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.

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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.

References:
(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.

Isabella Arrighi (but which one?)

Isabella Arrighi Portrait

Isabella Arrighi Portrait - Photographer

This is probably one of my favourite portraits and, like the previous portrait of Louis Arrighi, was taken by the studio of Scottish photographer John Campbell Harper. From the fashion of the day (the dress and hairstyle) I would estimate the date as mid-1910s. The ‘Campbell Harper’ studio started life in Leith Walk around 1908, so this date would be consistent.

The inscription on the back of the photograph identifies the sitter as Isabella Arrighi, born 1894 and therefore around 20 to 25 years old. Hmm. With no disrespect, I suspect the lady in the portrait was older than this.

Isabella Arrighi Portrait - Writing

So is the inscription wrong?

A little research shows there were several Isabellas in the Arrighi family.

The Isabella Arrighi identified by the inscription was grand-daughter of Louis Arrighi and daughter of Louis’ eldest son, Louis John Arrighi (b.1863). But in my view, she can be discounted on the basis of being too young.

Louis Arrighi’s wife was also called Isabella. Born in 1841, she died in 1910 prior to the likely date of this photograph. So she can also be discounted.

Another Isabella Arrighi was daughter of Louis’ older brother, Leopoldo Arrighi. She was born around 1862 in Edinburgh, although a precise age is difficult to obtain due to her shaving a few years off as the decades went on! She died in 1939 and would have been in her fifties during the 1910s.

Lastly, Louis’ own daughter was called Isabella Richardson Arrighi. She was born in 1869 and died (unmarried) in 1929, being buried with her parents at Comely Bank Cemetery, Edinburgh. During the 1910s she would have been in her forties and in my opinion is the most likely candidate for this portrait, not only because of her age, but also because I found the portrait alongside that of Louis Arrighi (see previous blog post).

There could of course be other Isabella Arrighis’ I have yet to come across.

This all begs the question as to why the inscription is incorrect? And also acts as a warning against taking any named photograph at face value. A small amount of research can go a long way, although it can also muddy the waters!

Isabella Arrighi Portrait - front & back

Names and dates were obtained from Ancestry.co.uk and Scotlands People, but should only be used as guidance.

Louis Arrighi b.1836

Louis Arrighi 1836-1919

This portrait is identified on the back as ‘Grandpa Arrighi an Italian / Benedetto Louis Arrighi 1836-1919‘ in two different pens and styles of handwriting. It is signed by J. Campbell Harper of Leith (near Edinburgh, Scotland).

Louis Arrighi 1836-1919 (writing)

J Campbell Harper, Leith (photographer)

Louis Arrighi married Isabella Richardson in 1859 in Edinburgh, where they lived throughout their married life. Both Louis and Isabella are buried at Comely Bank Cemetery.

Searching the newspaper archives I came across an article in the Dundee Courier (Tuesday 16 December 1952) which mentions ‘Louis Arrighi, the young Italian who arrived in Scotland to seek his fortune‘. The article goes on to say that ‘he undertook work on the Wallace Monument at Causewayhead, Stirling, and the Wallace Statue, Aberdeen‘. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to confirm this claim, although the censuses do list his occupation as ornamental plasterer and, later, sculptor.

I have more Arrighi family portraits to share, and hope to discover more about Louis as I go along!

Louis Arrighi 1836-1919 (portrait)

Dear Gert…

aristophoto co postcard - AL 1105

I snapped this postcard up as soon as I saw it, loving the bohemian styling and (in particular) the hat. Close inspection shows that it is one the A.L. series of postcards from Aristophoto Co. (scroll down for details) who were in business from 1902 to 1910.

aristophoto co postcard - back

Posted in Hackney, London, to Miss Daniels, “Southwell”, Quernmore Rd, Bromley, Kent, the upside-down message reads:

“Dear Gert – received letter & PC safely with many thanks – So you are leaving after all, what are you going to do when you leave – Suppose you won’t be coming up to London – Write again soon & tell me how you are getting on – hope you are feeling better now, Cheer up – Good bye with love – yours CP (or CQ/CD?)”

aristophoto co postcard 1909 - message

I haven’t identified Miss Daniels, but think she may have been a servant at the above address. Her friend sounds concerned, so I hope Gertrude sent news of her whereabouts without too much of a delay.

Neither have I been able to identify the woman in the photograph. The postcard  has the serial number 1105/2, but no name. Who is she? Answers on a postcard, please!

Mary Jane Wooff & Mrs Littlefair

photo - Mary Myttons

This photo is small but packs a huge amount of charm. Trimmed down from a postcard, it is possibly a school photograph. I just love the little girl’s relaxed smile, the ribbon in her hair and her gorgeous twinkly eyes.

photo - Mary Myttons - back

Turning it over reveals information about the sender and receiver, written in pencil by Mary herself. The fairytale names (Myttons, Littlefair, Dumsup) made me wonder, at first, if they came from the child’s imagination. But no! They are real and exist, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

Mrs Littlefair can be easily found on the 1911 census, living at Dunsop Farm, Slaidburn, Lancashire. Born in 1849, her full name was Isabella Mary Littlefair (nee Furness). She was the second wife of James Littlefair who, at 21 years her senior, was 83 years old and had retired from farming. According to the census, Dunsop Farm was in the hands of Mr Littlefair’s younger son, also called James.

So who is the fresh faced girl in the photograph?

Initially I searched for the name Mary Myttons but that yielded no results. I had wrongly supposed that the word Wooff was an after thought but learned a valuable lesson… never make assumptions! Read differently, it became apparent that Wooff was Mary’s surname, and Myttons was a farm just a short distance from the Littlefair’s home. They were neighbours!

Returning to the census, in 1911 John Robert Wooff, wife Ellen Wooff (nee Alston) and their four children were living at Myttons, Slaidburn. Mary was born later the same year and became the youngest of five. I would guess that she was around 9 or 10 years old in this photograph, making Mrs Littlefair around 70 and presumably an old lady to Mary’s young eyes.

In 1935, Mary Jane Wooff married William Armistead Breaks at the Methodist Chapel in Slaidburn. The only reference to Mary that I can find in the newspapers is an announcement of her examination success. She gained ‘first class’ in the Tailoring of Children’s Garments, the culmination of three years study (1):

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times - Friday 08 July 1949.jpgImage © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Mary died in 1976, aged 64, but left us this lovely momento from her childhood. I am sure Mrs Littlefair treasured it!

Newspaper clipping courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive; The British Library Board. Further research carried out using Ancestry and Lancashire BMD.

Reference:
(1) Clitheroe Advertiser and Times – Friday 08 July 1949

Victorian Butcher

CDV of a butcher by Henry Harper

This worn and faded carte-de-visite dates to the 1870s. Two well-dressed gents wearing bowler hats sit either side of a young man sharpening knives. I assume he was a butcher, otherwise the scene might be a rather sinister one!

CDV of a butcher by Henry Harper - cropped

The photographer’s name was Henry Harper, of Lincoln Chambers, Cookridge Street, Leeds. In 1871 Henry was living with wife Emma and daughter Florence on Hanover Street, and gave his occupation as photographer. His photographic career seems to have been a short one however, beginning around 1870 and ending in bankruptcy in 1876 (1).

Knaresborough Post - Saturday 21 May 1870.pngImage © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. (2)

Henry moved on to a new career, as proprietor of the Tramway Dining Rooms, Boar Lane, Leeds. He obviously had aspirations, since the venue later evolved into a restaurant:

Wetherby News, and Central Yorkshire Journal - Thursday 11 December 1879.pngImage © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. (3)

Sadly this second career was also short-lived, because Henry died (aged 35) on 2nd January 1881. According to the death notice, his younger brother died the very same day.

Yorkshire Gazette - Saturday 08 January 1881.pngImage © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. (4)

I haven’t yet discovered any details linking the two deaths. Is it possible the brothers were together on that day, perhaps in Manchester? Or was it just a terrible and tragic coincidence?

If I find any clues, I’ll add them to this post.

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

References:
(1) The London Gazette – 24 March 1876 (Issue 24308 Page 2109)
(2) Knaresborough Post – Saturday 21 May 1870
(3) Wetherby News and Central Yorkshire Journal – Thursday 11 December 1879
(4) Yorkshire Gazette – Saturday 08 January 1881

Miss Pearl Lyndon & Her Strange Career

postcard - pearl lyndon front small

While researching the photographer Louis Saul Langfier (see previous post) I came across his wife, theatre artiste Pearl Lichtheim. They married in London, 1903. Pearl’s own story is so fascinating that I decided to write this post, and bought the postcard shown above. I had already encountered the same portrait in a 1905 publication (ref 1):

Pearl Lyndon - The Tatler - Wed 11 Jan 1905Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Born 1882, she was known on stage as Pearl Lyndon. An earlier publication shows Miss Lyndon as “San Toy” in a theatre production of the same name (ref 2):

1901 The Sketch - Wednesday 22 May 1901Image © Illustrated London News Group

Given her successful career and angelic images, it was surprising then to find a later entry in the Fife Criminal Records, dated 1924:

1924 Ancestry; Fife Collections Centre; croppedFife Criminal Register Photographs; Reference: A/AAX 7/3/4 (Ancestry)

It seems Pearl had lived by a variety of names (Pauline Marjory Lydon or Stevens, Madame Rosell(e), Mrs Chester, Mrs Langfier), some of which were related to a theatre school she ran for young children. She advertised frequently in the newspapers of the time as a teacher of music and dance. Another of her pseudonyms, not mentioned in the crime records, was Madame Rosario:

1914 The Stage - Thursday 14 May 1914Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

The above advertisement (dated 1914; ref 3) gives her point of contact as husband Louis Saul Langfier, trading under the name ‘S.Langfier’ from his business address in Oxford Street, London. Intriguingly, Pearl describes herself as ‘Professor’. Really? She certainly was creative in the pursuit of her goals!

So what happened to bring about Pearl’s change in circumstances?

We begin to see evidence of a downturn in her fortunes in 1920 when according to the Illustrated Police News (ref 4), Pearl and a man by the name of Henry Charles Wall (living together) claimed to have been assaulted by their housekeeper and her son:

1920 Illustrated Police News - Thursday 05 February 1920 titleImage © Successor rightsholder unknown

Pearl alleged to have been thumped by Mrs Tate (the housekeeper), who attempted to strangle Pearl and ‘bit her fingers until the blood came’. Mrs Tate and her son denied everything, saying it was a ‘fabrication of lies’, calling Pearl ‘an adventuress’ and ‘a wicked woman’ who had wanted them to join her in her crooked ways ‘and keep a night club’.

Another report (ref 5) describes further accusations of assault on Henry Charles Wall and Pearl Lyndon, this time at a dance club on Maddox Street, London, by three of the club’s visitors. Pearl was apparently struck in the face, suffering broken teeth, and one of the accused was said to have ‘produced a revolver saying, “I will put an ounce of lead into you”.’

At the very least, Pearl Lyndon was mixing in dubious company, and her attachment to Henry Charles Wall suggests her husband was no longer around.

By 1922, Pearl and Henry were running a dance club in Little Denmark Street, London. Known as Merry’s, it appears to have been a target for the police, who fined Pearl for selling intoxicants without a licence (ref 6):

1922 Daily Herald - Tuesday 28 February 1922Image © Trinity Mirror

The extent of Pearl’s involvement in the nightlife of London’s West End becomes clearer in the newspaper reports surrounding her arrest and subsequent trial (refs 7, 8, 9, 10). No less than three of her clubs were raided by the police, with Pearl escaping most of the raids. The reports even mention that opium was being sold, although not directly by Pearl herself (ref 10). The police net was tightening, and this is perhaps one of the reasons why Pearl moved back to Scotland, since at the time of her arrest she was living in Leith (near Edinburgh).

1924 Sunday Post - Sunday 20 April 1924 titleImage © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd (10)

In April 1924, a trial took place in Dunfermline. Pearl’s relationship with Henry Charles Wall had soured to the extent that Wall accused her of conspiring to harm him. In her defence, Pearl claimed to have financially supported Henry for ‘about seven years’ during which time he had demanded money and ‘knocked her about’. She always forgave him because she loved him.

Henry Wall on the other hand, claimed that Pearl had harassed him after he had ‘taken up with another woman’, that she ‘followed him about the country’ and that she had hired a man (who was also convicted) to threaten him with a razor. Wall lived in fear of her since she had assaulted him on more than one occasion: ‘While he was asleep, he said, he was struck on the head with a hammer, and when he came to himself there was a gas ring close to his head with the gas turned on.‘ (ref 9)

It came down to one person’s word against another. Although the evidence was scant and confusing, it was enough to convict Pearl Lyndon to two months imprisonment. Her alleged co-conspirators (two men), who were also given short prison sentences.

1916 The Era - Wednesday 19 January 1916 bImage © Successor rights holder unknown (1916; ref 11)

Following her release from prison Pearl disappeared, at least as far as the newspapers were concerned. There are hints that she remarried but I cannot confirm this. Plus, I respect her for finally shunning the limelight and wish to leave her in peace. After all, she’d had quite enough excitement for one lifetime!

Newspaper clippings/quotes/information courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive; The British Library Board. Further research carried out using Ancestry.

References:
(1) The Tatler, 11 Jan 1905
(2) The Sketch , 22 May 1901
(3) The Stage, 14 May 1914
(4) Illustrated Police News, 5 Feb 1920
(5) Globe, 30 Jan 1920
(6) Daily Herald, 28 Feb 1922
(7) Dundee Evening Telegraph, 3 Apr 1924
(8) Dundee Evening Telegraph, 17 Apr 1924
(9) Edinburgh Evening News, 18 Apr 1924
(10) Sunday Post, 20 Apr 1924
(11) The Era, 19 Jan 1916