These two photographs were on facing pages in the Tyke family album but there was no indication of date, location or even if the occasions were linked. Had the chaps taken their ladies for a picnic in the countryside? Was this a works summer outing from a small business … such events were quite common given an enlightened management and cheaper than paying a decent wage. Who knows, so I shall have to creatively imagine, what was going on based on visual clues.

So … date, maybe the end of the 1800s. It seems evident from the dress of the chaps that this must have been some important affair. Most of them are wearing buttonholes and shoes are smartly polished so it is not unreasonable to infer that this was a wedding and that these smart, for the most part, gents were friends and family. I think perhaps the bride’s family as the groom’s would probably have included some less dapper fellows.

I suggest that this is a family in relatively prosperous ‘trade’. Perhaps small town drapers or possibly a regional grocers. A small town like Utherdale a century ago would have easily supported such enterprises in the absence of cars and internet marketing.

In the back row, left to right, I see first the bride’s brother who doesn’t seem very comfortable in formal rig. Next comes the grandfather with a very fine grandfatherly beard and then the obligatory uncle without whom such events are not complete – or he could be a rather older brother. Hard to be sure. He is a raffish chap with his boater and light tweed suit and undoubtedly a flask of spine stiffner in his pocket. Perhaps not the black-sheep of the family but certainly the tediously life and soul of the party. On his right, I see papa, looking very conscious of his position on this auspicious day, and then two respectable uncles who have done rather well for themselves. Those three are partners in the family business started by grandfather. I wonder if grandfather and Papa are holding up the chap in the boater who has had too many ‘toasts’ for his good.

The three seated in the front are harder to place. Not so well dressed and two without hats (horror). I suggest these might be important family retainers. On the left is Tom the gardener, in the middle is James the butler and on the right I think Edward the estate manager. Middle class families of the time had quite a few servants – even my own maternal grandfather, a not very senior civil servant, managed to employ a maid in the quite small house between the wars

Altogether though these seem to be too smart and well to do a group to have been my ancestors, nevertheless they are what they were.

Then my gaze turns to the ladies, accompanied by a few fellows. Their clothing is not of the best quality but perhaps going to church best? Flat hats on two of the men. These would be the various workers about the house and estate enjoying a celebratory tea in a corner of the field below the big house. The lady pouring the tea would never be called by anything other than “Mrs.” and her first name would have withered on the vine of long standing tradition. I see the florally dressed woman opposite as the cook … other than that details are lost in time.

Who knows?

By the way … coming from Yorkshire, I have always known that I am a Tyke but looking at these photographs caused me to look up its origin. Quote: “The term (Yorkshire) tyke is used as a nickname for a person from Yorkshire. The noun tyke is from Old Norse tík, denoting a female dog (cf. Norwegian tik, female dog, female fox). The English word dates back to the early 15th century; it denoted a dog, especially, depreciatively, a mongrel, and was applied to an unpleasant or coarse man.” Should I be flattered?

One a series of posts presenting photographs found in a family album of a century ago using the conventions of “imaginative historic remembrance”.