Lovekin Family Photos Reunited!

I am returning to my blog after a long absence with some very happy news. My last project involved photographs and paperwork relating to the Lovekin Family and I am excited to say that Jenny, the granddaughter of Margaret Jane Lovekin, has contacted me and will be reunited with these precious family documents!

Jenny has provided a lot of background information about her family, though she can only speculate why her Granny (or other family member) might have hidden the Gladstone bag and it’s contents under the floorboards. So that mystery continues.

Less mysterious though, thanks to Jenny, is the identity of a girl called Mollie. I had planned to write a full blog post about Mollie because she is named on two ‘photo postcards’, which are both extremely charming:

Mollie and Family a close up

In this first image Mollie is on the left and appears to be with her family, presumably her mother and grandparents. She doesn’t look happy! In fact, Mollie had been crying, as explained on the back of the card: ‘This was taken by an amateur so it’s not as good as it might be, but still it’s us. Mollie has a great objection to the camera and had a good cry before this was taken.

The second postcard is a studio portrait of Mollie when she was a little older. On the back is written ‘With Mollie’s love to Uncle Joe and Aunty Sarah‘. Mollie’s age is given as 7 1/2:


But just who is Mollie and how does she relate to the Lovekins?

Jenny has provided the answer. Mollie’s full name is Hester Mary Fallows, and she was born in 1892 in Shifnal, Shropshire. In 1920 she married William Lovekin, the middle child of John Lovekin and Alice Dean (see this post for a family tree). Mollie is therefore Jenny’s great aunt by marriage!

Mollie can also be seen in another of the photographs, as identified by Jenny, this time attending the wedding of son Henry John Lovekin (a.k.a. Jack) in 1949:

Wedding of Mr & Mrs Jack Lovekin 1949Written on reverse: Mr & Mrs Jack Lovekin, married 1949

Hester Fallows & William Lovekin 1949Proud parents Mollie (Hester Fallows) & William Lovekin, standing behind the bridesmaids

Jenny remembers visiting ‘Auntie Mollie and Uncle Billy’ in Wolverhampton, when she was a child. The photographs have brought back a lot of memories for her.

Finally, in a previous post I included a ‘four generation’ photograph of the Dean/Lovekin family, and Jenny has kindly provided a later ‘four generation’ photograph that includes herself as a child, alongside her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother Alice Dean!

4generationL –> R: Margaret Cromb nee Lovekin (grandmother); Jenny Stroud; Joyce Mary Stroud nee Cromb (mother); Alice Lovekin nee Dean (great-grandmother). Photograph taken at Crackley Bank, Shifnal, circa 1952/3.

Thank you Jenny, for contacting me, sharing your stories and photographs, and for generally brightening an otherwise difficult time. I look forward to meeting you, pandemic-permitting!

An Odd Coincidence!

coincidence 1

The above photograph was sent to me by Val Erde (with grateful thanks!). Val saw the photograph of John Lovekin and Alice Dean in my previous post and it reminded her of this postcard, which has been part of her own collection for some time.

Here is a reminder of the photograph in my blog post:

John Lovekin & Alice Dean small

The likeness between the two couples is uncanny, don’t you think? Val and I have speculated that they might even be the same people! I have to tell you, it sent shivers up my spine when I saw it, because that would be a coincidence indeed. Particularly as the Lovekin photographs in my possession have lain unseen for many years, and have not passed through anyone else’s hands.

coincidence 2
The back of Val’s postcard

Close inspection is needed to determine if the likeness is real or superficial. So far, much as I would love it to be John and Alice in Val’s photograph, we are both agreed that ‘the jury is out’. So we would welcome your opinions and observations.

Here is the lady on the postcard, alongside Alice Dean from the various photographs that I have of her. Obviously there is an age difference. Alice Dean was born in 1865 and the portrait second from left is the only one with a date (1923), making Alice 57 or thereabouts:

alice comparison

If I understand correctly, postcards with a divided back were first introduced in the UK around 1902. If this is Alice Dean, then she would be at least 37 years old in Val’s photograph, with a possible twenty year difference between the first two images.

For me, the most striking similarities are the glasses, the centre parting (in the first two photographs), face shape and the thin upper lip. A major difference lies in the eyes, although this might be due to squinting into the sun? The ears look different too.

Next, I have placed the man from Val’s postcard alongside portraits of John Lovekin. It is much more difficult to make a comparison this time, not least because two of the portraits come from grainy newspaper images. Plus, the cap has shaded John’s eyes in the second image:

comparison john

Similarities are beard, face shape and nose. Differences include the eyebrows, which appear to slope upwards to the bridge of the nose in the case of John Lovekin, though it might only be the deep shadows giving this impression. Val pointed out that the ears look quite different, with John Lovekin’s right ear appearing to have a pronounced dent in it. Left and right ears can differ on the same person though, so again this isn’t conclusive.

When putting these photo montages together, I spent some time overlaying all of the faces and was struck by how accurately the proportions seem to ‘fit’. Nose length, distance between eyes and general face shape are all very similar.

Unfortunately, the handwriting on the back of the postcard doesn’t provide any clues, being quite dissimilar to the limited amount of writing on the back of Lovekin related documents and photographs.

Thank you again, Val, for contacting me with your photograph.

Have we missed anything? Val and I would love to know what you think!

Grannie Alice Dean

Grannie Peggy Jack Brian
Written on the reverse: Grannie, Peggy, Jack & Brian

I began to look closely at faces in the photographs, in an effort to make sense of the information I was gathering. The lovely old photograph above has ‘Grannie, Peggy, Jack & Brian’ written on the reverse. Useful, but who exactly are they? Luckily, this particular Grannie appears in several other photographs too, and the man next to her in the image below shares a strong likeness with John Lovekin b1859:

John Lovekin & Alice Dean comparison
Unnamed photograph of ‘Grannie’, plus close up of the man & scan of John Lovekin from a named newspaper article

Could this Grannie be Alice Dean, wife of John Lovekin? If so, she was born 1865 in Sheriffhales, Shropshire, and is present (with her husband) on the 1939 census in nearby Shifnal.

Among the documents in this collection is a newspaper clipping for the funeral of Mr Alfred Tucker, dated July 1939. Alfred was the husband of Alice Dean’s eldest daughter, Annie, and the names ‘Peggy Tucker (daughter)’ and ‘Jack and Brian’ are mentioned in his obituary. These are the names on the original photograph. Going back to the family tree, the grandchildren of Alice Dean that best fit these names are shown below. Note that ‘Peggy’ is often used as the diminutive of the name Margaret, ‘Jack’ the diminutive of John, and I am willing to bet that the initial ‘B’ in William B. Lovekin’s name stands for ‘Brian’!

Therefore the photograph at the top of this post dates from around 1933 to 1934, with Alice Dean nearly 60 years old when it was taken.

Lovekin tree 3

A further interesting photograph is the one below, described on the back as ‘4 generations, 1923’. The woman on the left is almost certainly a younger Alice Dean, and I initially assumed the older woman to be her mother, Margaret Evans, born around 1828. However there is a death record for a ‘Margaret Dean’ in 1922, registered in Shifnal, Shropshire. Perhaps I have the wrong death, or perhaps the date on the photograph is wrong? In my eyes at least, Alice and the older woman share a likeness. Further investigation is required!

four generations 1923
Written on the reverse: 4 generations, 1923

The younger woman is possibly Annie Lovekin, with her daughter Peggy (Margaret Lucy Tucker). I think it is a charming image, and I can’t help but wonder who the woman in the background is?

Lastly, here is a later image of Alice Dean with an (as yet) unidentified woman:

Possibly Alice Dean (R)

I would hazard a guess that it was taken in the mid 1950s, with Alice in her 80s at the time. The window on the left is the same style as that in the photograph taken with husband John Lovekin, and it may also be the same house in the ‘4 generation’ photograph. John and Alice lived at Crackley Bank, Shifnal and from the few images I have seen and shared here, it appears to have been a very happy home indeed.

The Lovekin Family: A Macclesfield Connection

Margaret Lovekin 1949
Written on the reverse: Margaret, Joyce, Basil and Mrs Stroud, 1949

The photographs and documents described in my previous post were discovered in a house in Macclesfield. However the Lovekin family originated in Shropshire, so how did these items come to be there? The answer lies with the family of John Lovekin b.1859:

Lovekin Tree 2

John Lovekin and his wife Alice Dean had three children: Annie, William and Margaret. All three were born in Sheriffhales, Shropshire. However Margaret and her husband, William James Cromb, can be found on the 1939 census living at Round Knoll Farm, Macclesfield, Cheshire. Furthermore, the 1985 death and probate records for Margaret confirm her birth-date as given on the census, and the Macclesfield address that she subsequently moved to. This later address is precisely where the bag was found!

So I believe this collection was the property of Margaret Jane Lovekin. I can positively identify Margaret in only one of the photographs, which I have placed at the top of this post. Margaret stands on the left, next to her daughter Joyce Cromb, with her son-in-law Basil Stroud on the far right. I assume ‘Mrs Stroud’ is Basil’s mother. What a happy image it is!

Another happy photograph was taken the previous year, at the marriage of Joyce Cromb and Basil Stroud, with Margaret and her husband William standing on the right:

Mr & Mrs Stroud 1948
Written on the reverse of a similar photograph: Mr & Mrs Stroud, 1948

Please note that I have deliberately omitted various details from this post because the events are relatively recent. But my next post will include a few interesting, older images, plus some that are connected to Margaret’s mother, the Dean family.

The Lovekin Family of Sheriffhales

gladstone bag

This lovely old Gladstone bag was recently gifted to me. It was found during a house renovation in Macclesfield, Cheshire, and contains a bundle of family photographs together with numerous paper documents. The bag appears to have lain undiscovered for the past 35 years, with the latest date on any of the documents being 1985.

Some of the photographs have names on the back, from which I have been able to piece together a family tree. The earliest image is a very worn carte de visite, inscribed on the back with ‘Grannie Lovekin 1850 – aged 26 years’:

Grannie Lovekin - small

A close up reveals that Grannie is wearing flowers in her hair and, to me, her stern expression makes her look older than she really is:

grannie lovekin - close up

Records reveal that ‘Grannie’ was Sarah Farmer, born around 1823 in the village of Sheriffhales, Shropshire. She married William Lovekin in 1858 and together they had three children:

Lovekin Tree 1

The eldest child, John, provides our link to this collection of photographs, and happily there are two newspaper cuttings about John Lovekin that provide more information. One cutting is from the Express and Star, dated 24 November 1925, which contains the full length portrait shown below. At this time Mr Lovekin had been a chorister for 60 years, a bell-ringer for 50 years and Parish Clerk for 40 years, which the newspaper claims as a record. To mark the occasion, a ‘bronze tablet’ was placed in the Church tower recording the ‘first peal ever rung on the bells in honour of Mr Lovekin’s long service’.

Perhaps a visiter to this blog will know if the bronze tablet still exists in Sheriffhales Church?

John Lovekin Newspaper Clippings

The second article is undated but presumably comes from 1935, since John Lovekin had by this time been a chorister for 70 years! On this occasion a ‘John Lovekin Testimonial Fund’ was raised. Obviously someone in the family was very proud of John Lovekin’s achievements to keep these precious newspaper cuttings safe all this time.

My next blog post will shed some light on how the Gladstone bag and its contents came to be in Macclesfield, and I am hoping that descendants of this family might stumble across this site!

Arrighi Photos Reunited!

I never intended to be away from this blog for so long (family commitments) but here we are, many months since my last post. As my mum used to say, ‘better late than never’!

During my absence something wonderful happened that I just have to share with you. Jenny from Lincolnshire contacted me regarding photographs of the Arrighi family, which I posted prior to my inpromptu break. Jenny had instantly recognised them because she is the grand-daughter of James Arrighi. In fact, it is Jenny’s own hand-writing on the back of some of the photographs. They were in her possession until a few years ago when she moved house and were somehow mislaid. It is a mystery how they ended up in the batch of images I purchased last year, but as you can expect, she was very happy to see them again.

Jenny and I met shortly after our initial contact and I was able to reunite her with the family photos, which was a privilege and a thrill for me because it is, after all, the reason I keep this blog.

I also learned a little more about the Arrighi family. For instance, Benedetto Louis Arrighi (Jenny’s great-grandfather) was known in the family as Luigi, not Louis. And there is a charming family notebook that contains the handwriting of his daughter Isabella Richardson Arrighi (b.1869), who Jenny agrees could be the elegant lady in the portrait discussed in this blog post. Jenny sent me an image of Isabella Richardson Arrighi aged about 28 (below left), which I have placed alongside the later portrait:

Another gem that Jenny shared is a letter to James Arrighi. It provides a flavour of the duties that James undertook in his role as Clerk of Works at Castle Ashby, and the esteem in which he was held. I particularly like the story about the splinter that came from a broken toilet seat! Transcribed extracts from the letter below contain the original spellings:

Letter copy
First page of letter to James Arrighi (undated)

Dear Sir

I am very sorry to trouble you again but I have had one tin of Green Paint 1 tin of red. I have had 5 doors in one house to do and I have not enough … man said it will take 1 more tin then that will do it and 1 tin of red as the doors have not been painted red outside for a long time Sir and they are very dry(?) as I have had both houses painted and papered it has been an expense … if it goes on allright he will send you a bit of Pork then if you like it for your kindness he is so pleased with it

Sir I must thank you very much Sir for the pig sty as John Wooford and Mr. Maunsey(?) have done it well and been as you done it for us my Uncle wished me to thank you Sir and he is  (?)8 years of age and he byked over to Mr. Shan to get the pigs as he said you people were good to have it done and he thought he would have the pigs off his Lordship as one good turn deserves another Sir

I mentioned the lavetorys to Mr Crew … Sir if I could get a new seat as it is all Welline(?) eaten and gone very bad. My boy sat on {it and} he had a splint enter in his seat and I had to put boracic lint on and bathe it

Dear Sir I must leave it to you Sir I hope you are keeping better So now I must close

from Mrs Mawby Denton

Mawby Denton

I briefly searched for Mrs Denton but suspect her name isn’t ‘Mawby’ (the best I can decipher from her writing). Any thoughts?

Thank you Jenny, for sharing this information. It was a real pleasure to meet you and reunite you with your photographs!

Hats and Smiles

Photo Booth images

It seems appropriate on this sunny Sunday, to share this set of six photographs of friends having fun in Blackpool. I love their cloche hats and delightful expressions. I imagine them strolling along the sea-side promenade, stopping for ice-cream or candy floss, perhaps giggling as a young man or two nods a wink at them, and then capturing the happy moment in a photo booth.

According to the following advertisement, Blackpool had several photo booths (or Photomatons) to choose from in the late 1920s. Still a relatively new experience, it must have felt exciting and novel to record the memories in this way. After all, there were no selfies in those days!

Nelson Leader - Friday 28 June 1929
Nelson Leader – Friday 28 June 1929 (Image © Johnston Press plc.)

Newspaper clipping courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive; The British Library Board.

Arrighi Portraits

Staying with the Arrighi family, these portraits and photographs are all labelled. I won’t say too much about them, but would love to receive contact from anyone who is interested, recognises or is related to this family!

Some of the images are clickable, for larger versions.

William Hunter Arrighi (b.1910)

William Hunter Arrighi cropped

William Hunter Arrighi small

Middle son of James Arrighi (see previous post), the inscription on the back of this portrait says WA – Taken in Rugby – age about 19. He is easily recognisable from the family photograph, which must have been taken around the same time.

James Norman Louis Arrighi (b.1908)

James Norman Louis Arrighi cropped

James Norman Louis Arrighi portrait

The eldest of the three sons of James Arrighi, the inscription on the back simply says Norman Arrighi. It was taken by S H Greenway of Northampton and, like his brother above, Norman is easily recognisable from the family photograph in my previous post.

Another portrait (below) shows Norman at a slightly older age.

James Norman Louis Arrighi portrait

Mr Arrighi

Mr Arrighi

Mr Arrighi - back of photo


Copied from a photograph, this print is mounted on a large board and bears a sticker for J. C. Matheson, Chemist, 27 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh. The pencilled writing is difficult to read, but having searched the newspaper archives my best guess would be Mr Arrighi – 44 Merchiston Avenue. The address was first occupied by Louis John Arrighi b.1863 (brother of James Arrighi) and later by his son, Frederick Wilson Brown Arrighi b.1906. I think it likely that Mr Arrighi is in fact Fred(erick), who can be found at Merchiston Avenue in the British Telephone Directories during the late 1920s and 1930s.

I think he bears more than a passing resemblance to his cousins above, don’t you?


Information was gathered from the British Newspaper ArchiveAncestry and Scotland’s People.


Arrighi Family

James Arrighi and Family (1)

James Arrighi and Family (2)

Two separate photographs of the Arrighi family, from the same bundle but mounted on different card.

The upper image was presumably in a large presentation folder, but the protective cover has been removed. It was taken by John Mills, 10 St. Giles Street, Northampton and has a lovely sepia tone. The lower image is mounted on stiff card and trimmed to the size of the actual photograph. It is black and white and shows quite a lot of wear. I prefer the sepia tone, which renders the details more finely.

You might recognise the man on the right of the photograph from my previous blog post. It is James Arrighi, looking a little older but still as smartly dressed. His handsome family consists of his wife, Agnes Reid Hunter, and their four children. Louis Alfred Arrighi, the youngest child, is sitting between his parents. He was born in 1914, which dates the photograph to the late 1920s.

Standing at the back from left to right are William Hunter Arrighi b.1910, James Norman Louis Arrighi b.1908 and Amelia Compton Arrighi b.1905.

Sadly the youngest child, Louis, was killed during WWII at the age of 26. He was initially reported as missing (1) but later found to have died. He is buried in the Netherlands. It must have been a terrible time for the family, not knowing what had become of him.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 04 April 1941
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

In July of 1941 a memorial was held for Louis at the Congregational Church in Yardley Hastings, Northamptonshire (2). Hopefully the family were able to take some comfort from this.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 25 July 1941
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

I have yet more portraits to share, this time of the two older boys. Please check out my next blog post.

(1) Northampton Mercury – Friday 04 April 1941
(2) Northampton Mercury – Friday 25 July 1941

Newspaper clippings courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive; The British Library Board. Further research carried out using Ancestry and Find A Grave.

James Arrighi & Castle Ashby

James Arrighi


On the back of this portrait is written ‘James Arrighi 1877-1960’ and he was the youngest son of Louis Arrighi (see previous post). The portrait was taken by S. H. Greenway Studios, Northampton and Daventry, and probably dates to the late 1900s when James was around thirty years old. His beard and moustache resemble that worn by King George V and give him a very regal look!

Sometime between 1903 and 1905, James Arrighi took the position of Clerk of Works at Castle Ashby in Northamptonshire. He remained in the area even after retirement, eventually leaving in 1950 according to this entry in the Northampton Chronicle and Echo (25th April):

Northampton Chronicle and Echo - Tuesday 25 April 1950Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Researching James’ family, I was intrigued by his daughter’s middle name, Amelia Compton Arrighi, who was born in 1905. She was presumably named after the Compton family who reside at Castle Ashby and have done so since the 1500s. I also found the following postcard of Castle Ashby House among the photographs. A souvenir of the Arrighi family’s time there, perhaps?

Castle Ashby PostcardCastle Ashby Postcard - back

James Arrighi passed away in 1960 at the age of eighty-four. I have more photographs relating to his family that I plan to share, but will save them for future blog posts.

Newspaper clippings/information courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive; The British Library Board. Further research carried out using Ancestry and Scotland’s People.