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’:
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:
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:
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?
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!