I reunite identified family photos that I find in antique shops and second hand stores with genealogists and family historians. If you see one of your ancestors here and would like to obtain the original, feel free to contact me at familyphotoreunion [ at ] yahoo [ dot ] com. I also accept donations of pre-1927 images to be reunited. I hope you enjoy your visit!
~The Archivist

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Bride Arrived in Time (And Was Exquisitely Dressed): Alice Annandale Mence, 1870-1951

Alice Mary Annandale, Circa 1890

Genealogists and family historians understand the value of labelling family photographs. How many of us have inherited photograph albums containing unidentified portraits? It's a shame when this happens because the identity of those unnamed individuals may never be learned. Fortunately, this photograph has been labelled on the reverse with both the maiden name and the married name of the woman in the photograph, along with the recipient's name. Unfortunately, the faint pencil inscription on the reverse was written quickly, without much care, and so it took some time to decipher, but after much squinting and some magnification I am confident it reads:

"Alice Mence, Nee Annandale.
Promised to Edith Town."

The image was captured at the Walter Davey Studio, 10 James Street, Harrogate,  Yorkshire, England.The studio started up around 1886 and continued on for many years, operated by Walter Davey's sons, Walter Jr. and Sydney, in the years following Walter Davey's retirement in 1909. At some point prior to 1893, the studio moved to 26 James Street, Harrogate. I suppose another possibility could be that the numbering system for addresses on that street changed.

Alice Mary Annandale, born 1870 in Lintzford, Tanfield, Durham, was the daughter of William and Jane Annandale. Her father was a paper manufacturer employing roughly 41 people.

According to a notice in the Yorkshire Gazette, Alice Mary Annandale married Capt. Oscar Tooley Mence, 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment on 27 Jan 1894 in York.
The account of the wedding from Berrow's Worcester Journal on the day of the wedding contains the most detailed description I've ever read of a wedding party's attire. Here's an excerpt describing just the bride's outfit:

The bride, who arrived in good time, was attired in a gown composed of ciel amazone cloth, smart basqued bodice with waistcoat of lovely blue and Selby brocade (Victorian design), revers and basque of clothfaced brocade and edged with Russian muquash, full round skirt, finished round foot with deep band of same fur; large picture hat of Lyons velvet with shaded ostrich feathers and carried a lovely bouquet of flowers.

Wait! No detailed description of the bride's flowers? Seems like a oversight. An equally sensuous and lengthy description of the bridesmaid dresses, trousseau and bride's travelling dress follows, as well as an account of the mother of the bride's outfit. There, we learn Alice's mother held a bouquet of "shaded Neapolitan and wood violets." The report concludes by noting "the presents were numerous and costly."

The couple and their daughter, Phyllis Rose Mence, lived in Forthampton, Gloucestershire in 1911. They employed a nanny, a butler, a housemaid, a kitchenmaid, and a cook. I am curious to know what the household looked like in the post-war period, less than a decade down the road. 


"British Newspaper Archive, Family Notices," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPC2-KRXZ : 18 April 2019), Alice Mary Annandale in entry for Oscar Tooley Mence, Captain 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, York, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom; records extracted FamilySearch and images digitized by FindMyPast; citing York, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom, 27 Jan 1894, The British Newspaper Archive, Ireland; FHL microfilm .

"England and Wales Census, 1871", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VB83-WLL : 30 September 2019), Alice M Annandale in entry for William M Annandale, 1871. 

1911 England Census [database on-line],  Ancestry.com. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Alice Mary Mence in household of Oscar Tolley Mence, Forthampton, Gloucestershire, England, United Kingdom; from "1911 England Census," Schedule 51, Piece 15588,  citing Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA) Series RG14, 1911. 

Walter Davey & Sons  https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/28297/page/7599/data.pdf  

"Marriage of Mr. Oscar Mence," Berrow's Worcester Journal (Worcester, England),  27 Jan 1894, p. 4

UK, City and County Directories, 1600s-1900s; database with images, Ancestry.com. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com. Entry for Walter Davey, 26 James Street, Harrogate; citing 1893 Kelley's Directory, page 1000.


  1. A kind reader wrote to provide this link for additional information about Alice Annandale and her lineage. Thanks Sylvester! https://annandale.one-name.net/getperson.php?personID=I68&tree=annandale

  2. Now that is a wedding announcement!!! I love the details.

    1. It certainly is. Here's the description of her trousseau. I had to pull out a glossary of fabric terms!

      "The trousseau also included a lovely ball gown in creme satin duchesse with large moire antique rivieres and paniers and pointed chemisette of silk-needle run-lace, black dinner gown trimmed with jetted Berthe and Chantilly lace; charming reception or fete dress in amethyste, coloured sealing wax crepon folded bodice, with frills of lace,vest and deep belt of blood bengaline, draped skirt with petticoat of same silk, plainly cut morning gown in navy sail cloth, smart theatre bodice in dahlia Surah, trimmed with fichu of lace, tailor-made driving coat in boxcloth, in addition to a large number of other garments essential to a trousseau."