Can you tell me more about th­ese pho­to­graphs of two of my fe­male Vic­to­rian an­ces­tors?

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS -

QI was de­lighted to re­ceive th­ese two pho­tos from an un­cle re­cently as I had never seen ei­ther of th­ese fe­male an­ces­tors be­fore. The lady sit­ting alone is my ma­ter­nal great great grand­mother, Es­ther Jane Col­clough, born 1869 in Ather­stone, War­wick­shire. In the se­cond photo, she is stand­ing with her sis­ter, Mary Ann (who raised my grand­mother), born 1876. Es­ther Jane was a lov­ing mother to her 11 chil­dren, lost two hus­bands, and died at the grand old age of 90 in 1959, hav­ing sur­vived two World Wars and the in­fluenza epi­demic that killed her first born (my great grand­mother). Can you tell me where and when th­ese pho­tos may have been taken? Me­lanie Fisher, by email

AThe con­ser­va­tive dress of th­ese two women, as is the case with the dress of many middle-aged or older women dur­ing this pe­riod, makes the pho­to­graphs dif­fi­cult to date pre­cisely. The pho­to­graph of the two women per­haps of­fers most clues, plac­ing it dur­ing the 1930s, prob­a­bly tend­ing to­wards the first half of the decade.

The other pho­to­graph is a sim­i­lar date, al­though it may be slightly ear­lier. The back­drop of this pho­to­graph is painted, as was com­mon for pho­tog­ra­phers’ stu­dios. How­ever, it does ap­pear to rep­re­sent Black­pool Tower, Black­pool be­ing a pop­u­lar hol­i­day desti­na­tion and could con­ceiv­ably have been taken by one of the many pho­tog­ra­phers work­ing in the town as a sou­venir or post­card to send to a rel­a­tive or friend. Ali­son To­plis

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