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Family mystery posed by local girls' portraits

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: February 03, 2014

By Gavin Jones

  • The wedding of Alice Ball and George Smith,

  • Ethel (nee Ball) and William Baker

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HOW often, when going through a collection of old family photographs, do we find ourselves bemoaning the fact that our forebears didn't put names on to identify the people in them?

It's particularly frustrating when you're investigating your family tree, and realise that you probably have a name to match that face, but no way of knowing which one it is.

And it's in the hope that someone out there can help put names to faces that Sue Bevin of Great Bridge brings these pictures to us, which are part of a collection once belonging to her late grandmother Ethel Baker, nee Ball.

Ethel and husband William Henry Baker, known to some as 'Wicked Will', are pictured together in the first photograph, and would have been well known to many in their corner of Great Bridge. After they married in 1933, they ran a sweet shop from the living room of their house on Cophall Street. More relatives are shown in the wedding picture, from the marriage of Ethel's sister Alice Ball and George Smith, probably taken at Cophall Street, but the pictures that are puzzling Sue are the collection of a couple of dozen female portraits, a handful of which we reproduce here.

None of those shown have names with them, but all are evidently studio portraits; some taken by Horace Dudley of Dudley town centre, and others from Sidney Darby's West Bromwich studios.

But who were they, and why did Ethel keep them? Sue believes they may have been work colleagues, perhaps from the time Ethel worked at Kenrick and Jefferson in West Bromwich.

If you think you recognise any of these young women, give us a call on 01384 567678, drop by the Bugle shop, or send an email to gjones@blackcountrybugle.co.uk, and we will put you in touch with Sue Bevin.

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