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As mentioned in my previous posts, many of the photographs in this little bundle are badly damaged. Because of this it would be easy to dismiss individual images, or tear them apart and keep only the best, such as the beautiful 1920s wedding photograph above.

But I cannot bring myself to do that because as a whole they tell a story, of travel and friendship and more than a hint of nostalgia.

Immersing myself in these images has taken me on a journey, to a different time and way of life.

So, in an effort to keep these memories together I have returned them to an album of their very own. And maybe one day they will be reunited with the family they belong to!


Prince Of Wales In India (1921)

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During the winter of 1921-22, Edward Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) toured India, including Calcutta (Kolkata) in West Bengal. It was here on Wednesday 28th December 1921 that the Prince officially opened the Victoria Memorial, an impressive marble building dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria. The above photograph, which is unmarked, appears to have been taken at that opening ceremony.

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Although a little blurred, close inspection shows enough detail to convince me that the Prince of Wales is present in the image. Compare the above crop to the article below (taken from The Sphere – Saturday 28 January 1922). A ‘tear-shaped’ fan can be seen in both photographs, directly behind the Prince. Lady Ronaldshay’s dress stands out against the men in uniform. Even the table to the side of the Prince can be seen.

The Sphere - Saturday 28 January 1922 a

The photograph below is another from the same small bundle. Although unmarked it can easily be identified as Raj Bhavan, Kolkata, then known as Government House. The Prince of Wales stayed here during Christmas of 1921 and hosted a Garden Party on Thursday 29th December, the day after the opening of the Victoria Memorial. Whoever took this photograph may have attended both events.

The images are brought to life by a silent film from the archives of the British Film Institute (BFI). At the beginning of the clip a photographer walks into view carrying his tripod and camera. Could this be the same tripod seen in the first photograph of this blog post?

More information can be gleaned from a book entitled His Royal Highness The Prince Of Wales Tour In India (1921-1922) by M. O’Mealey, which details the entire trip including the programme of events for Christmas 1921.  It is always satisfying to provide context for unmarked photographs, and in this case relatively straightforward given the amount of information available on the internet. What is much less straightforward is knowing precisely who took the photographs!


Two Weddings and Several Babies

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More photographs from the same batch as my previous post. The one above is just 5x5cm, and is very pretty in its tiny format. It wasn’t until I scanned and enlarged it that I saw the face of the girl on the left, who looks none-too-happy to be there!

Another wedding below, earlier in date and possibly in India. Note the military uniform and the carnation worn by the groom. I wonder if these were the only photographs taken, or if there were more formal ones too?

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I have already mentioned that the condition of many of these photographs is poor, with a lot of mottling and discolouration. The paper is thin and the finish is matte on most of them. I’m amazed that anyone even managed to peel them from an album (in which they seem to have been firmly glued) without further damage.

And finally to the babies… sat outside on a rug, enjoying the warmth. And two dogs and two goats.

Did I mention the goats?!

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A Country House

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I recently bought a large batch of seemingly unrelated photographs, and spent the next few days sorting through them with the intention of keeping my favourite ones and reselling the remaining images. This is the part where I always come unstuck. Once I have spent time looking at and researching a photograph, it becomes familiar to me and I am less inclined to sell it on. Particularly when I find that the photographs are not so unrelated after all!

Tragically, many of the photos have been taken from albums and any written hints and clues are now lost. Even the position of the photographs in the album may have helped identify the people and places. The above photograph of a house is one of a small collection from this large batch that all have the same colour backing paper (remnants of album pages) and are in a similar condition (mottled and faded). They show a connection to India, family life, and the lovely old house above.

Identifying this house is proving difficult. Perhaps it is even impossible! The photograph dates to the 1920s, judging by the age of other images which I will share in future posts. It has a very familiar style and my guess is ‘English Country House’. But I am no expert and would be grateful for relevant search terms… does the small slope at the apex of the roof have a name, for instance? Perhaps the chimneys are a distinctive style?

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This second photograph shows the right-hand door of the house, without the creeping plants that cover the outside walls. It may have been taken at a different time of year, or the plants removed. The little girl and her three dogs are just adorable! I love her curly hair and how proudly she holds the leads!

If these were my family photos I would never want to let them go. They are precious. So maybe I will hang on to them… just for a while…


Edited to add: I have found out that the roof line is called a ‘clipped gable’. And there appears to be an aerial of some kind on one of the chimneys? So perhaps the date is later than I thought (’30s?), although I’m still no closer to identifying the house!


Edited 19th March 2018: Many thanks to jamesmmcardle for his excellent input regarding this house! Here is a general summary of his observations (please see the comments for details):

Regarding the roof-line, a higher resolution scan shows the ‘aerial’ on the left, which is almost certainly a lightning rod. Plus the ‘box-like’ structure on the right resembles a look-out, implying a view worth climbing for… possibly the sea?

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A closer view of the right-hand-side exterior wall shows the unusual ’tilted square’ window and ornate bargeboards. There is more than a hint of Art and Crafts about this house! And perhaps a similarity to Red House, home of William Morris?

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Finally, I hesitated to add the next photograph to my original post because of the extensive damage. But it clearly shows the cladding on the external wall, plus patterns to the brickwork where alterations have been made. Hopefully these are further clues that will eventually lead to the identification of this mysterious house!

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Cabinet Card by Holgate, Burnley

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I just have to share this cabinet card of a beautiful young woman staring directly into the camera. Taken by photographer James Holgate of Bridge End Studio, Burnley, it probably dates to the 1880s, the period in which Mr. Holgate was most active. Unfortunately there are no clues as to the identity of the woman (the reverse of the card is blank). To my eyes she resembles ‘Mary (Patsy) Cornwallis West‘, although this could simply be due to the fashion of the time.

Any thoughts appreciated!