Here’s a link to a photo of my grandfather’s workplace: http://www.chrismansfieldphotos.com/RECORDS-of-WOOLWICH/Royal-Arsenal-/i-j29cVzT/A
When I began researching some family history, there was only one known photograph of my grandfather. He was a bearded figure sitting on the front row of a group of smiling black men. Presumably this picture was taken when he was delivering ammunition (allegedly in south Africa). My Aunt kept the picture at her house, as it was one of the few items to survive the family home’s destruction by a WW2 bomb. My friends’ parents often told me this couldn’t have happened, but then they also thought my Dad couldn’t have grown up on the Isle of Wight (“that’s just a holiday place!”).
Turning the picture over to look for information, I found it had been pasted to a certificate awarded to Blanche Badois for her needlework skills. I wondered who this lady was. My Dad suggested that she could have been his father’s former girlfriend or even a wife. The thought of that upset my Aunt so we weren’t allowed to discuss it further.
My Dad died in 1999, so he missed my 1901 census discoveries. My grandfather was living in Plumstead with his first wife and their three daughters. Not the needlework certificate lady, but another. There are no records for the first Mrs Daines or their daughters after 1901.
Recently, while looking for something else, I found grandfather’s second marriage online. He married Blanche, the needlewoman, in 1905 then she died in 1909. A year later he married my grandmother.
When my Dad was 70, he received another photograph of his father. He sat gazing at it for a long time, being surprised at the likeness to himself. If there were so few relics from the bombed house, I wonder where that photograph had been for so long.
Maybe there are mysterious photographs of the first two weddings in other family albums somewhere(?)