Peasants to Puddles
My Family History - By Nicky Rowberry

Help Wanted

The following are all family photos, but the identities of the people are unknown. If you think you can give me some clue, no matter how small, to any of these photos, please E-mail me. It would be very much appreciated. This page contains several images which may be slow to download.

This first photo does have some clues in it. The original photo is stuck on a board, with the name F Preece, 24a Commercial Street, Hereford printed at the bottom - the name of the photographers presumably. The young man sitting on the stool has HMS Gladiator written on his cap. The HMS Gladiator sank in 1908, so the photograph must pre-date this. If anyone can give me any help either locating the cottage (somewhere in Herefordshire) or identifying the people, I would be very grateful. Any advice on how to go about finding crew lists for the HMS Gladiator could be very useful too.

Solved!! At last finally solved who and where this one is. The cottage is at Stallenge, in Withington, Herefordshire. The older couple are James Corbett and his wife Fanny Green, with a boy who is probably their youngest son William Corbett. The sailor with the Gladiator cap I think is a neighbour's son - Arthur James Brookes. Arthur served on the Gladiator between October 1900 and March 1901, so the photo must date from around that time. I can't be absolutely sure the sailor is Arthur Brookes, but he's the only sailor I can find who served on the Gladiator and came from the Withington area.

This second photo has no obvious clues. It comes from my Dad's side of the family, so was probably taken in Herefordshire. If anyone recognises any of these people, I would love to hear from them. If anyone could even suggest an approximate date for the photo, it would be a big help in narrowing down the options.

Solved!! At last finally solved who and where this one is. It is the Brookes family and was probably taken in Burghill, Herefordshire. The older couple are Thomas Brookes and his wife Emma Chamberlain, with their youngest children Sarah, Albert & John Brookes. Albert has some kind of medal pinned on his lapel and is in the centre of the photo. He won a school scholarship around 1899, so I suspect this photo may have been taken around then to mark the occasion.

This third photo I think comes from the Scottish side of the family. It may be Jane Johnstone (1844-1925) but no-one is sure. If anyone can help date the style of her clothing, or come up with any other suggestions, I would love to hear from them.

Solved - sort of! This fourth photo must come from the Scottish side of the family, and for many years I assumed we were related. It now seems likely that the only connection is the surname itself. You can read all about Johnstone's shop here.

I assume this fifth photo comes from the Scottish side of the family, since the small boy is wearing a kilt. If anyone can help date the style of their clothing, it would be a big help.

Both of these photo were taken by R. Whiteford, 9 Victoria Street, Rothesay. Were they sisters?

Solved - sort of! This photo comes from a cousin of mine from the Green side of the family. It was clearly taken in New Zealand by a photographer called Hermann of Cuba Street, Wellington. On the back it has written "For Grandma. With Love from Emma.". I am about 95% certain that this is a photo of James Jackson and Emma Elizabeth Keeley whose mother was Mary Ann Green. James and Emma married in 1900 in New Zealand, which fits with the style of clothes in the photo and with the years this photographer was operating. In addition the man in this photo looks very similar to a photo of one of James Jackson's brothers I found on So it looks like Emma sent her wedding photo home to her Granny Green in England. If anyone can either confirm or correct this, I would love to hear from them.

If any of the above is of further interest, please feel free to contact me at:

Nicky Rowberry 2021

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Peasants to Puddles - My Family History. By Nicky Rowberry