Does any­one have in­for­ma­tion about this school pho­to­graph from Es­sex?

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - Q & A -

Ernest Jago was head­teacher of the Bee­hive church school in Bee­hive Lane, near Gants Hill, Il­ford, Es­sex. He sits look­ing rather ‘cheesed off’ at the cen­tre of this photo taken out­side the school, pos­si­bly next to his wife. The men look to be dressed for cricket or per­haps ten­nis and it’s pos­si­ble that the woman sit­ting front row, first left, be­came Mrs Lock­wood. Does any­one recog­nise the other fig­ures or the oc­ca­sion? Any help would be ap­pre­ci­ated. Jef Page, Chair­man, Il­ford His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, by email

AThis is an un­usual photo whose mys­tery I have not en­tirely been able to solve. I’d sug­gest, par­tic­u­larly from the women’s fash­ions, that it dates from the middle of the first decade of the 20th cen­tury. As the Bee­hive School be­came a coun­cil school in 1907, I won­der if it might be re­lated to this? I’ve looked through lo­cal news­pa­pers for the pe­riod but can see no spe­cific events men­tioned that would fit. How­ever, the snake belt, which sev­eral of the men in the back row wear along with match­ing trousers, was pro­moted in the Army and Navy Stores cat­a­logue for 1907 as ‘Or­di­nary cricket and lawn ten­nis belts’. How­ever, there are not enough men for a cricket team, or enough match­ing club belts. The cum­mer­bund and the Nor­folk jacket, both worn here, were also con­nected to the pas­time of cy­cling.

As there is an el­e­ment of dress­ing up with the flower cor­sages, maybe it was for a cel­e­bra­tory pageant, an am­a­teur dra­mat­ics show or a con­cert, per­haps con­nected with the new school. This was some­thing the Ed­war­dians tended to carry out with great aplomb.

Ali­son To­plis

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