Wearside Echoes: Attic gem

Postcards from the past
Postcards from the past
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A TREASURE trove of memories has been unearthed in an attic.

Photographs and postcards dating to the early 20th century were among the haul of memorabilia discovered in the loft of a house in St Luke’s Road, Pallion.

Now Jan Lawson, a keen genealogist from Harraton, is hoping someone might recognise the pictures and get in touch.

“My nephew found an old photograph album filled with the postcards and pictures when he moved to the house in St Luke’s Road a few years ago,” she said.

“I’ve been doing my family history for ten years now, and these are just the sort of little gems I’d be delighted to find about my family. Hopefully, they will be of interest to other people too.”

The photos and postcards relate to the Graham family, who lived at 47 Stoney Lane, Southwick, in 1915. Names mentioned include Agnes and Joseph Graham, as well as Aggie and Tom Stevenson.

“Sadly, there are very few photos in the album, as it has mostly been used for postcards. But these all have their own historical value too, as they tell the story of the family through time,” said Jan.

“I’ve done a little research into the history of the Graham’s and have found that Agnes and Joseph were the parents of Aggie, who was born on April 26, 1893. I think she was their eldest daughter.

“She grew up to marry a Thomas Stevenson in 1915, and the album my nephew found carries the dedication: ‘With love and best wishes to my wife Aggie, from your loving husband Tom.’”

Included among the pictures are three of Aggie as a child, teenager and older woman, as well as a group photograph taken at a hospital or sanatorium during wartime.

“It appears, through reading the postcards in the album, that Aggie’s father and brother – who were both called Joseph – went off to fight in France in World War One,” said Jan.

“There is a ‘carte postale’ sent from France to Aggie, which reads: ‘From your loving brother Joe,’ and another printed with ‘My husband at the front,’ which must have meant Joseph senior.

“Perhaps the big picture of the sanatorium shows one or both of them, I just don’t know. Maybe they had been injured in France.

“There are certainly soldiers in the photo, some in uniform.

“There are lots of men in caps and hats, perhaps a military historian could recognise their regiments, as well as others covered in bandages. It appears to me to have been an open day for visitors.”

Several of the postcards included in the album were sent to the Graham family at 47 Stoney Lane which, according to research by Jan, operated as a fried fish shop during World War One. Those sent to Tom and Aggie after their 1915 wedding, however, were addressed to 4 Robinson Street, Hendon, and included birthday greetings and messages from friends and relations.

“I find the history behind these pictures fascinating.

“You quite often have to rely on ‘cold’ research when tracing your family tree, but these offer a little bit of human interest,” said Jan.

“If there are any readers out there looking in to their Graham or Stevenson roots, I’d be happy to give them copies of the pictures. They might help add a little bit extra to their research.”

l Jan can be contacted on: 415 9404.