Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sepia Saturday: Cheeky lads

This week's theme photo for Sepia Saturday is delightful. I'm almost persuaded that those boys were all perfectly behaved, well-mannered, respectful, clean and never argued with each other or their parents. Almost.

I've selected a photo from an album I purchased on the web, an album where there is no indication of names or locations but there are some very interesting (to me) snapshots of the 1930s in England. This particular photo has some damage and the background is more in focus than the boy but I like it. I like his facial expression, his saggy pockets, his dirty knees, his twisted socks, his polished shoes and his cap. Is he wearing braces under his jumper? I note that the lad's cap has a badge. Does that indicate that he's dressed for school?

Lad with a cap
So many of my Australian family albums have photos of kids in floppy hats and bonnets or they are bareheaded ("Take your hat off for the photo, Jack, and get your hands out of your pockets.") and I couldn't find a single one of a boy wearing a cap or playing games with caps. But I did find this photo that matches the lad in the photo above more than the theme photo. It's a holiday photo, probably a beach in Victoria. The lady at the back is Edie Sims who was a sister of my husband's grandmother. Don't the ladies look elegant in their woollen bathing costumes. Would their bathing caps have been waterproof or did they just try to keep their heads out of the water? I have another photo of the two ladies actually sitting in the water. I have no idea who the boys are but the one on the left in the floppy hat is obviously a cheeky one. And why aren't the boys wearing bathers?

Edie Sims (at the back) and others unknown.
If you want to see more lads in caps playing games you can head on over to the Sepia Saturday page.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sepia Saturday: Roy saw a ghost (on a postcard)

Roy Phelan was a country lad from Victoria, Australia so England (let alone the trenches of France) must have been a shock. He spent some time around Codford when he first arrived in Europe in 1918 and after the war he remained in England for about six months while he recuperated from a bad shrapnel injury. So he, like many other soldiers, was a tourist.

And, like many other soldiers, he bought postcards to send home or to keep as a record of his visit. For this post I've selected several of his postcards from a visit to Hampton Court Palace. None of these has been posted or written on the reverse. The Palace is outstanding even in the UK so I can only imagine how overwhelming it must have appeared to Roy.

Entrance to Vine and Gardener's Cottage, Hampton Court Palace. Postcard c1918.
South-East Front, Hampton Court Palace.
Is it possible that the lawn was dug up for vegetable gardens in WW!?
The third postcard is my selection for the Sepia Saturday theme of 'horror and Halloween'.

It is also Hampton Court Palace and shows the ghost of Jane Seymour. Apparently she was seen every night! I wonder if she still appears. Roy must have been intrigued because we don't have a lot of ghosts her in Australia and especially not in his home town of Mitiamo that was only about 40 years old at the time.

The Hampton Court Palace Ghost.
 Queen Jane Seymour's Ghost.
As seen nightly near the private stairway, leading to apartments formerly occupied by her.


Now, close your eyes if you are easily shocked. You've been warned.

This an old sepia photograph taken by a member of a photography club in Melbourne in the 1950s. It is one of a collection of photos donated to the Genealogical Society of Victoria.

Experimental photography and development techniques.
If you want to see more horrible photos sidle on over to the Sepia Saturday page.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sepia Saturday: Time

It's late. Or is it early?

The lady is just arriving home and it appears to be five o'clock in the morning. The milkman has started his rounds.

This postcard is in an album with a number of other printed postcards and real photo postcards that appear to have been received by one lady living in Melbourne, Australia in the early 1900s. This one is dated 3/6/1909.

I wonder if the card was chosen because the sender and the receiver had both been to balls and may have arrived home in the wee hours. The postcard has a caption "Just by way of a change" but the meaning of that defeats me.

Postcard reverse
C/0 Mrs H Clarices[?]
Wallace St, Germanton
Dear Violet
Just a line to let you know I have not forgotten you. I will write you a long letter as soon as I can & send you a postal note for things you have gotten for me & for the opera cloak I think it is very cheap I went to a ball last night & had a grand time I was wishing you were here I can waltz all right now we went in evening dress pale pink & everyone said we were dressed the nicest don't [know] who was belle yet but as soon as the paper comes out I will send it to you don't forget to send me the photo of the ball you were at. I was surprised to hear you are such a flirt. I have another boy he as[sic] only one hand he is very nice & got plenty of money, the one that give me the gloves is off I had three after me to take me to the ball so I picked the one armed bloke he is so nice looking. give my love to all at home
Edie xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Edie hasn't named the "one-armed bloke" but apparently the fact that he has money is important. I hope he had the sense to see Edie's real character. And I'd like to know the background to her comment about Violet being a flirt.

This post is in response to the Sepia Saturday theme photo that includes a clock. You can see other responses here.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sepia Saturday: Discarded studio photo

Unknown couple with child
Once upon a time this image was important to someone. The couple, and a child (their child or a grandchild?), dressed in their best clothes and went to Bardwell's Studio studio in the city of Melbourne, Victoria. Did they walk, take a train or tram, or did they travel by horse and cab?

The photographer instructed the man to take off his hat and place it on the pedestal, told them how and where to stand, and took some images. I wonder why the child is looking directly at the camera but the adults are looking at something or someone to one side?

The photo was developed and printed and eventually collected by the subjects. Money changed hands. Maybe the photo was placed in a frame and placed on the mantlepiece. Maybe it was added to an album. They knew who they were so there was no need to write names on the back of the photo. Maybe extra copies were ordered and given to other members of the family.

Time passed, people died, the photo was bundled in with others and eventually discarded. By chance it was rescued and donated to a library.

Who are these people? No one knows but it has value as a historical record of clothing styles, hair styles, beard styles, studio portraiture and photographers.

This post is in response to the theme photo for Sepia Saturday's 300th anniversary, a photo of an unknown people, that was also rescued.