Saturday, October 09, 2021

Houses and Gardens - Sepia Saturday

 Well, I come back to Sepia Saturday after a few weeks off and find the theme has changed to no real theme. Now that makes it difficult as I liked having that little nudge in the right direction.

However, I am a fan of old houses and gardens, so I did get a bit of an idea from this week's photo - I am looking for old houses and gardens in my collection.

My father was an Englishman from a reasonably well off family who can trace their ancestry back for hundreds of years. When I say he "came" to Australlia, I really mean he was 'sent' to Australia because my very strict Victorian grandfather had had enough of him lazing around doing very little in the way of work, partying, wining and dining and spending the family money. In retrospect I think he had a difficult 5 years in the army in WW1 and found it very hard to settle down in peace time.

Whatever the reason really was - and he never spoke of it or his war experiences, - he was packed off to Australia as a "remittance man" and told to 'make good". I knew very little of his background except that he had three sisters, I had English cousins and until the Depression, the family had money.

Since then I have been able to trace my cousins and now know a little more about the family, although they know nothing about my father except that he came to Australia for some unknown reason. I do however have some family photos, some of which I will share with you because they do fit my theme of old houses and gardens. For most of my younger years these few photos were my only connection with my English family so they were very much treasured.

My grandparents lived in Wallasey and there is information in the Wallasey History archives about their house which was demolished around 1920. It was known as "Braddofields" and was regarded as a significant house in Wallasey.

This is Braddofields circa 1900. The occasion appears to be a tennis party. At the time my father would have been 7 or 8 and his sisters a few years older. I have no doubt that my grandparents are in this photo and probably my aunts and father too. This is the tennis party enlarged. There don't appear to be any young children there so perhaps they were kept in the nursery.

This photo shows Braddofields during WW1 after my grandparents had moved. I am guessing that the tennis court was taken over to grow vegetables during the war years.

This house, known as "The Grey House" was the residence of one of my father's sisters and her family.

They had quite extensive grounds, including these lovely areas with bluebells and daffodils. These photos inspired me to fill my own garden with bluebells and daffodils.

This house  was also a family residence situated on the Isle of Man. I believe this was a farmhouse used by the family for summer holidays.

My Great Grandfather Lewis Hornblower was an architect and designer, responsible for designing the buildings, lodges and gates in Sefton Park, South Liverpool. I have no idea how much of his design remains. These are his designs.

Lewis Hornblower also designed many of the buildings in Birkenhead Park, including the Grand Entrance and the Cricket Pavilion.

Grand Entrance at Birkenhead Park

Cricket Pavilion

I have to admit I did not know until 5 minutes ago that he also did the designs for Birkenhead Park. Now I am on a roll, I have to follow up some more links and find out what else he did.

Liz Needle - linking with Sepia Saturday


  1. A nice match to the prompt! Impressive homes and gardens. And your Great Grandfather was quite the architect! Talk about impressive!!! :)

  2. One thing tends to lead to another once one gets started digging into the past, don't they! :)

  3. What beautiful and big old houses and gardens!

  4. Wonderful history and photos for this weekend's theme. The park designs of Lewis Hornblower are wonderful examples of that Victorian landscape style. As I noted on N'Gale's post, we all love sepia tone images but color film would have made your early photos splendid pictures of the gardens. It occurs to me that there is a missing link in all old photos which is the photographer's memory of the photo's color. For old family photo albums especially there must have been continual debate if not argument over whose memory was more accurate as to the color of the dresses or flowers that day.

  5. This post made me feel sentimental for you - the time and distance that meant losing touch. Of course, these things have happened to many of our families, when someone left for another continent. We will look forward to what else you find about your relatives. These were lovely photos and certainly to be treasured.

  6. I really like it and I hope there is something new

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