Monica’s Photos (1930 – 1970)

MONICA’S PHOTOS (1930 – 1970)

These are part of a huge collection of old photographs from my Great-Great Aunt Monica. My great-grandfather on my mother’s side had a half-sister called Monica and who died in 2014. I sadly never met Monica but she was the last of the family on that side, and all her belongings came down to my parents’ generation as she had no children of her own. When clearing out her photographs we came across a problem. There were only a couple of photos in the whole collection with a name, date or location on them, the rest were blank on the back.


Monica was a keen photographer (like most of our family) so there were about a thousand photos but we sadly had no real idea about who most of the people were, or when they were taken. My Mum pulled out a few photos of family members that she recognised and we found a few dozen of Monica herself as we know what she looks like, but the rest are unknown. I personally got to keep a few pics of my Great-Great Aunt and the individual photos here are two of the best that I have.

Monica also had inherited photos from before she was born back in 1920, lots of photos of friends during the war where she was in the R.A.F. There were even more of close friends after the war and parties in the 1960s. Lastly, there were modern photos of Monica and a few last living friends from the early 2000s and what a collection it was. Although my Mum kept a fair few images from all the eras mentioned, there were still hordes left over. Rightly, there was no need to keep the of pics that we had no emotional attachment to, but before they were thrown away, I decided to keep all the black and white ones. The coloured ones weren’t very interesting but the variety of sizes and shapes are so graphically fascinating, I just couldn’t let them go. I’m still working out what I will do with them, but I’m sure I’ll think of something one day.

It’s a shame so many photos had no names or dates and so will never be part of any family collections. So, if you do print photographs of your friends and family to pin up on your wall or frame, consider labelling the backs with names, dates and places so future generation will be able to build a picture of your life and connect with the stories the photos tell.


Then again, maybe it shouldn’t matter. If you personally know and value the connection you have to the people and places in your pictures, does it matter that others don’t? Printed photos are ephemera after all, and perhaps the most important thing about this collection is that they meant something to Monica and that’s what truly matters.

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