Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images.
George and Bella Elgey have provided the subjects for my Sepia Saturday posts for the past several weeks. You may have thought we’d be done with them by now, but you would be wrong. George and Bella have come to my rescue by providing my only picture of a historic building reminiscent of the castle in the prompt picture. And … I know I promised not to write any more about the photograph taken at George and Bella’s wedding, but as I prepared this post I realized that I just couldn’t keep my promise.
Someone – possibly Jennie or Bella – provided a caption. My grandmother added “England”. The calendar is missing.
Aunt Jennie must have signed the greeting on the back herself as she spelled her name as she did in the letters she wrote to my grandmother. Bella spelled her mother-in-law’s name “Jenny” throughout the letter. I wonder if that annoyed Jennie – or if she realized it. She had been Bella’s mother-in-law for 30 years by 1951. You would think Bella would know how Jennie spelled her name!
Durham Castle is adjacent to Durham Cathedral and together they comprise one of the first World Heritage Sites inscribed by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in 1986.
Durham Castle has been home to University College, the oldest of Durham University’s Colleges since 1837. Approximately 150 students at University College occupy the keep and the rooms along the Norman Gallery. Meals are served to students in the Great Hall. In Bella’s letter, she states that her daughter-in-law is 2nd cook at Durham Castle. I don’t know what her job entailed, but I would guess it involved preparing meals for university students.
You can see a few pictures of the kitchen here and the Great Hall below.
And a diagram of the layout of the castle here.
The letter above also provides another clue to the identity of the people in George and Bella’s wedding photograph because I can compare Bella’s handwriting in the letter to the handwriting on the back of the photo of the sweet shop – which I used for Sepia Saturday last week.
Below are the back of the sweet shop picture and a sample of Bella’s handwriting from the letter… I think the handwriting is a match and further confirmation that Bella’s mother, Margaret Lidmore, and brother, Thomas Lidmore are two of the people in the wedding photograph.
The videos below provide a few more views of the castle and cathedral. The first video follows a route through the streets of Durham City to the Cathedral and Castle, on to Raby Castle, and finishes at High Force in Middleton-in-teesdale.
Did parts of the cathedral remind you of Hogwarts? Durham Cathedral was one of the locations used for the Harry Potter films. Durham Cathedral begins at 2:16 in the video below.
And while many treat Durham Cathedral and Castle with great reverence, some Durham University students provide a less reverent tour of their “crib”. I wonder what pranks university students might have pulled while Bella’s daughter-in-law was employed there in 1951?
I was going to leave out the last video, but it presents an interesting thought about preservation in the context of Durham Cathedral.
“… we can only ever preserve what we remember and we can only ever remember what we have seen and we only ever see what things that we see in a relatively short span of time that we call a lifetime.”
I invite you to continue the tour of castles, monuments and other historical sites or oddities prepared by other Sepia Saturday participants.