. I think from their positioning that this is Hilda with her sister and I will come back to this in a couple of photos time.

I do like these dresses. You can clearly see the dropped waist of the one on the left, it is marked by several rows of small pleats. From the waist down the skirt are decorations which look rather like rosebuds. These appear to go all the way around the skirt. Hilda's dress has printed flowers and leaves which seem to reach just above waist level. There is a lace insert in the V neck. They both have lovely pearl necklaces and Hilda is spotting some very pretty, glittery star slides in her hair.

Hilda Price 11th April 1931
I would like to know what Hilda is thinking here; she has an interesting expression. I like her smartly belted coat with the big buckle and the thick fur collar with the corsage pinned on. I think her hat is woven fabric though it is hard to tell.

Florrie and Hilda Price 1930's

This was taken on 1st November but I can't read the year of the date stamp sadly. I think it is safe to assume that they are sisters. I am certain that Florrie is the I in the first photo with Hilda.  I have studied them a lot to make the connections. I like the matching huge bead necklaces and the carefully set hair. Hilda could well be wearing the same coat as in the previous photo.

Hilda 7th My 1939
Another interesting expression. What were you pondering Hilda? This photo really has something about it. Here she is a few years older, still liking a big pearl like necklace and a fur collared coat and a star shaped hair clip.

Hilda and hubby 1930's
I loved finding this and realising that I had photos of Hilda from her teenage years to her wedding. The back of the photo just said hubby, so sadly we don't know his name. I'm surprised that the writer didn't say having been so good at writing the names in the first place.

It is a perfect vintage wedding photo. Floor length veil, gigantic bouquet, beautiful full length, long sleeved dress and the groom is carrying his white gloves. I hope they were very happy.

Hilda Price and hubby
I nearly left this one when I first found it as it isn't my kind of thing and as I said I couldn't buy them all. But then I realised it was Hilda and it kind of finished her story off for me. I want this to be a honeymoon memento and I really think it could be. It was taken in a studio that has two branches, one in London and one in Blackpool. I'm so sure that Blackpool is where this was taken, it just feels right!

I think that these photos all came from one person's collection. I wish we knew the links between them all.


  1. How cool that you've been able to keep the photos together. I like the story of Hilda and hubby.

    Do you think the diagonal stripes on Winnie's dress are stripes of colour, or could they be pintucks?

    1. I'm glad to have kept them all together. I think the stripes are colour but it is really hard to tell, I think pin tucks are a definite possibility.

  2. LOVE!!! You know me and vintage photos :) I too feel like I need to rescue them and share with the world so they are never forgotten (and to also see how the fashions were). I adore the ones you chose, excellent choices!

    Great post :) :)

    1. I thought that you might like these ones Liz! Glad you enjoyed them.

  3. Amazing photos and I love the whole story you can see in the ones with Hilda. Her pre-wedding photos are incredible, her face is so haunting and it makes you wonder what was going on behind those eyes. Her wedding and (hopefully) honeymoon photos show a very different version of her, she looks so happy.

    I also love Elsie, particularly in the close up shot. When you posted it on Instagram I actually thought she was a relative of yours as your face is very similar in shape to hers. Her hat is gorgeous and yes, I want it too!

    1. Oh, and I've just realised that the close up photo of Elsie was taken exactly 43 years to the day before I was born. That's cool! xx

    2. I'm glad you enjoyed looking at them. I do think young Hilda is rather mysterious, I wish we could know more. I thought that you would appreciate Elsie's hat. I am off to look at both our faces now! I like the fact about your birthday and the photo date.

  4. Someone called Ethel Booth made one of our Welcome Home tablecloths - wouldn't it be wonderful if your photos are of the same person? She would be about the right age - she was a teenager during WW1.

    1. That is fascinating. I so want your Ethel and my Ethel to be the same.

  5. Wow! What an amazing treasure! I so enjoyed looking at these photos- it's so nice to see what people actually wore then, and I love Hilda's style so much. Thank-you so much for sharing with us all!