Wedding Wednesday – The Clue on the Cake

I scanned this picture for a post I want to write.Elgey, cake

It looks pretty awesome all blown up like this! The photograph is postcard size – not that small – but I have never seen (or noticed?) the details before.

The doily it is sitting on – is that paper or fabric? I’m thinking paper. A fabric bow….

And … hands?
Elgey, cake handsI’ve never seen anything like that on a wedding cake before! What are they made of?

Why are they there?

What else is on this cake?

Elgey, cake middle

Looks like leaves and horseshoes – for good luck, I suppose. Do you think the leaves and beadish things are silver or gold? I think silver. Flowers… ribbons… what else do you see?

Here’s the top…
Elgey, cake top

Some unusual bells, more flowers and leaves, some cherubs. What are those two cherubs holding in their hands?

The wedding topper doesn’t look that much different than some you might see today. What is the base of that topper made of? Bisque? Plaster? Royal icing? An early plastic?

I need to take another look at that hand on the right – it looks a little wonky.
Elgey, George.Wedding cake closer

I’ve never noticed the letters on that bow before. Looks like “I” and “L” on the left and “G” and “E” on the right.

I know this is the wedding cake for George and his bride, Bella, because it says so on the back.

Elgey, cake back

I know it’s George Elgey because I have a letter he wrote to my grandmother in his beautiful handwriting. He was one of my grandmother’s “English cousins.”

So G. E. could be for George Elgey.

“I” could be the initial for Isabella. And her last name must begin with “L”.

I’ve never come across the surname for George’s wife in the years I’ve been puzzling over his family. Now I have a clue!

Off I go to and low and behold – a marriage record for George F. Elgey and Isabella Lidford! Registered in the last quarter of 1920 in the England and Wales Marriage Index.
Elgey, George.marriage index

A new clue. And all because I rescanned this picture and really looked at it.



31 thoughts on “Wedding Wednesday – The Clue on the Cake

  1. Great detective work! It was customary for British brides to carry a sew a horseshoe tucked into their bouquet on their wedding day as a sign of good luck. Maybe Isabella carried one in addition to the miniatures on her cake. Also, the bells look like they could have been charms of some sort. These were mementos for the bridesmaids, tied to ribbons (or in this case, wires) and inserted between the layers of the wedding cake (usually a fruitcake). The bridesmaids would pull them out with before the cake was cut – the “ribbon pull.” The charms were considered to be signs of good luck for the bridesmaids, too. Her choice of gift seems to promise her attendants could look forward to their own wedding bells one day. If those were indeed charms, Isabella must have had quite a few bridesmaids.

    • Thanks for your detective work as well! I have a wedding picture that I think goes with the cake – funny how the cake was identified, but not the picture with people in it! It doesn’t seem to be a large wedding, but maybe the photo was just for family…. not sure. The groom had several sisters and I don’t know about Bella? I didn’t know about the horseshoe tucked in the bouquet, so now I’ll have to see if one is visible in the other picture. Thanks so much for this great information, Linda!

        • I wish I knew. They appear to be a woman’s hands with some kind of pearlized cuff or bracelet. Their delicacy and whiteness might indicate the purity of the bride??? Just a guess. I can’t tell whether there is a ring on the left index finger or not. It is interesting that the hands are clasped around the cake.

  2. This is such a unique wedding cake, I’ve never seen one like it. After enlarging the image of the top portion of the cake, it appears the cupids/angels are holding a hammer in one hand and intertwined rings in the other. The hands remind me of Victorian pictures of hands. I’m curious about their meaning. If you find out, please add to your post or in comments. It really pays to enlarge small photos, otherwise you can potentially miss out on great details, like the initials on the ribbon which led you to the name of the bride. Great post!

    • I thought it looked like hammers in the cupids’ hands, but I didn’t notice the intertwined rings. Thanks for finding more! If I find out anything about those hands, I’ll be sure to let you know.

  3. Wonderful!! Great detective work! Congratulations on finding Bella’s maiden name!

    I love how you enlarged the photo of the cake to view the details. The hands are quite puzzling though. I can safely say that I’ve never seen anything like that on a wedding cake (or any other kind of cake for that matter).

  4. Wow, this is great and makes me want to go to a wedding. Perhaps I’ll just order a small wedding cake. The first thing I noticed was the initials on the ribbon. What a cool idea! They must have been very proud of it to use it as a postcard image.

    • I do wonder how the cake tasted! I read that three tiered cakes came into fashion not too many years before this one was made. I think you should order that little cake and enjoy it!

  5. What a fun idea – blowing up a cake. Well, photographically, I mean. The cupids look like they’re holding hammers although that makes no sense to me. And the hands appear to be a big hug around the cake although that sounds more like something a soccer-mom would do than a baker in 1920.

    • lol! I can’t help but think of the Saturday Night Live character with the little hands when I look at this. Maybe she’s hiding back there behind the cake and giving it a big hug.

  6. This is just so amazing! I just loved the photo revealing each layer of the cake to me as it downloaded. I now feel compelled to go back through wedding photos looking for cake. But I doubt I’ll ever find one half as neat as this. Fantastic detective work on your part. I am very very impressed – with the cake making too of course!

    • Danita! You are a great Internet detective! I got nothing from my search.
      Since this cake is a few years later than what the website said they were commonly in use, I wondered if they had been reused from a parent’s wedding? Or maybe they were still in fashion.
      And the picture of the cake you found does look very similar. Thanks!!!

  7. I haven’t, quite worked out the name of the person who is writing this Blog, but I wonder if we may be very distant relations? I have some information on a couple of your photos, so here it is. It would be great to hear from you, to know that you’ve seen the information I am able to add for you, here, and, to possibly make contact.

    With regard to the wedding photo of George and Bella Elgey, and the sweet shop photo, you have the surname correct, somewhere, earlier in your text, but then, it changes, and becomes incorrect. I can’t quite read the wording in the marriage records, but I can assure you that IF it says Isabella Lidmore, it is NOT correct.

    The sweet shop photo is of my Grandad, Thomas LidFORD, and his Mother, Margaret LidFORD (nee Hansen – she was of Norwegian descent, but born in England). We have a photo of Thomas Lidford outside the same shop, in Station Road, Hetton Le Hole (I think it was 66 Station Road, possibly Station House), and numerous pictures of him with his Mother. It is the same lady as is in your photo with him at the shop. My brother Stephen Lidford, is the spitting image of Tommy, in that photo, though doesn’t look like Tommy, as our Grandad grew older.

    So, in the wedding photo you have Isabella Lidford (known as Bella), her brother Thomas Lidford and their Mother, Margaret Lidford. They lived at Hetton Le Hole. There was also an ‘Aunty’ Sarah, who lived at Houghton Le Spring, and the young lady towards the back, who you have queried as possibly being Sarah, looks like she could be her. I don’t remember her husband (if she had one).

    I do remember Aunty Bella and Uncle George (they lived at 52 Station Road, I believe). I have photos of their sons Kenneth and Jack, Elgey, when they were children (in one, dated February 1931, Kenneth was 8 months and Jack was 7 years old). My father, Derek Lidford, in the same photo, was 10 months, and another cousin, Greta Lidford (daughter of George), was 13 months, so they were all fairly similar in age, and lived very near to each other. George moved to Halstead in Essex, possibly just after the war, and Tommy Lidford and his wife Frances (nee Fisher), followed him down, in about 1947, and lived in Bocking, Braintree, Essex, until they died.

    My Father’s sister, also Margaret Lidford, mentioned a John who lived at 56 Station Road (not sure who he is), and Betty (I think she was a Lidford, who married, Alfie Ford, so presumably another sister of Bella and Tommy), who lived at no 23 Station Road. It sounds like the one family owned half of the Street!

    Someone called Bob, lived at 26 Essex Street, Hetton le Hole, and I will have to find out his surname, and what relation he was to the family.

    I’m not sure if the man with the big moustache, behind Tommy, is his Father (Frederick John Lidford(?), I’m waiting for confirmation of that, from my Aunt). He looks like someone of whom I have memories of having seen in photos – but I may be wrong, if you think he was dead by the time of the wedding.

    I hope that has helped fill in some of your gaps. I look forward to hearing from you, sometime soon.

    Best wishes
    Karen Hughes (nee Lidford)

    • Hi Karen! Thank you so much for your comments! And you caught a typo! It seems that I meant to type Lidford, but mistakenly typed Lidmore. I will correct it.

      It has been quite a while since I have taken a good look at these photos, so I’ll hop over to look at the others and be in touch with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *