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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Golden Tresses, Flowing locks

I've always admired people who were able to grow their hair long, but the lengths those Sutherland girls went to is just crazy!  In days gone by, most women and girls grew their hair long, but the great majority would have worn it at least partially tied up in a bun or plait of some kind. They probably spent many hours preparing their locks each morning before they were ready to be seen in public. I've picked out a few photographs from the big old family album of cartes de visites that was found hidden in my Aunty Pat's garage after she passed away in 2011. None of the subjects were named, but some cousins and I have since managed to identified a small number of them. The album containing the photos was a school prize awarded to Frederick Young, 1865-1962, a younger brother of my great grandmother Jane Isabella Young, 1860-1925.  Frederick and Jane were two of a total ten children born to Charles and Jane Young, who emigrated to NZ from Ballater Aberdeenshire in 1851 and settled in the district of Kaipoi, just north of Christchurch. 

These two photographs of young girls were both taken in Christchurch around the 1880s. I don't know who the subjects are, but they are very likely related to me in some way. It looks like the first girl has curly hair, unless of course it had been crimped to make it look that way. At least she seems to have it under reasonable control, which is more than I can say for my own curly hair at times. I much never managed to grow it much beyond shoulder length, as it tended to grow out rather than down.

The photograph below is of a young woman who clearly enjoyed putting some of her hair up in an elegant plait while still letting the bulk of her hair hang out. She must have gained quite a bit of height with that style! Again I don't know who she is, but  it's possible she could have been my great grandmother Jane Isabella, or one of her three surviving sisters at that time. I wonder if in fact it could be the same person in the above photograph, as they have a similar facial structure and general appearance. They are both wearing lockets but not of the same shape, and perhaps they were sisters or cousins.

I only have two photographs that I know to be definitely of Jane Isabella, both taken in her later years. In one she is nursing her first granddaughter Patricia, in whose garage the old album was found. Any opinions you may have on her likeness to the above photographs are most welcome.

The next photograph is of Jane Isabella's older sister Emily, with her husband John Andrews and five of their nine daughters, who are all shown in the second portrait with their father John. The younger girls are wearing their hair out, with bows in their hair, and there are even wicker chairs in both this and the next photograph (harking back to SS 228). Two girls are sitting on an s-shaped courting seat, clearly a studio prop. 

Emily and John Andrews were married in 1865 at the Young family home, when sister Jane Isabella was only five. In fact both Emily and her older sister Anne, who was married the same day, gave birth to their first children before their youngest brother Edward Young was born in 1868, so baby Edward was born an uncle! The Andrews family moved to live in New Plymouth on the North Island of New Zealand, where John's family resided. They had three sons in addition to their nine daughters but only one of them survived to adulthood. Their youngest child Elsie Euphemia was born in 1888, so this portrait must date from the late 1890s. Elsie was the only Andrews child to attend secondary school. She became a teacher and later a notable feminist and defender of women's rights in NZ. You can read about Elsie's interesting life story here.

 To my father's side of the family, and this young lady with flowing golden locks is Gladys Victoria Petrie, pictured here with her older brother Arnold.  Gladys and Arnold lived in Invercargill in the far south of New Zealand's South Island, and were first cousins of my grandfather Oliver Cruickshank. I've featured their mother Jessie Cruickshank, only sister of Oliver's father Charles, in a previous blog entitled Empty Chairs. Below is Gladys and Arnold's sister Charlotte Annie, who clearly also favoured long hair.

In 1925 Gladys and Charlotte travelled to England accompanied by their mother Jessie. Charlotte studied in London at the Slade School of Art while Gladys pursued a successful career as an opera singer in London and Paris.  Here's a publicity shot of Gladys, then with short hair, and an article about her achievements. She remained in Paris for over ten years before returning to NZ. Neither Gladys nor Charlotte ever married, they were too busy pusuing their careers. Gladys lived to the age of 91 and Charlotte made it to 100, as did her mother Jessie.

Extract from the Evening Post, Welliongton NZ, 30 May 1931, per Paperspast web site.

Glory days: the best I could manage,, c. 1972

To see more flowing  tresses, and anything else that this week's image may have prompted others to discuss, just click here for Sepia Saturday 230

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