Edward Mott Alderson

The following carte-de-visites were included in a collection of photographs that originated from a family album purchased in Barnstaple, Devon. By sharing them, I hope to form links between the various (identified) people and perhaps even reunite them with descendants who might come across this blog. If all else fails, the stories are often interesting and will hopefully provide some entertainment!

Edward Mott Alderson

Although the CDV of this gentleman isn’t named, I have identified him as Colonel Alderson, the name written on the back of a similar image that was sold separately but I wasn’t quick enough to purchase! On that CDV he was in full army uniform. Here he is in a more relaxed pose, through he still strikes me as a military man.

The back of the CDV is inscribed ‘Ipswich – July 1877’ and ‘Norwich Road’. The 1911 census has Edward Mott Alderson, age 75, living at Poyle House, 171 Norwich Road, Ipswich (Suffolk). His occupation is given as ‘Lt Colonel Retired’  and his birthplace as Baconsthorpe, Norfolk. In 1881 (closer to the date of the CDV) he is living in ‘Buttermarket’, a street further into the centre of Ipswich. However, I think he moved around over the years, and he certainly had a connection to Norwich Road in the mid 1870s (see below).

Family Life

Edward Mott Alderson was born 24th March 1836 in Baconsthorpe, Norfolk to parents Rev. Robert Davis Cole Alderson and Sophia Sarah. In 1858, age 22, he married Catherine Harriet Swainson:

Bury and Norwich Post - 27 Jul 1858
Bury and Norwich Post – 27 July 1858

They went on to have two children, Edwin A H Alderson b.1859 and Kathleen E Alderson b.1860. Sadly, at the beginning of 1876, Edward’s wife Catherine passed away at Norwich Road, Ipswich:

Essex Standard - 7 Jan 1876
Essex Standard – 7 January 1876

And tragedy struck again, with the death of daughter Kathleen in early 1897:

London Evening Standard - 11 Feb 1897
London Evening Standard – 11 February 1897

I can only imagine how this event affected the mood of the wedding celebration that followed just a short time afterwards, when Colonel Alderson married for the second time, to Augusta Mary Rogers. Or perhaps his daughter’s death precipitated his decision to marry again. Either way, the wedding did take place at Chesterton, Cambridgeshire in the second quarter of the same year.

By this stage, Edward Alderson had retired from the Army and moved with his wife to Poyle House, Ipswich, where he ended his days. On 30 Sep 1912, Edward Mott Alderson died age 76, leaving an estate worth £11,441 3s, and probate to his only son, Edwin.


During his teenage years, Colonel Alderson attended the King Edward 6th Free Grammar School in Ipswich, where he can be found on the 1851 census. Four years later, at age 19, he joined the 97th Foot Regiment of the British Army:

Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service
Canada, British Regimental Registers of Service (image source: ancestry.co.uk)

He was promoted quickly from Ensign to Lieutenant and served at the siege of Sebastopol in 1855, for which he was awarded a Crimean Medal plus clasp for Sebastopol.

Note: it is here that we find a link to Fanny Heigham from my previous post, since her eldest brother Clement Henry John Heigham was a Major in the 17th Regiment and also served in the Crimea around the same time.

In 1860 Edward Alderson joined the Essex Rifle Volunteers, and in 1862 the Morning Post reported that he was promoted to First Lieutenant of the Norfolk Artillary Regiment of Militia. Furthermore, an entry in The Ipswich Journal on 23rd September 1879 reports that Captain Edward Mott Alderson was promoted to Major, and in 1884 he was granted the honorary rank of Lieutenent-Colonel.

The career of Colonel Alderson, however, was somewhat eclipsed by his son Edwin Alderson, who followed his father’s footsteps into the British Army. Edwin was knighted in 1916 to become Lieutenant General Sir Edwin Alfred Hervey Alderson KCB. His father would no doubt have been proud, and the likeness of son to father is uncanny! Taken from the Dundee Evening Telegraph, 14th December 1927, Edwin remembers his father: ...Mr Edward Mott Alderson, of Poyle House, Ipswich, was a famous master of Foxhounds. “He taught me,” writes the general {Edwin} in the preface to one of his books, “that which I have found of more value than anything I ever learnt—namely, to ride.”

Mystery Woman!


This carte-de-visite was taken by the same photographer and bears the same inscription as that of Edward Mott Alderson, and I initially assumed it was an image of his wife and placed them side-by-side in my album. However, if this photograph was truly taken in 1877, then Catherine Harriet (Colonel Alderson’s first wife) would have been dead a year, and he didn’t remarry until 1897. Perhaps this is his daughter, born 1860? Yet she looks older than seventeen years to my eyes. There is definitely a connection, probably a family one, but this lady may just have to remain a mystery!

Col Alderson CDV   Unknown CDV

Newspaper clippings are from The British Newspaper Archive  © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


5 thoughts on “Edward Mott Alderson

  1. Great blog. Good luck, I hope you can reunite some photos with their families. It makes me sad when I see “lost” photographs . It’s great that we have so much access to information now. If I see a written dedication in a second hand book, I feel compelled to research that name as well.


    • Thank you! I feel like I’m just getting into my stride. I have quite a collection of wonderful old photographs and it seems a shame not to share. Yes, it’s so easy to access the information now, and there are many great stories to tell. Ahh, now don’t get me started on secondhand books too, or I’ll be sat at my computer forever!


  2. I have a small somewhat dog eared book gifted to WMRH as a child by The Mrs Rogers So at least a social link between the Haggards and the Rogers.


    • Thanks! That’s very interesting… so perhaps Colonel Alderson became acquainted with the Haggards through his second marriage? Although I suspect they all mixed in the same circles at some time or other :-).


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