Who was Mrs Catherine?🤔💒

We popped into the Crewkerne Antiques Bazaar earlier this week, and although old photos are few and far between, I found one! This beautiful large Wedding group photo was taken in the mid-1890s between 1893 and 1897, look at those fantastic leg o mutton sleeves! Just a bit too large for my scanner so it’s not the best photo.

A few variations of the fashionable outfits from 1893 are in my Harper’s Bazaar reference book.

These are the two addresses written on the back. Written by two different people, I’ll come back to these later.

So after seeing these details on the back of the old photo there are a few options for me.

1)Mrs Catherine could be the Bride, meaning that an unknown lady married Mr Catherine.

2)Or Mrs Catherine might be the Mother of the Groom, Mr Catherine

3)Or Miss Catherine married an unknown male and Mrs Catherine was her Mother.

4)Or Mrs Catherine was just a friend or family member who had this photo framed.

As the surname, Catherine is the only name I have. I searched for a marriage during the 1890s and these are the only five I found on any site for the 1890s. This screenshot is from the FreeBMD site. Hannah is the best matching date 1896 and also William Henry in 1893 the other three are outside the match with the fashions. So I’ve made a small family tree for both of these couples just to see what records I could find and if either trees gave me some more clues re the addresses. What I was hoping for initially was that maybe someone had put some family photos on their public tree on Ancestry that I might have been able to compare the people on this photo with.

So this is the first couple that married on 25 December 1893 and I have found no photos of them at all but I just have a feeling about this couple, a hunch, I shall add more records and see what I come up with.

William Henry Catherine

BIRTH: 21 Jan 1870 in Lambeth, London, England. DEATH: 5 Nov 1958 in London, England

Alice Sophia Parnum

BIRTH: 13 Sep 1872 in Canterbury, Kent, England. DEATH: Aug 1951 in West Chiltington, Sussex, England

This is the second couple that is again definitely matching with the fashion date as they married in February 1896.

Hannah Catherine

BIRTH: 1877 in St Lukes, Middlesex, England. DEATH: Jul 1964 in St Pancras, London, England

William Clayton

BIRTH: Abt. 1877 in St Pancras, Middlesex, England. DEATH: Deceased

Now the interesting thing about this second couple is that I found a couple of old photos shared on public family trees for them. They are definitely NOT the same couple as the bride and groom in my photo. So I can count these out.

So after this I decided to take the photo out of the frame just in case I found any more clues on the front card frame, before I searched for the addresses, and that has made it more of a puzzle as you can see from the two photos below of the Photographers’ details. The wedding photo was taken on the Isle of Wight miles away from London. I wasn’t expecting that! There are no Catherine’s marriages on the Isle of Wight. But I did find a widow aged 66 called Jane Catherine in the 1861 census who had been born in Freshwater and was living at 25, Union Street, Newchurch, Isle of Wight, she was a servant. Not very helpful.

Photographer. 1895 IW County Press advertisement, Arthur H Kirk, photographer, Palmerstone, Freshwater Bay. Arthur Henry Kirk was one of the sons of William Umpleby Kirk (lots more info on Wikipedia). Arthur was born in 1866 and died on the Isle of Wight in 1928.

William Umpleby Kirk

1906 Kelly’s Directory of IOW (page 662) Kirk & Sons, photographers, Imperial Studio, The Parade & Bath Road, Cowes. Arthur H Kirk, photographer, Palmerston, Freshwater Bay. He was active at Freshwater Bay between these dates which tie in nicely with the photo being taken 1895-1896. As a family, the Kirk’s took some wonderful images during their time. All this information I found on the IOWPhoto. Info website, link here for more: http://www.iowphotos.info/studios/kirk.htm

So now to look at the addresses in London.

This below is the 1901 census for 10 Murillo Road and just look who is living here, it’s the couple I had favoured, William Henry Catherine and his wife Alice Sophia (Parnum) I’m thrilled and very thankful for the ability to search for addresses on Find My Past, goodness that saves so much time. I haven’t found any records for them at the other address in Barnes but maybe they were only there for a short time or maybe it was written on later by a descendant.

This is the 1901 census from Find My Past

By 1911 the family had moved.

Here’s the couple in 1911 living at 20 Chalcroft Road, Manor Park, Lee S E record from Ancestry.

This is William and Alice’s marriage record below for Christmas day 1893 at St Alfrege’s Church, Greenwich record from Ancestry.

In 1921 (see below) the family are living at 25 Spring Road in the Southampton area of Hampshire, William Catherine b1870, Alice Sophia b 1871, and then 4 of their 5 children. This is the image below from Find my Past and as you can see they have another daughter Charlotte born in 1912.

Then by the time of the 1939 Register the family have moved to Brushwood, Birch Tree Lane, West Chiltington Common, Pulborough, Sussex. William is retired now but he’s also an ARP Warden. Olive their daughter is still living with them and is single and there are two records still redacted that we can’t see. Are they two of their daughters? or someone else?

Record from Ancestry of 1939 Register.

I have been adding lots to the family tree about the Catherine family and their children, following the records and looking carefully at the addresses just to see if I could find a link to the Isle Of Wight or the other address on the back of the photo, patience paid off as late afternoon on day 2 of researching as I was checking through the electoral registers for William and Alice’s daughter Jessie Olive/Olive Jessie Catherine I found it, the other address:

Name: Olive J Catherine
Electoral Date: 1964
Street Address: 17 Ranelagh Gardens
Ward or Division/Constituency: Barnes, Richmond and Twickenham
County or Borough: Richmond, England

A little Family History.

William Henry Catherine’s parents were William Henry Catherine and Sarah Fowler. Alice Sophia Parnum’s parents were Ethelbert Parnum and Esther Cardnell.

William was a Clerk, Civil Servant, later working for the Board of Trade & Minister of Labour (M S O ). As you can see below William and Alice had five children, as far as I can see at the moment. 1) Ronald Stuart married late in life aged 51 to Joan Lawson in Jan 1947 and he died in the July quarter of the same year, registered in Eton, Buckinghamshire although his address states he lived in Bath, Somerset. I don’t think they had any children. His effects were left to his widow Joan and his father William Henry. 2) Dorothy Louise never married, she was a Shorthand Typist, maybe a secretary? She was 80 when she died in Pennington, Lymington. No children. 3) Marjorie Alice was a Teacher and she too married late in life at 42 to William Ronald Trounson who was a Company Director. He had been born in Cornwall and it seems that they both went to Cornwall when they retired as they were both buried there. William Ronald had a son from his previous marriage. Marjorie was 91 when she died. She’s the only member of the family that I’ve found a photo of on Ancestry:

4) Jessie Olive (known as Olive) doesn’t seem to have had an occupation, it looks like she was living with and probably looking after her parents. She was living with them when they moved to Sussex and then after her Mother died in 1951 it looks like she and her father moved back to London, Kensington, he died there in 1958. I wonder if after that was when she moved to Ranlegh Gardens as she was there in 1964. Later she moved down to the New Forest area of Hampshire where she died in 2005 aged 95. She never married or had children. 5) Constance Charlotte, the youngest, married Richard W Walpole when she was 25 in 1938, they had two children a girl and a boy born in 1943 and 1949, so maybe as William and Alice’s only Grandchildren they might have had children of their own. Richard was a Sales Manager of Automobiles in 1939. They lived in Richmond, London. He died on Mar 2003 and her address then is given as Flat 4, River House, 23, the Terrace, SW13 0NR where she died in 2011 aged 98. This is the link to the small Public family tree I have compiled on Ancestry: Catherine/Parnum Family Tree

Wedding Photo Story. So now I think I know the story of the photo. It was taken by an unknown photographer at the time of William and Alice’s marriage on Christmas Day 1893 in Greenwich. Then later they visited the Isle of Wight, maybe on holiday or even before they moved down to Hampshire and the photographer Arthur H Kirk of Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight made a copy of their original and mounted it on a card frame, maybe enlarging it slightly, it may have been a Cabinet Card originally. He sent this new photo to their address in Lewisham. Then years later in the 1960s, their daughter Jessie/Olive wrote her address on the back, did she maybe have copies made for other members of the family? Or was it when she moved that she wrote the address on the back? But how did it end up in Crewkerne in Somerset I wonder?

I’m so chuffed to have found some of the answers to this old photo puzzle. If you are a descendant of the family please do get in touch as a comment here or email me at lynnswaffles@gmail.com I would love to hear from you!

Till next time then…….


  1. Hi Lynn, well and so you should be very pleased with yourself after all that research,such patience you have !!. It is a very interesting story. Thankyou for sharing. Have a great weekend.


  2. I love reading about how you’ve solved these mysteries. I find it so sad that so many of these old photos end up at antique fairs or shops, but I suppose that’s better than going in a skip!
    Thank you so much for your interesting emails.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Joy, I’m really glad you enjoyed reading. I do enjoy unraveling these mysteries. Yes it is sad but they have a good home with me & thankfully some do get to go home to their families. Kind Regards Lynn


  3. Dear Lynn,

    I happened across your interesting website and post concerning Gustavus Smith. As far as I know, there are no other images of the Gustavus Thomas Smith that you mention, though I think there is some probability that you have discovered his photograph, given the society studio in Leamington, less than 15 miles from his home and the age of the sitter, perhaps in his 60s, which would fit.

    Gustavus Thomas Smith was born in about 1800. He inherited the very fine Goldicote House, with estate, in Warwickshire on the death of his father.

    He married, firstly, Sarah Elizabeth Yates, a cousin of Sir Robert Peel Bt., the eldest daughter of Rev William Yates of Eccleston, Lancashire. Secondly, he married Caroline Sophia Mordaunt (nee Murray), widow of Sir John Mordaunt 9th Baronet, on 25 Apr 1853, whom I have researched. See : Mordaunt.me.uk

    Gustavus Thomas Smith was a a captain in the Queen’s Buffs (2nd Dragoon Guards). He was a wealthy landowner and shareholder/member of the Provisional Committee of the Birmingham and Oxford Junction Railway, which opened in the 1850s (see : The Railway Chronicle: Joint-stock Companies Journal. Register Volume 1).

    Gustavus Thomas Smith was an amateur cricketer (associated with the Marylebone Cricket Club from 1815 to 1823).

    He died on 6 Jan 1875, at age of 75.

    Jim Symington

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jim. Thanks so very much for getting in touch with me. I will definitely check him out, he looks a really interesting match & then transfer your information also to go on the correct Blog so that others can see. I don’t know why it’s come up on a different Blog? Never mind, I will sort it out. Kind Regards Lynn


      • It’s come up on a different blog because I am not very techie and was trying to find somewhere on the site to contact you (!). Sorry about that.
        I think it’s fascinating that you found this at a market in Sussex, where there are no obvious connections.
        I really enjoyed looking at your website.
        Regards Jim

        Liked by 1 person

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