A very interesting photo I have in my collection is one which has been posted as a postcard and has a message on the back. It is of a couple with a little girl outside their house. I love it much more than any studio shot as somehow their personalities are in the photo. When whoever took this photo asked them to pose, the mother and daughter chose to proudly stand with their bikes. Both of them wearing their outside clothes before setting off on a ride. I'm amazed at how they chose to dress for a bike ride in those days. What would they make of all the lycra and helmets worn by cyclists today I wonder.
Lewis Blanche And Elise Crump Outside
The postcard was sent in 1903 to an address in Cardiff and the message was signed Lewis and Blanche Crump. I managed to find them quite easily with such unusual names. Lewis Crump was born on the 2nd Oct 1862 in Dudley, Worcestershire. In 1892 he married Blanche Sidney Oram in Birmingham and they had one daughter Elsie Kate born 1893. On the 1911 census the family lived at "Pendennis" 65 Oval Rd, Gravelly Hill Warwickshire. If you look closely on the photo you can see the name "Pendennis" on the wall above the front door. It was also recorded that Lewis and Blanche had one daughter Elsie and no children had died.
The postcard message is quite cryptic. Posted to a Mr Maton, Langland House, Oakfield Street, Roath, Cardiff. It read : Dr Mr Maton, Many thanks for the interesting communication. We both join in hearty congratulations & trust the progress will be maintained. Very Kindest Regards from Lewis & Blanche Crump.
By the late 1920s a strange thing happened to the records. On the electoral register Elsie is no longer living with Lewis and Blanche but a woman called Daphne Queenie Crump. I presumed Elsie had left home to get married, although I couldn't find a marriage record for her, and another female relative had moved in but it became even more confusing in 1931 when Elsie appeared on the register too.
Lewis Crump died on 16 April 1936 when he was 73 years old in Bournemouth. After this the mystery deepens. On the 1939 register Blanche now registered as a widow is living with Daphne Queenie who's date of birth is the same as Elsie's in 1893 and she is listed as daughter. There seem to be only two possibilities, either Elsie changed her name to Daphne Queenie or the couple adopted another daughter who coincidentally was born in the same month and year as Elsie. Blanche died on the 28th September 1953 and the sole beneficiary of her will was Daphne Crump, spinster. Daphne died in Bournemouth in 1976 and appeared not to leave a will as a notice was posted in the London Gazette asking for people who may have a claim on her estate to contact the bank. I can not know for sure if little Elsie in the photo changed her name to Daphne Queenie and if she did what was the reason, but it makes me realise, the more research I do there are mysteries in every family.
The house at 65 Oval Rd, Gravelly Hill still stands but everything looks very different today. Gravelly Hill, an area of Birmingham, is home to the present day interchange known as Spaghetti Junction. If only walls could talk 65 Oval Road may be able to answer the puzzle of what happened there to the Crump family in the 1920s, it seems it will remain a mystery.
The first railway to Sutton was opened in 1847. It took to years to build and cost the lives of four young men, aged between fourteen and twenty four, who were killed in accidents during it's construction and are buried in St Nicholas churchyard. A small wooden hut served Sutton's residents as a station for nearly twenty years and although it seems very small, Sutton had only 1,500 residents at the time. In 1865 the Epsom Downs line was opened and many additional passengers travelled on the railway as a result. In Derby week 1865, 70,000 people travelled on the new line. The old wooden shed was dismantled and moved to Sutton cricket ground on the corner of Gander Green Lane for use as a scorers shed. I took this photo of it in 1997.
The new station, which is pictured here in a drawing from around 1880, had a booking office, waiting rooms and a shop. It was much better suited to the new passengers who travelled through to the coast on the newly opened Brighton line, from Leatherhead. This station continued in use until 1883 when it was demolished and another new building was erected.
Sutton was a busy town when this photo as taken around 1918. Horse drawn cabs line the edge of the pavement and at the corner of Mulgrave road, just out of view was a horse trough and drinking fountain for thirsty passers by!
Charles Gardner was one of the Station Masters at Sutton station. He joined the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway company in May 1870 as a booking clerk at Clapham Junction with a weekly wage of £1.00. He worked at different stations in South London rising to become Station Master at Old Kent Road in 1881. By 1891 he was working at Purley, and by 1901 he was in charge at Sutton. Charles retired at the end of 1913.He stayed in the area until his death in 1938.
Photo copied and cropped from The Past on Glass at Sutton Archives. Photographer David Knights-Whittome.
Shared under the Creative Commons Non Commercial
The population of Sutton continued to grow and the numbers of rail commuters increased. The new station pictured here was opened in 1928 to keep pace with the growth. New motor cabs replaced the horse drawn cab and the horse trough at the corner of Mulgrave Road moved to Brighton Road.
Sutton Station 2020
Two photos I added to my collection recently really brought home to me changes in our society over the last 100 years. They were of two brothers Fergus Kay Crook and Laurence Gilmer Crooks taken in the 1920s. The sons of Robert Kay Crooks and his second wife Edith Margaret Crooks (Nee Smith) they were born in Wigan Lancashire at a time after so many families had been torn apart. Sadly the eldest son Fergus was born with what would be called today a learning disability. In the 1920s however, it was a different time. He must have been so loved. His parent took him to the same studio as his brother to have his portrait taken but over the next few years the bothers paths separated. Lawrence lived with his parents but by the time of the 1939 register Fergus was registered at the Royal Albert Asylum. The hospital was built between 1868 and 1873 and was originally called "The Royal Albert Asylum for idiots and imbeciles of the seven northern counties" It's hard to even imagine a time when this was considered an acceptable title for an institution. The hospital was established under the Lunacy Act 1845, at a time when there was little understanding of the difference between learning difficulties and mental illness but by 1909 it had been renamed "The Royal Albert Institution, Lancaster". There was no mainstream schooling for children such as Fergus in those days and there would have probably been little choice for his parents but an institution.
Fergus's younger brother Laurence appears not to have married or had children. He lived in Wigan all his life coincidentally dying exactly three months to the day, in December 1981, after Fergus aged 60. Both brothers are buried in Lower Ince Cemetery in Wigan. I really hope they are together.
One of the memorial cards I have had in my collection is to Rose Bourne, a 21 year old young woman who died in 1921 aged just 21 years old. When Rose Bourne was born in January 1900 in Eastbourne, Sussex, her father, Spencer, was 32, and her mother, Jane, was 30. She had four brothers and three sisters. The family lived at 15 Carlton Road in the town. The house still stands, a pretty well tended terraced house, minutes walk away from the seafront. Rose lived with her father Spencer, who on the 1911 census is listed as a refuse destructor. This role appears to literally mean he was responsible for the destruction of the waste after it's collection. Rose was an 11 year old at school on this census and there was no record of any disability for her. She must have been a normal happy young girl, with the fun of living at the seaside and lots of brothers and sisters to play with.
Rose died on the 31st May 1921 and was buried in the family grave at Ocklynge Cemetery, Eastbourne with her mother who only died the year before at the age of 50. It seemed all so sad but searching on Ancestry the large family seem to have produced many descendants to remember Rose. At a time in the country of the great loss of the First World War this family certainly seemed to have their own heartache.
I am lucky enough to have in my collection this photo of Alfred James Stubbs with his daughter Winifred, taken on 27th November 1959 at Great Witchingham Norfolk. The more I researched this elderly man the more impressed I became.
Alfred was born on the 28th March 1858 in Norwich, Norfolk. He was the tenth of 11 children of Charles and Sarah Stubbs (Nee Smith). The family lived at no 3 Woolpack Yard, Golden Ball Street, Norwich and Alfred's father Charles worked as a poulterer. After his father's death in 1878 Alfred took over the family business. In 1887 he married Jane Louisa Smith and the couple had six children, four surviving to adulthood. For nearly 80 years he ran the family business. When their home was bombed out during World War 2 and they moved out to Great Witchingham, Alfred continued to travel into work until he was 95.
The couples second daughter, Lucy Winifred is pictured here with her father in 1959. Lucy was born on the 25th Jan 1894. On the 15th August 1915, at 21, Lucy married Henry Chilvers, a 21 year old young man who also lived in Norwich. Henry had volunteered to become a soldier in the Norfolk Regiment during world war one and Lucy served herself in France during the war with the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Tragically Henry was killed in action in France, less than two years after their marriage, on the 23rd April 1917. Like so many young widows at the time Lucy never remarried and she lived with her parents until her mother's death aged 95 in 1951 and with her father until he died on 12th December 1960 at the incredible age of 102. Because of his longevity Alfred had been quite a local celebrity giving interviews to local papers. Only retiring six years before his death he gave the secret of his long life to eggs and more eggs. So maybe that should be a lesson to us all! Lucy died four years after her father in 1964 aged 70 years old. This photo was taken outside their home at 2 King's Head Terrace, Great Witchingham Norfolk where the family lived in the final years of their lives.