Old photos and their history

Postcard to Miss Pollard, Coventry, from Blackpool

Three women and a young girl are sitting down on a bench. The building behind looks like a cafe or hotel. In the window, we can see the reflection of a man wearing a homburg hat – perhaps the photographer. Between the photographer and the female group are wall railings.

The postcard back gives clues as to who is in the photo. It says:

“20 lime St Blackpool Having good time Mabel Grundy”

It’s addressed to a Miss Pollard. She lived at 6 Stephen Street in Coventry.

Stephen Street

The only two occupants I can find are Sydney and Clara Pollard. Both lived at 6 Stephen Street during the 1911 census.

Sydney Pollard (b1882) worked as a mail carrier for the General Post Office. He’d been born in Coventry.

Many of his family were involved in paper and printing. His dad, Samuel Pollard (b1845) had been a painter and paper hanger. His sister folded pamphlets (previously a bookbinders assistant) and a brother was a lithograph printer.

In 1901, he lived with his widowed mother, Emma Pollard (b1846), at 21 Stephen Street. His father had died in 1894. By this time he’d already started working at the Post Office.

Clara Lillian Ward (b1883) married Sydney in 1907. She’d been born in Wolstan, Warwickshire – a village on the outskirts of Coventry. Her parents were Joseph Ward (b1836, blacksmith) and Mabel Ward (b1843).

Clara and Sydney may have met in Coventry. During 1901, Clara worked in the centre of Coventry as a domestic servant for Thomas F.D. Lloyd’s family. Thomas Lloyd was a photographer and fancy dealer, working from home. The Lloyd family lived at 26 Earl Street.

In 1911, Emma had moved closer to her son. She now resided at 7 Stephen Street. Accompanying her were Sydney’s sister, now listed as a book folder, and one of Sydney’s brothers who worked as a pork butcher.

Sydney’s mother died in 1914.

In 1936, Sydney died, leaving Clara £40. In the 1939 Census, Clara lived alone at Stephen Street. She’s listed as providing first aid as part of the ARP’s (Air Raid Precautions) emergency medical services. Clara passed on in 1951, outliving her husband by fifteen years.

Miss Pollard?

There is a bit of a mystery as to who the letter is addressed to. The word “Miss” has a definite “i”. The initials don’t seem to correspond to Clara’s. Sydney and Clara didn’t have any children. So who is Miss Pollard?

The “Miss” could have been a mistake – written in a hurry. It may have been sent to Clara before her marriage. Or perhaps it was posted to a relative of Sydney’s.

Mabel Grundy

I don’t know who Mabel Grundy was. She may have been a friend or relative from Coventry. Blackpool had boomed as a tourist destination with the arrival of the railways and electricity in the 19th Century. Mabel and those with her could have been on holiday. Whoever she was, we can assume Mabel is one of those in the photo.

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Squad 21 “E” Flight, RAF

This postcard features, from left to right:

(standing) Dan Pluck, Hugh Green, Jim Wolstan, Jim Steavens, A. Spenley, Dan Saxby, S. Jones, G. Park

(sitting) Finch, C. Purdy, V. Symonds, Saxby, T. Richardson, G. Purdock, and R. Sandford.

The sender is not in the photo.

The uniforms appear to have the side eagles of the RAF. Likely an interwar photo. Possibly pilots in training. I would be thankful for any further information.


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