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Winnifrith family history - another photo of a mystery woman emerges

Tom Winnifrith
Wednesday 3 March 2021

This small set of photos were in a set of papers relating to the affairs of my father’s late nephew John Stafford who was another family member gripped by the mystery of Edith Maude Winnifrith (EMW): who was she?  Yesterday I posted a photo of a baby which came from EMW and which I can now date pretty accurately. The dress worn by the woman holding the baby is, according to the leading expert on Victorian dresses, from 1868-70 but it looks tight and ill fitting so may be a few years old. The photographer, Thomas Prothero started business in Bristol in 1875 or maybe a bit earlier. I have a submission he posted from his Wine Street Bristol address for a Royal Photographic Society exhibition in September 1875. EMW said she was born in 1875 though her birth certificate is a forgery so I assume the photo of the baby she kept was of herself, why else keep it? So who is the lady below?

This photo is in the same set and thus originates with EMW. My expert says that the photo shows “a woman of the early to mid 1870s winter wear of the upper/upper-middle classes. “ Pugs were fashionable accessories for landed women of that era. So who on earth is she and why did EMW retain that photo? Is she an older Edith Wingfield Digby than the one photographed here – a photo I have someone chasing down to date? If it is not Edith who is it and why would my great grandmother have kept this photo? 


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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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