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A Victorian Lady.

Posted by Big John on February 25, 2007

g-m-1880.jpgHere is another one from the old family photograph album.

This one shows my grandmother and was taken around 1890, once again at a Henry Bown studio.

She appears to be very well dressed in a velvet bodice and skirt (How about that waist?), and a magnified close-up (click on image) of her jewellery shows a star shaped clasp at her neck with matching earrings and a large cameo hanging from an elaborate chain. The chain worn below it appears to be of the kind that men attached to their pocket watches at that time.

I know very little about my grandmother except that her maiden name was Mariah Offord and that she was probably a country girl, as my grandfather’s family were farm workers, his father being born in Ireland in 1845 and who is recorded in the1861 census as a ‘ploughboy’ lodging with a ploughman and his wife (also Irish) in a cottage on a common near a village in the Surrey Hills.

The picture shows a rather grand young lady and yet my father’s family were very poor; my grandfather being shown on my father’s 1901 birth certificate as a ‘bricklayer’s labourer’, a job which was common among poor ‘Irish’ workers at that time according to the census for that year.

The picture below shows the same woman …


…   about thirty years and ten children later.



4 Responses to “A Victorian Lady.”

  1. Ginnie said

    What a different world that was. 10 children !! That’s inconceivable to me. Your grandmother looks like one of those strong women who made it possible for us to enjoy all we have today. Bless her.

  2. Oscarandre said

    I have similar photographs of he English/Irish/Scottish ancestors, BJ – what amazes me is that they dressed in Australia in similar clothing. This is a harsh, hot land and it was short of those amenities that made it less harsh. I can only marvel at their fortitude. Women like your Grandmother often go unsung unfortunately.

  3. Pimme said

    It’s amazing to think of how much people dealt with back then, and how our “hardships” today pale by comparison.

    Lovely photos!

  4. Terri said

    What great photos. And it IS amazing when you think of how little money most people had back then. Yet…dressing properly was of paramount importance. She looks so elegant….even after 10 children.
    Those tiny waists they had….I’m sure they used those “girdles” with the strings and pulled them so tight, the poor women could barely breathe.

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