Sepia Saturday – The Sweet Shop …. and final installment of George’s Wedding Photo

SepiaSat March 31Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images.

This week’s prompt of two men in the doorway of a Coffee Lounge reminded me of a photograph emailed to me by a cousin. Thanks Brian! 🙂

Elgey, George.WeddingI’m using this photograph of two people standing by the door of a candy store to fit the prompt today. But more importantly, it is my last post about identifying the people in a photograph taken on the occasion of the marriage of George Elgey to Isabella Lidford.

I promise. The last one……. unless I hear from someone who can help identify some of these people.


Unknown sweet shop in England

There is nothing to indicate a connection between the picture above and the wedding picture except that my cousin included it with other pictures that his grandmother had of relatives from England.

454px-Frys_five_boys_milk_chocolateI hoped that the Fry name on the storefront might give me a clue to the identity of the store owners, but I was so very wrong. Instead I quickly learned that Fry’s Chocolates were the largest producers of chocolate in Britain in the 1800s. The Fry name on the store was simply advertisement.

The Fry’s Chocolates family were innovators in the chocolate business, producing the first molded chocolate bar for widespread distribution in 1866. They were also the first to make chocolate Easter eggs – in 1873 – making this Easter weekend the 140th anniversary of chocolate Easter eggs.

By the time the picture above was taken in 1922, Fry’s Chocolates had merged with Cadbury, forming the British Cocoa and Chocolate Company. When you bite into that Cadbury chocolate egg tomorrow, you have the Fry family to thank.

The photograph didn’t yield any clues and the back of it wasn’t much help either…. somebody’s mother and brother.

unknown Sweet Shop reverse

I have been looking at the wedding picture so much recently, that it occurred to me that the woman above resembles a woman in the wedding picture.

Unknown woman sweet shop cropElgey, in back crop                          Elgey, crop

They look like the same woman to me! Eleanor Richardson Coates, mother of Jennie Coates Elgey (and grandmother of the groom), was not alive at the time of the wedding, so that eliminates the possibility that she is the woman above. My best guess is that she is the mother of the bride – pictured on the right above.

And then there is the young man in the photo of the sweet shop.

Unknown man sweet shop cropElgey, far right

He resembles this young man in the wedding photo. Of course, in my last post I wondered if he was Edward Elgey. If the woman is the mother of the bride, then he could be the brother of the bride.

Elgey, George.Wedding

I’ve just begun research on the bride, Isabella Lidford, and I think I have found her in the 1911 Census. She is listed with parents Frederick John and Margaret Ann Lidford. The children are listed as:

Isabella Lidford 12
Sarah Lidford 9
Thos William Lidford 7
Margaret Ann Lidford 3
George Lidford 4/12

Elgey, left cropCould the young woman in back be Isabella’s younger sister, Sarah? She would have been about 18 at the time of the wedding.

And could the young man on the right in the wedding photo (and the sweet shop) be Isabella’s younger brother Thomas? He would have been about 16 at the time of the wedding.

I also found a 1918 death record for a Frederick J Lidford in Houghton, Durham, England. If I have the right man and family, Isabella’s father died in 1918 at the age of 44, about two years before her marriage. This makes me think that the man with the mustache is Frederick Elgey, father of the groom. Of course, that is pure speculation.

I’ll sum up what I think I have learned about the people in the wedding photograph and then follow up with a couple of closeup views of the sweet shop picture. Here’s the wedding picture again to make it a little easier to follow:

Elgey, George.WeddingThe people I feel confident that I have identified:
The groom: George Elgey
The bride: Isabella Lidford
Man on the left: John Elgey – brother of the groom
Woman in white standing on right side: Ethel Elgey – sister of the groom
Woman standing in back behind John and George: Jennie Coates Elgey – groom’s mother
Woman in black standing between the bride and Ethel: Nellie – wife of John Elgey

I’m less confident, but think my guess is a strong possibility:
Seated on left: Lizzie Elgey – sister of the groom

Good guesses:
Older woman in dark hat: Margaret Lidford – mother of the bride
Young man on right: Thomas Lidford – brother of the bride

Pure speculation, but reasonable guesses:
Man with mustache: Frederick Elgey – father of groom
Girl in back between older women: Sarah Lidford – sister of the bride
Seated on right: maybe, possibly, could be Hilda Dawson – cousin of groom

That’s what I think, anyway. I’d love to hear what you think!

Here’s a closer look at the sweet shop, just for fun.

Unknown sweet shop in England_2











Do you think those are filled Christmas stockings in the window?

Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, or perhaps more chocolate with the other’s who are participating in Sepia Saturday.


Sources: 1911 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA), 1911. England & Wales, Death Index, 1916-2006 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office.

Flatbed scan of advertisement of Fry’s “Five Boys” milk chocolate from Wikimedia Commons.


26 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday – The Sweet Shop …. and final installment of George’s Wedding Photo

  1. What an interesting shop front, but frustrating in that there are precious few clues as to the location. I noticed a fragment of a sign at upper right – ON and TE – could this be a street sign, I wonder? Good that you have been able to identify the two people in the doorway fairly conclusively. Once you have a name, you’ll have to wait until the 1921 Census comes out to discover where they had their sweet shop.

  2. A great match between your photo and the theme and how frustrating not to know where it was. I think I’ll go have some chocolate now 😉

    • What street did they live in for the 1911 census? Perhaps they were in the same area…Brett’s tip is a good one. Maybe On….Te(rrace)?? Your theories on the people seem pretty good to me.

      • The address is: 38 Sunniside North Via Fence Houses Co Durham
        I tried to Google the address, but didn’t come up with anything. I have to admit, place names in England confuse me! I finally figured out that Fence Houses is a town. I didn’t find a Sunniside street, but I found a Sunniside farm in the area that coincidentally has a chocolate business. I’d have to look again, but that’s what I remember…

  3. Wonderful detective work. Oh I remember Fry’s chocolate from my youth, lovely stuff. And I can still remember little sweet shops like the one illustrated, they only began to get swept away in the 1950s. An Easter Egg of a post, thanks.

  4. You have put a lot of work into finding out about one photo and succeedly remarkably well. Frys used to be one of my favourites with white cream in each segment; I wouldn’t be allowed any even if I could find some today. Shame with have lost shops with character like that.

  5. That’s an interesting storefront photo postcard. At first I was surprised that there was no name other than Fry’s, but I suspect that Fry’s had similar little stores in many locations.

    • That’s an interesting storefront photo postcard. At first I was surprised that there was no name other than Fry’s, but I suspect that Fry’s had similar little stores in many locations.

      Update: I changed my mind after Googling Fry’s Chocolate shops. I found a nice image of a shop that had the store name above the window in an area not shown in your photo. See:

      • Thanks for the link, Postcardy! That store looks very similar. I wonder if I could get some information by contributing my photo there?

  6. Well, you’ve certainly had us all poring over the photographs in detail. A pity about the false start with Fry’s chocolate, but it seems to have been on the window of every sweet ship at that time.

  7. I totally agree with your first identification: The woman to the right of the bride is the mother of the bride. Those two faces look so much alike! And the man on the right, this mother’s child and the bride’s brother, looks like Thomas Lidmore or the man in the sweet shop door, especially around the chin.

    One more thought: Even in wedding photos today, they have a “bride’s side” and a “groom’s side” arrangement of the two families. This principle holds true in the most part for your identifications, but for the ones you’re uncertain about, maybe this custom of arranging the two families could tip the scale one way or another. I really enjoyed this whole game.

    • Thanks for that tip, Mariann. That thought had crossed my mind. It doesn’t hold true for Ethel Elgey who is on the “bride’s side,” but I wondered if it might hold true for the two seated and for the man with the mustache. Perhaps he is an uncle of the bride?

  8. Where is my chocolate! What a fact filled post, with great photos, good timing too, with chocolate being even especially important this last weekend, at least on this side of the pond with Easter egg hunts!

    • I hope you had some chocolate for Easter! I ate a Cadbury egg and proceded to educate my family about its history. Not sure they were all that interested. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I do have a can of cocoa from Fry in my cupboard.
    I see your investigation is coming along nicely.
    Keep at it!!
    You’ll find [all of] your answers [eventually]!!

    • Thanks! I thought I was done with them, but the next prompt takes me right back to George and Bella. I guess that makes me a liar….

        • It’s funny how preparing posts for Sepia Saturday led me to examine photographs more closely and find more clues. In the middle of writing this I realized I could compare the handwriting – which I had not done before.

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