All the time I was sorting through them (my husband had gone off with the kids for an hour), I was wondering how these photos came to be thrown in a box, uncherished, disowned. I suppose people die and either their relatives don't want their photos or don't think to save them when their houses are cleared. That would be one of the saddest things that could happen after my death. I always tell myself that my photo albums are the things I'd try to save if disaster struck. I now have family photos going back to the 1890s and they're very precious to me.
So I bought a few photos for a few pence each and brought them home.
They are Mr Lionel Ivan Long and his wife Ethel Maud.
Lionel was born on 21st January 1896 near Checkendon, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. His mother was Ellen Sabina Long, nee Dare, born 1855 in Toller Porcorum, a beautiful little village in Dorset whose name means 'Toller [the local river] of the pigs'. His father was Arthur Long, born in Bristol in 1860 and a gardener at Wyfold Court near Checkendon. The family lived in Wyfold Cottage, in the grounds of the big house.
By 1911, Arthur and Ellen and their three sons, William, Frank and Lionel, had moved to Sonning Common, not far from Wyfold. Now aged 15, Lionel was working as a grocer's assistant.
In Spring 1926 Lionel married Ethel Westrope. Ethel was born in the ancient town of Ashwell in Hertfordshire, not far from where I now live. Her father, William Montfort Westrope, was a farmer from Steeple Morden, very close to Ashwell. The family lived in various small towns and villages in Cambridgeshire and after Lionel died in 1974, Ethel spent the rest of her days in Cambridge. She died in 1995, aged 96.
These are just a few scraps of information gleaned from publicly available records. But I like the idea of bringing lost photographs to life and I almost begin to imagine that I knew Lionel and Ethel, just a little.