Archive for the ‘photos’ Tag

Dive into The Box

Here are the first three photos from The Box

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The photos and documents in The Box seem to belong to both Ian Harris (my maternal grandfather) and Samuel ‘Choc’ Harris (his father). Ian was born in 1915. Choc in 1886. As a child, I did get to meet Choc and his wife, Marie. He died in 1977; Ian died in 2004.

Neither of the dapper young men in this photograph remind me facially of any family members. They are evidently on a camping trip, probably in England, given the tent is supplied by Smith & Co. They seem to be part of a club or team in light of the casual uniform they are sporting. I’m not sure when those huge collars, thin belts and high-waisted trousers were in vogue – I guess the interwar years. The shoes are similar to a rather eccentric pair of Adidas my younger son has just acquired online – that’s fashion for you, round and round.

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This one has a hand-written note in ink on the reverse.

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The 3rd Eleven football team. October 1930 – Ian would have been 15 so it could well be his team. U Coopers? There’s a school called The Coopers’ Company & Coborn School in St. Marys Lane, Upminster just 6 miles from where Ian grew up in Becontree or Dagenham, East London. However in 1930 it was still located at 86 Bow Road in the East End (Bow, London E3) which is 18 miles further into the city, due west. It’s possible Ian went to school there.

I’m pretty certain that is Ian front row, 2nd from right with his right foot almost touching the ball. The 1930s boots make a stark contrast with his great-grandson’s boots who plays for Fulham FC. The goalie’s polo-neck is also charmingly period. Choc must have trained Ian up although the 3rd Eleven status indicates football was not his passion – as an adult I only ever saw him swim to keep fit.

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This is a curious find. On the back my grandfather has written his name in pencil in what looks like his childhood script:

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So presumably he was given this around 1920 which makes sense, in the immediate aftermath of the Great War. Choc was 28 at the outbreak of the war – I’m not sure if he served. He was a cabinet maker and quite slight of build when I knew him in his old age. I guess somewhere among these 21 is a blood relative.

Why the two civilians at the heart of the military unit? Perhaps they were patrons or sponsors of some kind? Perhaps they headed an institution or school associated with the unit?

The man doesn’t look that much older than the soldiers. The pair of them have clearly dressed up for the occasion of a formal photograph session at Empire Studio(s).

There’s still an Empire Studio located between Hackney and Bethnal Green, East London, on the top floor of the Empire building. Both Empire Studio and Empire Studios are listed on this Photographers of Great Britain and Ireland (1840-1940) website.

Details that stand out include the cane or swagger stick (front, 2nd from L); the corporal with the darker complexion (front, 2nd from R); the uniform with the wide lapels and broad ties (front, far R); the jaunty angle a number of them wear their cap, something we tend to think of as American.

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