I love old photographs. The fascination may have begun with our family album or the box of photographs that my grandmother had in her 'press'. Together, we would look at each one and she would tell me who they were and what had happened to them. A fair number of them she had forgotten and so their usually glum faces remained unidentified. A mystery to this day.
One of my favourites was this group taken when my mother, second from the left, was young and untroubled. She is accompanied by her mother and three aunts. There are several generations present including my great, great grandmother born in 1861!

This is the missing sister, Bella, who died in her teens. She was an apprentice milliner.









And the missing brother James.
James, the eldest son and a tailor by profession, was killed on the 25th September, 1915 at the Battle of Loos and is among those commemorated on the Loos memorial at Pas de Calais. He was a Private in the Highland Light Infantry. There were more than 20,000 dead following the battle. Pictures of the memorial and an account of the battle may be found at

This photograph of a model of HMS Victoria comes from a collection of 5 x 4 inch glass negatives dating from around 1900. They were taken by a Royal Naval cadet and show a remarkable level of skill considering he would have been using a bellows camera on a tripod. Other images from the collection show views of a cruiser taken from the crows nest and I can imagine him struggling up the mast with his awkward load.
A friend who is knowledgeable about naval matters tells me that it is actually a half-hull model shown against a mirror. It is quite accurate as Victoria had side by side funnels. Another interesting fact was that HMS Victoria and her sister ship Sans Pareil were notorious for pitching their bows in heavy weather and became known as the 'pair of slippers'. HMS Victoria was famously rammed and sunk in the Med by another naval vessel. Oops!