Saturday, 27 March 2010

Sepia Saturday: Youthful and Three

My late mother-in-law kept her family photographs in a shoe-box. Shortly before her passing, she asked us to keep them safe. A perfectly reasonable request, given that this collection was her precious snapshot record of a long life - March, 1918 - November, 2006.

There are many family moments, some captured at annual gatherings or during the holidays. But the more interesting samples are those taken before she married my father-in-law, Albert - April, 1920 - May, 1996.

Ironically, what gives these a little edge over the others in the shoe-box, is the lack of background information. We know that she used to holiday with her Aunt Jessica, in Ilford, Essex. She also mentioned a trip to Inverness, with friends. With regard to the two photographs I'm sharing today, no details are known about her friends or the actual location. They were probably taken sometime in the early 1930s though.

In the first picture, May is sitting on the left of the trio. They are bathed in sunshine and looking very relaxed among the daisies, in their summer dresses.

The second shot has May standing to the right. Although the young woman in the polka-dot dress is now wearing a two-piece, May and the unidentified other appear to be wearing the same dresses. So I'm guessing these two photographs were taken during the same visit, holiday, or whatever.

A couple of intriguing things to note. Firstly, the small headscarves they are wearing in both photographs. It seems a bit unusual. Also, the degree of posing taking place, particularly in the second shot, where they appear to be looking 'cool' on the veranda of a beach hut or holiday chalet.

More Sepia Saturday participants HERE

© 2010, copyright Martin T. Hodges


  1. Hi Martin

    these are shots that make you wonder. I was intrigued by the scarves too...I can remember seeing photos of my mother in one too.
    I also noticed the utilitarian white enamel jugs.

    Happy days

  2. So charming! I read a good bit of English fiction set in that pre-WWII era and these girls are the perfect illustrations. Lovely!
    (I liked the white enamelware too!)

  3. I think headscarves were quite common, back in the day. Women wore them during the summer to protect their heads from the brightness of the sun. Well, I'm guessing, based on what my grandmother used to do.

    Such joy in those photos, Martin!


  4. Headscarves were also used to keep carefully-coiffed hair from being mussed, to keep it intact for the evening's activities.

    I shudder to think what people will be saying about things we wear (or don't) 80 or 100 years from now! lol!

  5. The pose is excellent and I agree with all the comments above. They took a lot of time styling their hair - marcelled waves, finger waves and the like. I remember my mother putting my hair in ringlets, wrapping each one around her finger and using a damp brush. The head scarf did a great job of keeping every hair in place.

  6. Maybe they're at a beach area as there's a striped canvas beach chair on the porch. The first photo looks like an industrial area, though.
    I've been trying to read the sign in the background. All I can figure out is that it's telling them they can't do something. I wonder what.
    Very attractive well dressed ladies-except for the scarves... unless they were a fashion statement of the time. We wore scarves when I was very young in Chicago. We called them babushkas. There were a lot of Polish people in our neighborhood and I think it's a Polish or Russian word for grandmother.

  7. beautiful photos!
    my guess on the headscarves was to protect their hair-dos from the wind.

    and those summer print dresses are just charming. Why did we women ever quit dressing like that?

  8. such lovely photos.... it is quite interesting how head scarves go in and out of fashion.

    what a gift to be the trustee of may's treasured shoe box! thank your for sharing.

  9. Lovely...they look charming in the headscarves!

  10. What quaint photos... and "quaint" isn't a word I use often! Loved 'em.

  11. What lovely girls and I bet they had a wonderful time together.

  12. my immediate thought is that there are 1980s photos of me in very similar poses and situations....
    somethings are universal i suppose

  13. When headscarves were last 'on trend', about ten years ago, all the little girls in the playground were wearing them at a summer fete. Then the wind came up and all their headscarves stood on end like so many mitres. With scrunched up, pudding faces they looked like a crowd of cross bishops.

    Lovely photos, Martin.

  14. Hmmm...dunno. They appeared rather relaxed and just happy to be together. I'm guessing the snaps were taken on the spur of the moment...kinda wish me own relatives had kept better care of photos...

  15. I think they were having fun posing in their summer dresses instead of just standing and facing the camera with a smile.

    And I think they were right, it makes the photos a lot more fun.

  16. Headscarves were a very acceptable headgear for females of all ages up and into the late 1960's here in the U.S. Personally, I never liked them but my Mother wore them every day. Young women of this age group would definitely be posing and feeling very beautiful in their lovely dresses. This is an 'age of innocence' period. Great photo.

  17. lovely photos - they look caught between being natural and posing. My grandparents lived in Ilford

  18. Thank you everyone. I feel that these were extremely happy moments for May. She looks so carefree and relaxed in the company of her dear friends.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed a glimpse inside her shoe-box.

  19. It will be interesting to see what all was in the shoebox. I know that some are just going to be lost people in pictures. The two you have chosen are classic shots.

  20. They are both excellent photographs and that second one in particular may well be posed but the arrangement is so balanced and "artistic". I love the idea of you been asked to look after the photographs and that you are sharing them with everyone else. Isn't this what we would all want? Such a personal and rich memorial to a life.


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