A dignified company near Bradford, England

This postcard was made by Walter Scott of Bradford, West Yorkshire.  I count 33 men and 27 women in the group, with a range of ages.  Two men are wearing clerical collars.  Potted plants can be seen in the building.  People are looking out through the bay windows on either side of the central window.  In the left bay, a standing man may be wearing the dark vest of a waiter or other employee.

Group by Walter Scott 4b

Is this a hotel?  It’s certainly a large house.  The plants in the pots are small, suggesting the season might be spring.  The ground in front of the group also looks recently landscaped.  No one is wearing cold-weather clothing, so it might be late spring.

The back of the postcard has a short note: “Harriet looks well with the men in the top row.”

Group by Walter Scott 2

Group by Walter Scott 3c

At far left is an odd pile of rocks which may be intended for use in the garden.

Group by Walter Scott 5b

Thank you very much to blogger Val Erde for sharing observations and insights into this image from a well-informed British perspective.

In hopes of identifying members of the group or their location, readers are invited to examine the photo in high resolution below.  First click on one of the thumbnails, then select “View full size” in the lower right corner your screen:



8 thoughts on “A dignified company near Bradford, England

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  1. The big window is almost certainly a small conservatory and is part of the main house, but acts as a sort of outer room where people can sit on pleasant days. Not a nursery or botanical garden, I don’t think. Probably a very big house with a very large staff, or possibly a school or boarding house. There are what looks like three (possibly two) vicars, so whatever it is has them attached to it.

    If you like I can take a screenshot and put it into photoshop (no charge!) and bring out some of the detail of the people behind the windows. I think what you’re seeing as a man with a bow tie is actually a woman wearing a dark neck-bow that was fashionable in those days. I think her hair is piled up on the top of her head. There is also – as far as I can see – an elderly woman seated to her left. In the other window to the right of of the photo I can see three (or more) figures, two of whom are children wearing sailor-outfits which were, again, fashionable at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I came here via Val, and became fascinated by this. Although Walter Scott was based in Bradford the postcard could have been taken in many places in the UK. The sash windows suggest a Victorian period I think. His name is on the front so that would suggest an Edwardian picture? Thanks for posing a super mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome, and thanks for the great comment! Yes, most likely Edwardian. It’s so interesting that you’d be fascinated by this photo, because I’m also fascinated by it, and I think Val is, too. It’s one of the most popular posts on the blog in terms of page views. I’m convinced we’ll figure out the location, and possibly the date or event, in the near future. Someone’s bound to recognize something!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Photos of large groups of people became quite popular in the UK in the Edwardian period. I think the trend was spurred by the introduction of the postcard format around 1900, which allowed prints to be made in large numbers at low cost for all members of a group. I have several nice group shots which I’d love to share on the blog. Unfortunately, I have little or no information about them, which is really frustrating! The portrait of your family member is a really good one and I’ll comment on it directly on your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

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