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Help with who, what, where, why this group photo was taken?

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Help with who, what, where, why this group photo was taken?

Postby Lettice99 » Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:22 am

I found this photo in amongst my parents pictures. The reverse states Photo: E Simmons, Herne Bay and is a Post Card with two columns with space for communication on the left and address on the right.

Can anyone offer ideas as to who this group of people might be, what they did,where it may have been taken and approx date? I am particularly intregued by the two women seated in white either side of the two men seated in the centre as they stand out so much. The man seated in the middle on the left seems to have a seargents badge on the arm of his jacket, the man next to him on the right has a thin striped armband of some discription. The men are different ages, some have what looks like a flower in their lapel, some a badge or button on a ribbon of some sort. The building in the background could be a barn or warehouse. So could this be a workers group photo? If anyone recognises this photo or has any observations, ideas etc that could point me in the direction of further research it would be appreciated. Thank you.
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Re: Help with who, what, where, why this group photo was tak

Postby Sylcec » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:22 pm

Love the photo!
I don't see any stripes on sleeves though the man to the right of the centre couple has a band round his sleeve which I wonder if is there in memory of someone lost in the war.
Amazing to see is the man in the foreground centre with cigarette in his mouth!
None of the men are in any sort of uniform, and other than the posed arrangement of people, none of them appear to have a military demeanour.
Most of them look rather grim - are they employees of an institution - hospital, school etc?
Why are the young couple in the centre? He in light suit looking rather dapper with bow tie and button hole. In this sort of photo it is more usual to have the most senior person featured in the middle. I know it seems unlikely, but is it possible that they may have married, maybe as staff members (frowned upon then I think), or had been wards of an orphan institution or such like.
As you can tell - I'm rather wool gathering here, but do like the photo.
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Re: Help with who, what, where, why this group photo was tak

Postby pete25 » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:49 pm

Are they all members of a lodge maybe? Maybe Freemasons?
The women will be servants to the gentry if this I so.

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Re: Help with who, what, where, why this group photo was tak

Postby g w aldous » Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:40 am

E Simmons was the local photographer in Herne Bay Kent.
there was a military hospital but this looks more of a company group.
if it was military they would be wearing hospital blues.
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Re: Help with who, what, where, why this group photo was tak

Postby Lettice99 » Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:13 pm

Thank you all for your thoughts and agree, it is an lovely and unusual photo. I will look into the lodge/freemason thought and also more about the area of Herne Bay and the military hospital. As yet, I have not found any family links connected to Herne bay area but there must be a reason for this to be in with the family photo's. I love a good mystery!
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Re: Help with who, what, where, why this group photo was tak

Postby pete25 » Sat Oct 01, 2016 10:41 am

It is a great photo...very interesting.
Obviously it looks like a 'men only' organization.
I notice a good few of these gents look as if they have a badge on their left lapel and this is why I thought maybe the Freemasons.
Hope you find the reasons why and where etc this photo was taken...happy searching.

Kind regards,

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Re: Help with who, what, where, why this group photo was tak

Postby pete25 » Sat Oct 01, 2016 10:48 am

Note the five men at the front of the picture who are all wearing a badge on their left lapels.

The picture is the Freemasons motif that symbolizes the Freemasons.
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All the best,

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Re: Help with who, what, where, why this group photo was tak

Postby brunes08 » Sat Oct 01, 2016 10:21 pm

I seem to remember, I think in a post on this Forum, that the division on the back of postcards for address and message was first used about 1905-1908. Your postcard would therefore be after that approximate date.
Regarding the possibility of the men being in an institution, hospital etc, I looked up the history of the military hospital in Herne Bay. I do not know if this is any use to you but here goes - anything helps!
The Herne Bay Railwayman's Convalescent Home was taken over by the military from 1914 until 1919 for injured servicemen. It then returned to its former purpose. Other convalescent homes in the area were also used in this way. I wondered if the two ladies might be 'carers' of some degree and the men convalescing from injuries or the after effects of the influenza outbreak, for example, before returning to their former occupations. Just a few thoughts.
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Re: Help with who, what, where, why this group photo was tak

Postby Lettice99 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:08 am

Thank you all again and you have been most helpful. The Railway convalescent home is interesting and this could be a possibility. I have found a website about the formation of the home (the forum wont let me post the link). So I will make contact with the chap who has researched this to see if I can find out any more on this line of thought. Thanks again, I now have some specific leads to help crack the case!
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Re: Help with who, what, where, why this group photo was tak

Postby allanh53 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:24 pm

if you zoom in on top wndow you can see inside ,someone looking at what looks like a black board maybe a school ?
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