Can you help solve a Brownhills mystery?

The young David Evans has been busy with lots of research projects of late, and one in particular seems like a good story to run in the mid-Christmas lull – so can you help identify these mystery photos, please?

These two images were supplied by a local family following the passing of their owner, and nobody seems to have any clue who the child and lady featured are.

If you can help, please do comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Cheers to David for the legwork here, Bill Mayo for his wise eye and the family concerned for their generous donation.

David wrote:

A wee girl in her Sunday best, I think. But who is she? I’ve heard the term ‘American Studio’ before, but what’s the deal? Click for a larger version.

This sweet little photo measure 4 inches by 2½ inches. IN conversation with our wonderful local historian Bill Mayo I understand that Caddick’s photo studio was on Brownhills High Street, opposite present day Aldi store

But the ‘American Studio’ had us both baffled.

An altogether more relaxed image, with a rather cute dog. But who is the. lady? It appears to date from 1911. Click for a larger version.

This second photo measures 5½ inches by 3½ inches and the details are fascinating. What is the dress/ uniform? What breed of dog is the good lady holding?

The reverse of the photo has, praise the Lord, some dating information:

So this was sent or given to Sue by Emily. Is Emily the lady pictured? Click for a larger version.

There was no stamp attached, suggesting that the photo was given. But who was Emily?

My thanks are extended to the local Brownhills family who have very kindly given these images.


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10 Responses to Can you help solve a Brownhills mystery?

  1. aerreg says:

    days gone by photographers travelled around the districts and rented a front room parlour for a day or so to use as a studio hence dad in his sunday best plus gold guard and watch mother and children best white frock and posh hat looking so serious waiting for the birdy and flash

  2. David Evans says:

    another American Studio was in High Street Chasetown…owned by Mr Tilsley..closed down some ten years ago. Given the size of the small contact print I wonder if a (then) new process or camera..American..had recently been imported to England. Please can the keen amateur photographers help to unravel this mystery
    Mills was a well known travelling photographer ..some of whose images have appeared in the blog
    Many thanks to Bill Mayo for this additional information on this subject.
    Kind regards

    • John Anslow says:

      Hello David.
      I’ve found references, via Google, to “American Studios” in Edinburgh, Wolverhampton, Rhyl and Sydney, during Victorian and Edwardian times. I’m guessing the term describes a photographic gallery-cum-studio with plush furnishings and stage scenery where folk could have their portraits taken, wearing their best clothes and surrounded by apparent opulence.
      A name that keeps coming up is John Plumbe, who franchised a string of daguerreotype galleries and studios in the USA during the 1840s.
      “The public portrait” – pages 27–30 of “The Oxford History of Art: American Photography” – might be of interest; it can be found in Google Books.

      • David Evans says:

        Hello John
        very many thanks for your research. We tend to take photography for granted nowadays and ignore the pioneers, sadly. Some of the early studio photos are so clear and well-lit
        Then the outdoor photos especially the amazing Australian WW1 front line images.Here the American Studios family images will have been treasures of their times
        kind regards and a very happy New year to your goodself

  3. Clive says:

    Around 1900s there was a photograph studio in Hall Lane, Walsall Wood.

  4. aerreg says:

    there was many years ago at 115 lichfield road another photographer i thin k his name was mr davies i recaled last night seeing a great number of glass plate negatives throne away from his shed when they moved house i was just a boy and i found them fasanaiting more grey matter gobly goo thanks god bless

  5. andkindred says:

    The outfit, or uniform, looks like that of an Edwardian housekeeper.

    When I was looking at first name frequency I found that Emily was quite rare, so I thought I would look at the 1911 census, assuming that Emily was a resident of the Brownhills area.

    A search of Brownhills finds not one Emily, but Norton Canes finds one Emily Rushbrook, 40, single, housekeeper, living with Isaac Charles Cooper, widower, colliery banksman, and family (Including 3 working sons) at Hednesford Road, Norton Canes. The lady in the portrait could be 40? No obvious connection to a Sue or Susan or similar.

    November 1911. Armistice?

    3 records away WillIam Rushbrook, also colliery banksman, and family, with Albert Cooper, boarder.

    Happy New Year!

    • David Evans says:

      Hi Andy
      and a very happy New Year To you also. Many thanks for your excellent research..possibly the name Brookes and collieryman may be a connection here. I just wonder if Norton Hall figures in all of this.
      This wonderful blog and its super researchers/ helpers never ceases to amaze! Whata cracking start to the year.
      kind regards

  6. aerreg says:

    just a coment in the 1930 s there was a rushbrook family living inthe avenues of lich field road one daughters name was eileen as i recall she went to school with my late wife

  7. Pingback: 1987: The end of a landmark | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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