I’m fascinated with the idea of objects as a gateway to the past. The recipe book itself, of course is the original object linking me to Minnie, but I still keep my eye on eBay and have a motley collection by now of items which relate to Victorian Dewsbury. Although these may not have a direct connection with Minnie, they constitute a part of her world and enable me to feel closer to her.
I’ve already written about the photograph of Minnie’s sister, about the coins in circulation in the time of Minnie, about a pocket watch made by a jeweller local to Minnie and about a dress similar to ones she may have worn. All these give me a sense of connection to Minnie’s Dewsbury.
Margot Chadwick and I discussed the value of objects when we last met in Dewsbury. We were at the home of the owner of Carlton Lodge on Oxford Road. As a reminder, Carlton Lodge is the house next door but two to the house where Minnie lived, and was also the home of Margot’s grandmother, May Oldroyd. May was the daughter of Arthur and Annie about whom I’ve written in my post ‘Mauve’
Margot told me that she had a wedding veil which had belonged to May, and which had been worn by her own daughter. She very kindly agreed to write something about this beautiful object:
A Wedding Veil …
I was so delighted to visit Carlton Lodge with “a Friend of Minnie” and see where my Granny, May Chadwick, (nee Oldroyd) lived until her marriage in 1911. Many many thanks to the current occupier.
When I married in 1970, I was thrilled to wear my Granny’s wedding veil, which my mother had also worn, lent to her by May when she married May’s son Jack. In turn I lent it to my daughter Sara when she married.
Through this and another blog I have been delighted to reconnect with a cousin, a granddaughter of May’s sister Muriel (Mu). Until that time, I had no photos of May’s wedding, let alone Mu’s. It was so exciting therefore to see a picture of May’s wedding, and to almost certainly identify the spot in the garden of Carlton Lodge where it was taken. May is wearing the wedding veil. Even better was to be sent a photo of Mu’s wedding together with a transcript of the report in the local paper of the wedding which tells us that that Mu wore a veil lent by her sister May and indeed there it is, in the photo.
I still have the veil, which has also been used for a touch of glamour swaddling my baby daughters at their Christenings. So when the Antiques Roadshow came to a nearby venue, I thought it would be fun to try to find out a little more about the veil itself, was it new for May or had it been handed down to her, I wondered. So I went along with photos of the veil through the ages and of course the veil itself. I was seen by the delightful Judith Miller. There was not a lot of time as the queues were tremendous. However she dated it to about 1900, which implies it was new for May. Machine made, possibly in Nottingham. Not of any particular monetary value…but that is irrelevant! She was very impressed by the photos of May’s and Mu’s weddings, very very smart for the period!
I wonder whether either of my granddaughters will wear it in due course?
Margot says that the veil is deemed to be not of any particular monetary value, but that is irrelevant. It’s interesting how the value of this veil has changed and developed. Its initial value, when new, was presumably because it was very pretty. It may or may not have cost a lot of money. It’s machine made lace. Perhaps it wasn’t too expensive. Now, however, its value has increased tremendously. I don’t mean in terms of money, but rather in terms of memories, love, nostalgia, connections and anchors to the past. It carries with it the essence of each generation on to the next.
Minnie, on the other hand, had no children to whom a wedding veil could be passed down. Her only niece had no children. Minnie’s family line came to an end. However, she might be surprised to know that her recipe book was still in existence and loved by a complete stranger.