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Can you help date or identify this photo?

Updated: Jan 27, 2019

This Cabinet photo was preserved and shared by the late Robert Dickinson, grandson of Harry Dickinson. There is no indication of who is pictured, but by the marking "Dewsbury", it appears to be the line of William Dickinson, brother of John Dickinson (1830-1889). Almost no written records of this branch of the family are known to have been recorded, but correspondence and photographs have shown a connection to a cousin, Annie Croft of Dewsbury, and from these and news clippings, I've pieced together the following details about the family:

Annie Hill was born in 1897. She married William "Billy" Croft. Annie was the daughter of George Henry Hill, a tobacconist who operated his business from the Dewsbury Marketplace. His wife's name was Caroline. Caroline died in 1947 at the age of 82, making her born about 1864. It is presumed that Caroline was a daughter of William Dickinson, the brother of John Dickinson and son of William Dickinson of Kimberworth and Sheffield.

This photo may be Caroline and Annie, her only child, who was born abt. 1897. The child appears to be about 3-4 years old here, so if the child is Annie, this would have been taken abt. 1900 or 1901. Caroline would have been abt. 36/37 years old in 1900/1901.

To me, this photograph appears to be older than 1900. Furthermore, I have only found photos by this photographer, John Garratt of Dewsbury, in the 1870s and early 1880s. Cabinet cards first appeared in 1866 and while they were popular through the 1870s and 1880s, by the late-1890s they were barely in use. So, is this Annie and her mother Caroline? Or could the child in the photo, instead, be Caroline? Caroline was born abt. 1864 so that would mean if the child is her, the photo would have been taken around 1868 or 1869.

Perhaps someone with experience identifying vintage photos could help establish a time period. Are there any experts on Victorian fashion reading this? Perhaps the mother's hairdo, the scarf around her neck, or her dress can help establish what year this was taken. If so, please comment below! We'd love to put names to these faces!


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