Before they were married

This is currently my favourite old photo from the hundred or so ‘scanned in’ a couple of days ago. It is the only one just showing grandparents Sydney Howes and Emily Neal, and has been captioned “Wellington 1912”, a whole seven years before they married. I wonder who took it?

Wellington, Shropshire was then the home of Emily’s older sister Eliza, who had been like a second mum to her, and had married Ernest Laddiman. Both Sydney and Emily were elementary school teachers – he started teaching in 1909, she in 1910 – so would have time to visit the relations in the school holidays.

Nellie Neal, Emily, Sydney, Alec and Ethel Williams, legs of Harry just visible?

There is another  photo which could well have been taken in Shropshire the same year with Sydney and Emily arm in arm accompanied by the Williams children going for a walk. I take the presence of Emily’s mother Nellie to be an approving one. Or it might be a year earlier, 1911 – as ages of 7 for Alec and 13 for Ethel would seem to fit better.

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