A heap of old photos!

When Ann and Roger Bowden of Cleave House Sticklepath died in 2015 quite a number of photographs were unearthed. Many had accumulated from deceased relatives, maiden Aunts or Roger’s grandparents (Finch family) who have lived in Cleave house since around 1898. Roger also enjoyed amateur black and white photography from a teenager, having his own ‘Dark Room’ set up in the evening when required.

A few lucky families have carefully labeled and organized photos.  More often, like these from Cleave House, some are labeled in some way or organized in albums.  Many, like the heap I found labeled ‘Odd bodies’, probably in 1978, are not immediately identifiable. There may be a name but the connection is lost.  It is tempting to discard these, but hidden clues may reveal something unexpected.  There may be items or places of interest in the photo, such as a vehicle or view of an old building. Family resemblances or a photo of the same person in a different context can help. 

Fashion helps date the photographs as well as clues from the background and framing – feet not shown here. These two were likely taken by a professional photographer, I suspect in Okehampton. The first one is labelled Reg Cook’s mother. The second is as yet unidentified.

Does anyone have photos with a similar background that might help narrow it down? I am guessing 1900-1905. Any help welcome!

Book recommendation: Tracing Your Ancestors Through Family Photographs by Jayne Shrimpton

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