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Miriam's album

by Alan D Craxford and Brenda Eldridge

The cover of Miriam's album
The birthday greeting

The album cover, flyleaf and photograph


Miriam Naylor

Miriam Naylor

After our mother died we discovered an old photograph album which had belonged to her mother, Miriam Naylor, before her. It was bound in brown leather and consisted of a series of paper-faced cardboard mounts for cabinet photographs. These were the studio taken portraits which were very popular between 1865 and 1910. The photograph was usually mounted on a trade board which advertised the studio or photographer along the bottom edge and often on the rear. The dedication on the album's flyleaf announced that it had been a gift from her sister, Mary and husband William on the occasion of her twenty first birthday (May 1900).

Miriam was the youngest child of John and Ann Naylor from South Normanton in Derbyshire. She had seven brothers as well as her sister Mary who lived into adulthood. Tragically Miriam died from complications after our mother was born. This is a photographic record of her own family, the Naylors, and also of her husband George's family, the Cooks.

Many of the photographs have faded quite badly and I have restored some of these as best I can. None of the photographs were annotated at the time. However our mother did add identities to several of the collection later. This gallery has been divided into three groups: A. people positively identified from other sources; B. people tentatively identified; C. people unidentified. Each image has also been given an index number. If you can help further please let us know.

I am also grateful for the help and advice given by Brett Payne in identifying the photographers and dating many of these images. His analysis and summary appears on Miriam's Album - A critical analysis. Following his advice, and after a comparison of similar photographs at a Naylor family reunion, some of the previously unknown images have now been identified. However, to keep the indexation of the photographs in synch with Nrett's article, the original position in the text has been maintained and the accompanying description has been adjusted.

Set A. Positive identifications: The Naylor family

John and Ann Naylor

1. John and Ann Naylor

The Naylor family 1873

2. The Naylor family (about 1873)

1. This formal portrait of John and Ann (nee Cotterill) Naylor was taken around 1870 and is contemporaneous with the group photograph. 2. The Naylor family group was taken shortly after the birth of Arthur (and predates Miriam's birth by about six years). The location is of interest (the background canvas, side screen and grassy ground). We suspect it was taken at a travelling fayre. We have identified (REAR:) Joseph (18); Thomas (16) (MIDDLE:) Mary (7); John (8); Ann Naylor with Arthur; John; Alfred (4) (FRONT:) Edwin (10); Maurice (2)

Hester Naylor

3. Hester Naylor

Miriam Naylor

4. Miriam Naylor

3. This is a portrait of Hester, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Naylor who was born in 1893. 4. The right hand photograph is of Miriam. We think this dates from about 1898. Miriam was born in 1879. Her father John Naylor was an undermanager at a colliery outside Alfreton in Derbyshire. The family home was described in the 1891 census as Cotes Park Pit House - a tied house for the manager no doubt. They moved there sometime before 1871 and the family left after John died in 1897 and certainly before the 1901 census. It is clear that the pictures were taken in the same place but at different times and by different photographic studios!

Our original tentative diagnosis that picture #3 was of Miriam's elder sister Mary proved incorrect.

A Scarborough beach scene about 1900

5. Beach scene

5. This photograph was taken on the beach at Scarborough. Miriam is seated on a donkey with Will and Mary on either side. Taken about 1900

Miriam Naylor 2

6. Miriam Naylor

George Cook

7. George Cook

6 & 7. These two charming portraits sit side by side in the album. It is tempting to imagine that these represent photographs taken to commemorate their engagement. Miriam married George Cook at the Hinckley Road Methodist Chapel, Leicester on September 11th 1909.

The Cooks

An early portrait of Walter Cook and Elizabeth Burditt
Walter Cook
Elizabeth Cook

(Left) 8. Elizabeth Burbitt and Walter Cook; (centre) 9. Walter Cook; (right) 10. Elizabeth Cook

8. Many years ago our mother suggested that this photograph showed her 'grandma Cook'. Elizabeth Burditt was born in 1849 and was four years older than her husband Walter. It is possible that this is an early study of her but we have no positive identity for the male figure. The photograph carries the imprint of Jennings, Photographer, 5 High Street, Market Harborough. They were married in 1874. 9. Walter Cook - a photograph from the 1880s. 10. "Grandma Cook" - Elizabeth Cook nee Burditt.

Continued in column 2...

Page added - June 14th 2006
Last updated - April 12th 2012

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Set B. Possible identifications: The Naylor family

Mary Naylor with infant brothers

1. Mary Naylor & brothers

Thomas Naylor

2. Thomas Naylor

1. We believe this childhood group to be of Mary Naylor with her brothers John Henry (b 1867) and Alfred (b 1869) giving a date for the photograph of about 1870. 2. The portrait on the right is almost certainly a study of Thomas Naylor and his wife Mary Armstrong taken sometime after 1900.

Set C. Identities Unknown

Edwin and Elizabeth Naylor's children
Reverse of card showing advertisement for showing A&G Taylor

1. Edwin and Elizabeth's children; the reverse of the card

1. This photograph captures the children of Edwin and Elizabeth Naylor. At the rear are Lillian Aline and Roy Eric and in front are infant John George and Claire Lousia.
(We initially thought that this group of children was another portrait of Mary with three of her younger brothers. This would have dated the photograph around 1875. However, investigation of the photographer (A&G Taylor, Nottingham (1)) has shown that the company occupied premises at West End Chambers, Chapel Bar, Nottingham between 1888 and 1908. The style of backing and the childrens' dress suggests a date around 1897. )

Daughters of Joseph Naylor
A Naylor son - as yet unidentified
A Naylor spouse - as yet unidentified

(Left) 2. Daughters of Joseph Naylor; (centre) 3. A Naylor son; (right) 4. A Naylor spouse

2. Another portrait posed outside the Colliery cottage at Cotes Park. This shows Hester and May Naylor, daughters of Joseph and Elizabeth Naylor. Our original thought was that this picture of two young girls and the picture of Mary Naylor above were taken at the same time by F. Day, Photographers of Ray Street, Heanor. We were wrong in our assessment that one of the girls was Miriam aged about 5 years.
3 & 4. We are certain that the young man is one of the older Naylor sons (either Joseph or Thomas). If the former the young lady is Elizabeth Marriott; if the latter then she is Mary Armstrong.

Unidentified female
Unidentified male

5. Unknown woman; 6. Unknown man

5. This is a photograph by E.P. Short of Pelham Street, Nottingham. A date code on the back face indicates a date of 1893. (2). 6. The unknown male sitter was pictured by J. Wilson and Son of Leicester. The date code here suggests 1870.

Unidentified man
Unidentified woman

7. Unknown man; 8. Unknown woman

7 and 8. Once again we have few clues to the identity of this pair. All that can be said is that they were side by side in the album so they may be related. Another of the Naylor sons and his wife?

A Naylor baby

9. Naylor baby

Two toddlers

10. 2 toddlers

9. One of the Naylor babies photographed by F Day, Station Road, Heanor. 10. These two toddlers were photographed by Phillips and Freckleton, Nottingham. There are no identifying marks on the rear of the mount.


1. A&G Taylor, Nottingham: Photographers & Photographic Studios in Derbyshire, England
2. The Marion Date Code "- Marion Imp Paris -": Victorian and Edwardian Photographs - Roger Vaughan Personal Collection

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