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!