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Weddings of our ancestors

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Many of us have wedding photos in our albums of unidentified relatives. It is possible to find out the era in which the wedding took place by the outfits of the bride and groom and their guests. You may then be able to match it with a relative who married at that time.

This photo is of Joseph Samuel Clark (known as Sam) and Elizabeth Wright (known as Dolly) who married in Sutton in 1922. The style is typical of the 1920's.

Sam fought in WW1 as did his 2 brothers. He became a sergeant in the RASC.

In 1939 he and Dolly were living in Surbiton and Sam was working as an eletro-plater.

Ada and Sam's wedding 1920's

These wedding photos of Sam and Ada Knight is obviously in the 1920's with dropped waist dresses and cloche style hats. It is the wedding of Samuel Knight to Ada Harvey in August 1927 in West Norwood. In the 1911 census Sam lived at 29 St. Clouds road, Norwood and Ada lived at 21 St. Clouds road. On the 1939 they were still living at number 25 where they had lived since they married. He was a Barman/ Cellarman and had not fought in WW1 as he had broken his leg as a young man and walked with a limp. He did however do his part as a fire watcher.

During the 1940's weddings were often arranged quickly. With rationing and little money wedding attire was often very practical with suits that could be borrowed or worn again being popular. This picture of Betty May Knight marrying Robert Kenneth Trautner at St. Luke's Church West Norwood in 1949 is a good example of what many ordinary people wore during the 1940's in a time of true austerity.

1940's wedding

The wedding of Ada and Sam in the 1920's

Thomas Ryan and Pauline Crowhurst married in 1952, not long after the war. For most people there was little money to have a big wedding. Pauline borrowed her wedding dress and although she married in Brompton Oratory as it was their parish church there was not any money to pay for flowers or decorations at the church. Fortunately their wedding followed a large society one for which the church had been richly decorated.

They also were only able to invite 50 guests as they only had £50 for the reception and it was £1 a head.

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