Alan Crosby: Married in an election year

By Jon Bauckham, 7 May 2015 - 10:58am

Many wedding photographs feature gardens and historic houses, but when Alan's grandparents married in 1922, the backdrop was a little more unusual

Dr Alan Crosby is the editor of the Local Historian and a columnist for WDYTYA? MagazineThursday 7 May 2015
Alan Crosby
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It’s General Election Day, and I’m reminded of my grandparents’ wedding in Manchester in late October 1922.

There’s no obvious connection, I agree... except for the photographs. My grandparents were married at St Barnabas ‘s Church in Openshaw, a poor working class area on the east side of the city centre.

There was not a square inch of open space – no parks, no gardens, hardly even a churchyard, and that meant nowhere to take a few wedding photographs (of course, nobody in the family had a camera and they hired a local photographer).

He chose a distinctly unprepossessing place for the snaps that recorded the happy occasion. The two families were lined up in the grubby street, in front of a battered and soot-encrusted brick wall, my grandmother’s fashionable knee-length white dress and large white hat being fortunately not in close proximity to the grime! It was in fact the wall of the church hall, a building which at election times served as a polling station.

And yes, on 15 November 1922, just three weeks later, there was a general election. So in the wedding photographs, on the wall behind the assembled members of the Bagshaw and Routledge families, is a huge poster headed “Representation of the People Act 1918” and announcing the names of the candidates for the Manchester Gorton constituency.

Other people’s wedding pictures have a backdrop of trees and lawns, flowers and foliage, romantic archways, views of hills or historic houses... and my grandmother got an election poster!

To add insult to injury, as a woman under 30 years of age she wasn’t even allowed to vote!
 

Alan Crosby lives in Lancashire and is editor of The Local Historian. He is an honorary research fellow at Lancashire and Liverpool universities

 

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