The photo on this page was given to me by my relative Keith Shortland. The man and woman make a striking couple but neither of us know who they are, the only clue is the name and address of the photographer which appears in the bottom right of the photo – B G Brock, 23 Wellingboro Road, Northampton.
Northampton is known for shoe making and I know some of my ancestors were shoe makers in Northamptonshire (one is recorded as being a journeyman shoemaker meaning he traveled around the country to work).
A search of the National Archives has found two entries which reference the photographer.
- Photograph of very large boot and small boot, with the maker named Clifton of Long Buckby in the employ of Messrs Cook of Long Buckby, Northamptonshire, sitting behind with folded arm
- Photograph of Richard Burge, Frederick Dunkley, Charles Lawrence and Luke Passey in a group being Crimean and Indian Mutiny Veterans resident in Northampton
In February 2018, Paul Boniface who was researching Victorian and Edwardian photographers in Northamptonshire got in touch and advised:
Benjamin George Brock ran a studio at 237 Wellingborough Road, Northampton between 1903 and 1907. In 1901 the census shows him as a lodger at 235 Wellingborough Road – occupation photographer and on 1 March 1903 he married Ida Blanche Allen. The 1911 census shows him living at 25 Beaconsfield Terrace, Northampton – occupation Foreign Correspondent.
The photo is a studio photo and the style of dress is in keeping with early Edwardian attire. Paul thought the emblem on the gentleman’s jacket was a flower (maybe a dahlia) and advised that a journeyman is the stage after an apprenticeship – there was five to seven years worked as an apprentice and then three years as a journeyman.
If you check the size of the photo it will also give you an indication of the date. 2.5″ x 4″ (CdV) would point to the early years of Benjamin and 4″ x 6.5″ would be the latter say 1905-7.
Shoemaker or veteran, I don’t have the answers right now – whether I can learn more about the people on the photograph remains to be seen but I intend to try.